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Friday,June 21,2019
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Rez Sisters

You Sun-hee
sunheeyou@dongguk.edu
The Cub Reporter

 

Recently, in a university hospital in Korea, female students in a medical school were discriminated against when they applied for internships. Only 11 applicants out of 40 got internships. The hospital already had decided to limited the number of female internsns and did not even consider their grades.

Korean women in the 21st century are still oppressed and experience gender discrimination because of the Confucianism.

Indian women in Canada , however, may have lived a much harsher life than Korean women. Have you heard about Rez Sisters? It is a play that deals with women's rights.

Rez Sisters is the story of seven Indian women who live on a reservation in Canada. Rez is short for reservation and the women, though not related, are called sisters. They are Veronique St. Pierre, who adopted Zhaboonigan Petersom, mentally challenged and sexually abused by two males. Pelajia Patchnose, a contractor, is trapped on the reservation which she has come to hate. She wants to become a chief. Another woman, Marie-Adele Starblanket, has fourteen kids and a growing cancer. Her cancer, in the end, kills her as the rest of the women play and lose at bingo.

Then there is Annie Cook, Marie-Adele's sister and a back-up singer for Fritz. Emily Dictionary, the last woman, was mistreated by her husband, forcing her to abandon her husband and kids. Lastly, there is Nanabush who stands for "god" in this play. These seven women and Nanabush decided to go to the "Biggest Bingo in the world" in Toronto.

   

However, each one has a different dream of what to do with the Bingo prize money. Veronique St. Pierre wants a big stove so that she can cook for all the children on the reservation. Pelajia Patchnose wants to pave the reservation road so that Nanabush can come again and dance for them.

Marie-Adele Starblanket wants her own island to live with her fourteen kids and a husband because she is dying of cancer. Philomena Moosetail wants a new, clean bathroom. Zhabooniga Peterson, Veronique's adopted daughter and mentally handicapped, is spastic and has difficulty in speaking.

Zhabonigan Peterson still goes along on the trip with the other women and Nanabush. However, their plan to win the top prize in the world's biggest bingo game fails and they just came back to their reservation. In the end, Pelajia Patchnose is back where she started (on the roof), still trapped in the reservation and seriously considers becoming the chief. Philomena Moosetail won $600 playing the bingo an buys her new, shiny toilet bowl.

 

   
 
But no major change occurs in her life, as she is also back where she started, on the roof. By the end, Marie-Adele Starblanket is dead of cancer. Veronique St. Pierre gets her new stove and is delighted to be cooking for the fourteen Starblanket children. Annie Cook gets a job as a back-up singer for Fritz at Little Current.

She also comes closer to achieving her love. Emily Dictionary comes back to her store quite normal, but is pregnant with Big Joey’s baby.

Not only the unique story of the play but also the background music caught people's attention. For the background music, players instantly performed with percussion instruments, which seemed very fresh and original and helped the audience to imagine the real reservation.

   
<Interview with Na Ja-myong>

The Post interviewed Na Ja-myong, who played the role of Zhaboonigan Peterson in Rez Sisters and directed the play.
The Post: What made you introduce Rez Sisters to Koreans?

Na: When I was in Japan in 2001, I saw the play. The message given was humanism, which was the same message my mentor emphasized in his plays. I knew that Rez Sisters would touch Koreans.

The Post: What did you want to tell people through the play?

Na:  I wanted people to appreciate a minority race and its story and I believe this play has worked pretty well.

The Post: How did you deliver your message in the play?

Na: Seven women are the main characters in this play. Even though they have different stories, they all have a painful dark mark in their hearts. I intended to express their lives and how they reflect the lives of to others. I showed this through the seven women.

The Post: Is there any character that you considered more important? 

Na: I presented Nanabush as a "god". And there is Zhaboonigan, who was raped by two white men. To her, Nanabush is the one who treats her fairly and equal to other people and who tries to stand by her side.

The message told in this play was very new and relevant because society is just beginning to concentrate on women's rights. There should be more plays about the women's movement and rights in our society. Plays and movies could make people realize that we cannot neglect the role of women in the workforce and their potential anymore. After Watching Rez Sisters, I hope that there will be big strides in women's rights. At the same time, women should be more assertive in the work place and in society.

You Sun-hee  sunheeyou@dongguk.edu

<저작권자 © 동국포스트, 무단 전재 및 재배포 금지>

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