Sable Sweetgrass: “You’ll Laugh and You’ll Cry”

True to the heart of the festival, the final evening of Weesageechak Begins to Dance 27 will include a mix of new works by established and emerging artists. Alongside readings from Drew Hayden Taylor and Kenneth T. Williams will be a play by emerging playwright Sable Sweetgrass, from the Kainai Nation in Southern Alberta.

A graduate from the University of Calgary, Sable Sweetgrass is taking a break from the Institute of American Indian Arts where she is currently completing her Masters of Fine Arts to participate in the festival. “Weesageechak is innovative, a place that is known for nurturing new artists and I’m still learning about writing for performance. I love that there is a place for emerging and seasoned artists to work together.”

Sweetgrass is a first place winner of the Aboriginal Arts & Stories competition for her 2006 short story, Maternal Ties. Continuing her focus on family, Sweetgrass brings to the festival Awowakii, a play, she explains, portraying the modern realities and traditional roles of two spirit peoples, including their role in adopting orphaned children.

“…it’s a story about family and the unique and diverse families that exist today”

“It’s a play that looks at the long term, generational effects alcohol has had on Native people and families, something that we are all to familiar with. Most of all it’s a story about family and the unique and diverse families that exist today, have always existed. I am a woman who has experienced gender transition. I am also a parent, so the themes in this story are very important to me.”

According to Sweetgrass, on this final night of the festival, audiences can expect a full range of emotion. “You’ll laugh and you’ll cry. You’ll get to meet some of the most dynamic Indigenous artists from around the world.”

Following Weesageechak, Sweetgrass will return to complete her MFA in creative writing, and focus on her next script, which explores the museum culture, repatriation and sexual assault by an Elder.

To learn more about Sable and her play Awowakii, read her article on Muskrat Magazine.

Some bits and bobs about Sable Sweetgrass

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received as a writer?
Don’t wait around for inspiration, you just have to write
and learn to appreciate the writing process.

What are you reading right now?
I’m re-reading all of Louise Erdrich’s books as well as
Blood Sport by my friend and mentor Eden Robinson.

Where is your favorite place to be?
With my son Zack, my family and friends.

Who is one of your heroes?
My mama.

Thanks Sable!

Read about the other playwrights featured on closing night:
Drew Hayden Taylor and Kenneth T. Williams

You can catch Sable Sweetgrass’s Awowakii on
Saturday, Nov 22nd @ 7:30pm.
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