October, 2014 / Author:

Theatre Projects Manitoba presents PROUD for their 2014-15 season.

Focusing on political satire, wit and sexual innuendo, Proud by Michael Healey follows the Conservative Party of Canada’s majority government, while leading our nation into the future.

The play is being put on at the Rachel Browne Theatre in the Exchange District. Located above the Winnipeg Folk Festival Music Store, the play sets a scene unique as the stage itself.

Ross McMillan plays Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Harper and his chief of staff (played by Eric Blais) uncover a secret weapon within their party. The name of this weapon is Jisbella Lyth (Daria Puttaert).

Lyth is a single mother, who starts out as a member of Parliament within the government’s caucus. She is also prone to promiscuity.

Although I was slightly uncomfortable when Lyth was trying to seduce a “young aspiring journalist with curly hair named Evan,” the sexual innuendos were worse.

The play missed an opportunity at obvious humour, with so many jokes available to be aimed at our federal government. Not only did they miss the opportunity, but the constant sex and objectification of Lyth did not help move the plot forward.

The government hatches a plan for Lyth to be a scapegoat of sorts. She will draw media attention to herself while the government has seedy dealings out of the public eye.

The media was made out to be unintelligent and unquestioning of the stories given to them by the government. To insinuate all media take the bait and run with it seemed simple and insulting to the good journalists out there.

The plan suggests Lyth propose a pro-life bill (though she has had two abortions).

Wherever you stand on the subject of abortion, it really wasn’t the focus of the play. While Lyth goes about her side of the plan, the government continues to work towards its main priority: cutting the number of seats they have to create a balanced majority, as opposed to the overwhelming majority it already has. This is in hopes of forcing the Opposition’s hand and feeling power within its reach.

The Opposition feels the Conservative government’s helpful push. The Liberal, New Democrat and Green parties band together for a chance at power, creating a binary state.

Ironically, Lyth’s son Jake (Kevin Gabel) turns out to be a voice for a younger generation as the play progresses. While running for MP in the same riding his mother once won, he does an interview with the CBC.

In the interview, Jake expresses his distaste for what Canada’s government has become, which is the aforementioned binary state.

He suggests although the binary state is the most efficient method of politics, it doesn’t necessarily represent the views of a diverse nation. Shortly after, the play concludes.

The actors performed well, as did the lighting and effects. The venue alone was worth the visit. In a very general sense, Proud, has many working elements.

Providing you don’t mind heavy sexual reference, dry humour and a relatively good Stephen Harper impression, I would recommend this play to anyone interested in politics. It’s a cheap night out of the house and a great way of provoking some critical thinking.

Evan Matthews is a first-year creative communications student at Red River College, who blogs at evandmatthews.blogspot.ca.

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