God and The Indian: Lisa C. Ravensbergen

For our cross-nation partnership with Firehall Arts Centre, we’re bringing Toronto and Vancouver audiences Drew Hayden Taylor’s God and The Indian, in Aki Studio May 2 – 17, 2015. Following the Toronto premiere, the production returns to Vancouver where it runs May 20 – 30, 2015.

Lisa C. Ravensbergen joins Thomas Hauff in Taylor’s two-hander, directed by Renae Morriseau. Based out of Vancouver, Ravensbergen, takes on the role of Johnny, a Cree woman, panhandling on the streets who recognizes Anglican Assistant Bishop George King outside a coffee shop. Johnny follows King to his office, where she confronts him about the abuse she suffered as a child in a residential school.

The challenge offered by this role excites the multi-hyphenate and Jessie Award-nominated actor, who describes herself as a tawny mix of Ojibwe/Swampy Cree and English/Irish.1

“I feel privileged and honoured to attempt to bring these voices to life…”

“I feel privileged and honoured to attempt to bring these voices to life and to negotiate with keen-minded collaborators,” says Ravensbergen. “It’s always exciting to work with new people. All three of us have overlapping artistic languages and different languages, as well. It’s fascinating.”

This is not the first time Ravensbergen has worked with Director Renae Morriseau; they previously performed together in George Ryga’s The Ecstasy of Rita Joe. 2 “She’s Cree and I’m Ojibwe/Cree. It’s great to have someone else in the room that shares your culture and can speak to the world view that is implicit in the script, whether Drew meant for it to be there or not. It’s nice to have someone else in the room that can see the cultural resonances.”

“They are tenacious about getting what they want – not just for themselves but from the other person.”

This marks the first time Ravensbergen is working with Hauff, and the two are finding the characters to be quite demanding. “It’s a pretty relentless room; there is no joy for these two characters. They are tenacious about getting what they want – not just for themselves but from the other person,” says Ravensbergen. “Tom is a fierce competitor and comrade and there is no room for me to be off my A-game.”

Though it’s been a number of years, Ravensbergen is no stranger to Native Earth audiences. “I have a long history here and I am really happy and pleased and blushy with honour to be able to be on stage with Native Earth again,” says Ravensbergen. “The last time I was on stage with Native Earth was the 2004 production of The Unnatural and Accidental Women by Marie Clements. It feels nice to return.

Audiences looking to have a discussion about the issues addressed in the play are invited to check here for a list of pre- and post-show talks with the creative team.

God and The Indian runs in Toronto May 2 – 17, and moves to Vancouver May 20 – 30, 2015.


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Tidbits About Lisa C. Ravensbergen

What’s next for you?
A new multi-disc. collaboration with BLAM Collective (with Billy Marchenski and Michael Greyeyes) called The World is The World.

What was your first professional job?
As Rose in the premiere of Marie Clement’s Burning Vision, a
co-pro with urban ink and Rumble Productions.

Where is your favorite place to be?
Under trees, beside water under a big sky. Mountains help.

Who is one of your heroes?
My son, Nodin. I’m learning how to see the world through eyes that are clean and heart-driven and spirit-connected. I find it really humbling and inspiring to give witness to his journey.

What’s your favourite dessert?
Thanks to a slew of allergies, the closest I ever get
to real people dessert is in Fantasy Land.

Favorite childhood toy?
A bright yellow ball that I stole from K-Mart when I was a kid.


1Performance highlights include: Where the Blood Mixes (Theatre North West); The Ecstasy of Rita Joe (Firehall Arts Centre; Western Canada Theatre/National Arts Centre); Ernestine Shuswap Gets Her Trout (Western Canada Theatre), The Unnatural and Accidental Women (Native Earth Performing Arts); Burning Vision (Western Canada Theatre/Rumble Productions).

New theatre/ dance works currently in development: The Seventh Fire; The World is The World (BLAM Collective); The Art of Peace (Pounds per Square Inch).


2 Western Canada Theatre Company (Kamloops) / NAC English Theatre Company co-production.