Taylor, Drew Hayden 1962-

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TAYLOR, Drew Hayden 1962-

PERSONAL: Born July 1, 1962, in Curve Lake Reserve, Ontario, Canada. Ethnicity: Ojibway. Education: Seneca College of Applied Arts and Technology, Diploma (honors) in radio/television broadcasting, 1980-82.

ADDRESSES: Home—5 Mitchell Ave., Toronto, Ontario M6J 1C1, Canada. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER: Worked variously as a writer, director, playwright, and author; has also worked in journalism and television industries and served as researcher, consultant, casting, production assistant, and publicity agent on numerous television shows and documentaries.

AWARDS, HONORS: Chalmers Award for Best Play for Young Audiences, 1992, for Toronto At Dreamer's Rock; Best Drama, Canadian Authors Association Literary Award, 1992, for The Bootlegger Blues; Native Playwrights First Prize award, University of Alaska-Anchorage, 1996, for The Baby Blues; Dora Mavor Moore Award for Outstanding New Play (Small Theatre Division), 1996, for Only Drunks and Children Tell the Truth; James Buller Award for Best Playwright, Centre for Indigenous Theatre, 1997; Native Playwrights First Prize award, University of Alaska-Anchorage, 1997, for Pranks (later titled AlterNATIVES); Best Live Short Subject Second Place award, American Indian Film Institute Awards, 1999, for The Strange Case of Bunny Weequod; British Columbia Millenium Award for "one of the best books published in the Province of British Columbia," 2000.

WRITINGS:

PLAYS

Toronto at Dreamers Rock (produced in Wikwemikong, Manitoulin Island, Ontario, Canada), 1989, Fifth House Publishers (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada), 1990.

Education Is Our Right, produced in Wikwemikong, Manitoulin Island, Ontario, Canada, 1990.

Talking Pictures, produced in Wikwemikong, Manitoulin Island, Ontario, Canada, 1990.

The Bootlegger Blues (produced in Wikwemikong, Manitoulin Island, Ontario, Canada, 1990), Fifth House Publishers (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada), 1991.

Someday (produced in Wikwemikong, Manitoulin Island, Ontario, Canada, 1991), Fifth House Publishers (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada), 1993.

A Contemporary Gothic Indian Vampire Story, produced in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada, 1992.

The All-Complete Aboriginal Show Extravaganza, produced in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, 1994.

The Baby Blues (produced at Arbour Theatre Festival, 1995), Talonbooks (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada), 1998.

Girl Who Loved Her Horses (produced in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, 1995), published in anthology Voices: Being Native in Canada, University of Saskatchewan Press (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada), 1992.

Only Drunks and Children Tell the Truth (produced in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, 1996), Talonbooks (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada), 1998.

Kilometres, produced in Canning, Nova Scotia, Canada, 1999.

AlterNATIVES (originally titled Pranks; produced at Bluewater Theatre/Lighthouse Theatre, 1999), Talonbooks (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada), 2000.

[email protected], produced in Wikwemikong, Manitoulin Island, Ontario, Canada, 1999.

The Boy in The Treehouse, produced in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, 2000.

The Buz'gem Blues, Talonbooks (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada), 2002.

NONFICTION

Funny, You Don't Look like One: Observations of a Blue-eyed Ojibway, Theytus Books (Penticon, British Columbia, Canada), 1998.

Further Adventures of a Blue-eyed Ojibway: Funny, You Don't Look like One II, Theytus Books (Penticon, British Columbia, Canada), 1999.

Furious Observations of a Blue-eyed Ojibway: Funny, You Don't Look like One III, Theytus Books (Penticon, British Columbia, Canada), 2002.

Also author of short stories and prose; contributor of satirical commentaries to numerous newspapers and publications.

WORK IN PROGRESS: Two movie scripts and several new plays.

SIDELIGHTS: Drew Hayden Taylor grew up on the Ojibway Curve Lake reservation in Ontario, Canada. He writes screenplays, television scripts, short stories, plays, and essays and has a diploma in radio and television broadcasting from the Seneca College of Applied Arts and Technology. Taylor is a well-known playwright throughout North America; his plays focus on the modern-day life of Native Americans and they tour throughout Canada and the United States.

Taylor's play Someday is adapted from his short story that appeared on the front page of the Toronto Globe & Mail, the only time fiction has appeared there. The story is based on the Canadian social policy that allowed the Children's Aid Society to remove Native children from their parents and give the infants to white families. David Prosser from Books in Canada called Someday, "an engaging play." A poor Ojibway woman named Anne, wins the lottery and uses her winnings to find her eldest daughter, Grace, who was taken from Anne as a baby and raised by a white family. Darleen Golken, a reviewer from Canadian Materials, wrote, "Taylor endows his characters with charm, humour and wit....The dialogue flows smoothly and resonates with the emotional integrity of the characters." Judith Zivoanovic from Canadian Literature agreed, "This play will not overwhelm its readers or audience with emotion, but it will engage them through realistic dialogue, action and characters, perhaps prompting a new level of understanding."

Taylor's first play in his "Blues" series is The Bootleggers Blues, which takes place on a reservation during a powwow weekend. Martha is a good Christian woman who bought too much beer for her church's fundraiser. Shortly after the fundraiser she discovers that she cannot return the beer, so in order for her to get rid of it, she turns to bootlegging. Ann Jansen from Books in Canada wrote that "Bootlegger Blues relies on broad physical humour, underwear scenes, and puns to keep its enging revving....the energy is high, the beer starts to sell, and even the most stuffed shirt character finally figures out how to go with the flow." Beverly Yhap, reviewing for Quill & Quire, also found the story playful, "Taylor mines his characters' idiosyncrasies and attitudes for laughs that come from recognition rather than ridicule."

Taylor told CA: "Though I am primarily a playwright, I am also a short story writer, scriptwriter, as well as a journalist because often times I come across a story or idea that does not fit the structure of a play, or specifically a television show, or even an essay. Also, I like to think of my self as a literary slut—I like to 'write' around because variety is the spice of life and it provides me the opportunity to express myself in so many different ways. It's like flexing different muscles for different jobs.

"And, as a Native writer, I find that part of my mission, if I can call it a mission, is to provide a window or bridge between the Native and non-Native cultures hopefully through my writing, using large helpings of humour as the catalyst. I long ago discovered it doesn't take much talent to depress or anger somebody, but it takes a wee bit more ability to make somebody laugh. And since nobody really likes being preached to, humour allows you to sneak in a message or two when the audience or reader doesn't realize they are being taught something."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Books in Canada, Volume 11, number 6, David Prosser, "Unpunctually Yours," p. 35; Volume 21, number 1, Ann Jansen, "Dramatic Histories," p. 29.

Canadian Literature, spring, 1995, Judith Zivanovic, review of Someday, p. 184.

Canadian Materials, Volume 21, number 4, Darleen Golke, review of Someday, p. 157.

Essays on Canadian Writing, fall, 1998, Robert Nunn, "Hybridity and Mimicry in the Plays of Drew Hayden Taylor," p. 95.

Quill & Quire, Volume 58, number 1, Beverly Yhap, review of "The Bootlegger Blues," p. 28.

OTHER

Canadian Theatre Encyclopedia,http://www.canadiantheatre.com/ (June 23, 2000), "Drew Hayden Taylor."*

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