The Buz’Gem Blues is the third play in Drew Hayden Taylor’s ongoing zany, outrageous, often farcical examination of both Native and non-Native stereotypes in what is to become what he calls his ?Blues Quartet. ”
Marianne has talked her mother, Martha, into attending an Elders conference with her, where she is to be used as a resource person, even though Martha doesn’t believe she has anything to offer anyone. Held in a college setting, the keynote paper of the conference is a dissertation on ?the courting, love, and sexual habits of contemporary First Nations people as perceived by Western Society,” delivered by none other than a ?Professor Savage. ” Just to keep the caricatures in balance, Savage’s nemesis throughout the action is a young Native man, replete with dark sunglasses and a Mountie coat, who goes by the name ?The Warrior Who Never Sleeps. ”
The Buz’Gem Blues is not a play about clichés with which we have become so familiar that we recognize them as stereotypes instantly, but rather about how our ritualized and institutionalized systems of maintaining and policing those clichés prevent us from recognizing our common humanity within each other.
Drew Hayden Taylor has done many things, most of which he is proud of. An Ojibway from the Curve Lake First Nation in Ontario, he has worn many hats in his literary career, from performing stand-up comedy at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., to being Artistic Director of Canada’s premiere Native theatre company, Native Earth Performing Arts. He has been an award-winning playwright (with over 70 productions of his work), a journalist/columnist (appearing regularly in several Canadian newspapers and magazines), short-story writer, novelist, television scriptwriter, and has worked on over 17 documentaries exploring the Native experience. Most notably, he wrote and directed REDSKINS, TRICKSTERS AND PUPPY STEW, a documentary on Native humour for the National Film Board of Canada.