Tai Grauman: I’m craving an epic Métis love story

After a great performance in our presentation of Vancouver Moving Theatre’s Weaving Reconciliation: Our Way this June, we welcome back Vancouver-based theatre artist Tai Grauman, this time to Weesageechak with her latest work-in-progress You used to call me Marie.

Inspired to create a play for Marie Callihoo, You used to call me Marie centers on the history of Treaty 6 through the perspective of Marie. “I’ve always wanted to build Marie Callihoo’s history as she is only ever mentioned within her husband’s documented history. More specifically, I wanted to write her story with Louis. I always saw their story as an epic Métis love story. The more and more I dug into their story, I realized that I couldn’t tell their story without including their ancestors and their family who came after them.”

Following two souls in five different Indigenous love stories at five distinct periods in history, You used to call me Marie begins the journey in the pre-colonial time within the plains Cree community, and eventually leads to the final life of two young Métis people where the man marries a non-Indigenous woman, disrupting the bloodline. Through alternate forms of theatrical structure, the piece explores the ways a young woman inherits trauma from the matriarchs in the family. “I want to remind audience members to protect the young women in the family.”

Through Weesageechak, Tai hopes to work with Indigenous creators, actors, and dramaturgs to further grow the piece beyond the “Western” structure of a “play” and decolonize the way in which the script frames her Métis stories.

Don’t miss Tai Grauman’s newest piece You used to call me Marie tonight – Friday, November 23rd!


More about Tai Grauman

What piece are you looking forward to seeing at W31?
I’m really looking forward to seeing Quelemia Sparrow’s Women of Papiyek. I have loved that play ever since I read it for the first time. I’m looking forward to seeing what she has done with it.

Who is your Indigenous role model? How do they inspire you?
I have several: Margo Kane, Lindsay Lachance, Kevin Loring, Chelsea McPeake and Quelemia Sparrow.

They are all incredible forces within the Indigenous Theatre community. They are all incredibly busy and have all taken time to teach me, talked me through situations I had a hard time navigating, and handed me opportunities just so I can grow. Not only does their work inspire me, but so does the kindness they have shown me.

Where do you find inspiration for your creative work?
My family and our history.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Make hay while the sun shines!

Do you have any advice for young Indigenous creators just coming onto the scene?
Godspeed!

What are you craving right now?
I’m craving an epic Métis love story (which is what I’m trying to do with my play). I’m craving a play rooted and dripping in history. I’m craving looking backwards to move forward.

What’s coming up next for you?
After Weesageechak, I am staying in Toronto and working on another play called Her name is Marie, which is also about Marie Callihoo and a companion piece to You used to call me Marie, with Nightswimming. Brian and Brittany commissioned the piece as part of their 5x 25 initiative last year, and I’m really looking forward to hanging out and working on the play with them.