Even the audience won’t be able to resist jumping into the fun when How Raven Stole the Sun takes the stage at the Cleland Theatre Sunday.
Dallas Yellowfly of 3 Crows Productions said four brave members of the audience will be chosen to help tell the West Coast Indigenous story during the kick-off performance of this year’s Children’s Showcase Society series.
Yellowfly blends storytelling, audience participation and improv comedy together to tell the story about Raven, the trickster, and his efforts to light up the earth.
“It’s a very old, old story and there are many versions of this story. This story that we perform is because the audience engaged in it. They become the storytellers in the story where the Raven is the trickster that finds the way to bring the sun, the light, back to the world,” he said.
The uplifting story teaches about Indigenous culture but also provides many lessons from the importance of laughter to the need to protect the environment.
“There’s a beautiful reaction with the audience. It’s engaging and comical. There’s something about laughter that just really captures an audience and engages them just because the way it’s shared. We talk about it, that there’s different kinds of laughter. Laugh at someone and that hurts, but you can laugh with someone and that’s meaningful and respectful.”
Yellowfly, who was raised on Coast Salish territory, is a standup comedian. He’s also recorded two albums, toured Canada as a professional guitar player and worked in Aboriginal education for more than 15 years.
About 10 years ago, he filmed and produced the documentary Our Story. The documentary explores the impact of the residential school system and includes interviews from two elders Joe Ginger and Cyril Pierre who suffered abuse at Saint Mary’s Indian Residential School.
Yellowfly said when filming started seven years ago, both men were reluctant to share their stories. But recently one of the men participated in an Orange Shirt Day assembly at a school in Maple Ridge and by sharing his story with the younger generation he felt empowered.
Since the documentary, 3 Crows Productions has developed four presentations they take to schools, community halls, libraries and even prisons to teach Indigenous culture.
“It’s been a source of healing. We set out to do that but it has grown to be so much more. Now there’s four presentations that we do across the province all with the same intent to share the Indigenous perspectives where people will let us.”
Over the last year there’s been a spike in demand for the performances across the province.
“This year in particular is our biggest year. It’s because of the curriculum and the cultural paradigm in Canada and specifically B.C. is changing. There are a lot more calls to share our Indigenous perspective.”
How Raven Stole the Sun starts at 2 p.m. Oct. 22 at the Cleland Theatre (Penticton Community Centre) and is suitable for children ages three and up.
The performance is the first of four shows in the Children’s Showcase series. Later in the season, Kikeyambay celebrates the music, dance and tales of Africa (Nov. 26), Tim Sars and Tiny Islands take audiences to the Mardi Gras for some joyful music (Jan. 28) and Axis Theatre makes being marooned on an island fun with Robinson Crusoe & Friday (March 4).
Tickets to all four shows cost $30 or single tickets are $12. Season and single tickets are available in advance at Tumbleweed Gallery, Penticton Arts Council office, Oliver Veterinary Hospital and online at Eventbrite.ca. Tickets can also be purchased at the door. The Children’s Showcase Society is a non-profit organization that has made quality live performances accessible to Okanagan families for more than 30 years.