By Drew Hayden Taylor
October 26-November 11, 2017
Grace, an Indigenous woman adopted by a white family, is asked by her birth sister to return to the reserve for their mother’s funeral. Afraid of opening old wounds, Grace must find a place where the culture of her past can feed the truth of her present. She struggles to connect her two lives in this heartwarming and hilarious story about coming home.
Drew Hayden Taylor, a local favorite, has had numerous plays produced at Magnus, including last season's hit CREES IN THE CARIBBEAN.
Premiered with Native Earth Performing Arts in April 1996 in Toronto, ON
“Playwright Drew Hayden Taylor has fashioned… a powerful domestic drama… and a major leavening of humour when sibling tensions threaten to reduce the exchanges to over-used cliche make the play work. Dialogue lets performances glow with an almost melancholy sense of generosity as sisters and pals quest for inner peace. The result is a smart, simple production that played to its strengths, notably confident acting and the writer’s clarity of vision.” Geoff Chapman – Toronto Star.
“One of Native Earth’s best… one of the most satisfying evenings of theatre this company has staged in several seasons… a solid, straightforward piece that manages to pack an emotional punch that delivers a knockout blow in the message department. There is wit aplenty here but there is also an honesty… **** out of five.” John Coulbourn – Toronto Sun.
“Many of the accolades must go to writer DHT whose work walks the fine line between humour and heartfelt drama without slipping too far into either… ONLY DRUNKS AND CHILDREN TELL THE TRUTH succeeds both as a stand-alone play and as a shining example of Aboriginal theatre’s ongoing development. Given its popularity through out the run, it also achieves another goal, one sought after by all entertainers – always leave the audience wanting more.” Blaine Lobe – Eagle Feather News
“This is a fine show… a combination of heartache and hilarity that works wonderfully thanks to Drew Hayden Taylor’s writing… What is most effective about Drew’s writing is the way he can take a specific detail, like decaffeinated coffee, and let it serve as a window into a variety of observations about some very particular people. He can make you laugh one minute, then cry the next, and leaves you with lines and images that you will remember long after the curtain comes down. This is not just a great native production. This is a great production. Period.” Richard Ouzounian – CBC Radio.
“LAUGHTER AND TEARS CROSS CULTURAL BARRIERS. It is a rare playwright who can have an entire audience erupting in laughter while still wiping tears from the previous scene.. this is nothing short of amazing…one of the best performances to enchant our city lately. It’s definitely a don’t-miss.” David Winchar – Nanaimo Daily News
“I laughed. I cried… the play plumbs all kinds of loss; in exploring the differences between Native and white cultures, it also unearths all kinds of tasty humour. The thing I like best about this play is its willingness to pull at your heartstrings one minute, and blow a raspberry in your face the next… There’s something here that’s common to some of the best Native writing: honest feeling that never becomes pompous.” Colin Thomas – The Georgia Straight
“I would call it a fist in a velvet glove… They lure you in there and then they give you some serious things to think about… The dialogue is good. It is an actor’s dream… I think one of the great strengths of the play, besides the humour, of course, is the levelling of the stereotypes that goes on. And the fact that there is no preaching and yet there is a great message in it… You’re brought in, you get a lot of laughs, you feel very comfortable with these people, and then Taylor tells you a story. …so that you can put a human face on this chapter of our history.” Bill Robertson – CBC Saskatoon
“Drew Hayden Taylor is a confident storyteller and a tireless jokester… snappy dialogue… the relationship between Barb and Janice – which develops from wary mistrust to tentative bond – is economically and suggestively drawn. Taylor allows them difficult emotions – Barb resentment of her prodigal sister, Janice guilt and fear – and eschews a pat resolution…making the sometimes unsympathetic Janice the compelling centre of the piece. NNN out of four.” Jill Lawless – Now Magazine.
“ONLY DRUNKS A FUNNY, MOVING PRODUCTION… Taylor writes in a forceful, realistic style that betrays his journalism background. His characters and their situations have a fresh immediacy… Taylor achieves a rare and very human balance of comedy and tragedy… a surprisingly satisfying conclusion… funny, poignant and ultimately moving; it’s a play that succeeds on almost every level.” Ron Foley Macdonald – The Daily News.
“A STIRRING, PASSIONATE PLAY ABOUT IDENTITY… perhaps the most moving, down-to-Earth, realistic play of the year… a remarkable play that has something to say and says it well.” Tony Seed – Shunpiking
“Only Drunks And… has a jarring title, but it takes audiences on an intriguing adventure… Inside the play is a brilliant stroke… this one is rich in American Indian dilemmas. It’s also expressive, comical and earthy.” Warren Gerds – Green Bay Press Gazette
“Drew Hayden Taylor is a playwright who knows how to use the edge of a pick axe of one liners as well as the spade of humour to search for emotional truth… This is a warm theatrical experience with a lot of entertainment along the way… a curious mixture of the women’s emotions and the men’s comedy but the two blend surprisingly well by the end of the show.” John Kaplan – CJRT RADIO
“There are plenty of one-liners to keep you buoyed… warm, engaging and genuinely funny. The mixture of yucks and sighs was pretty potenty.” Cam Fuller – Saskatoon Star Pheonix
“TWO CULTURES MEET, OFTEN HILARIOUSLY. The trouble bridge between whites and Natives is studied successfully – even elegantly- in this new production… Janice, the play’s most complex character, is a largely successful study of the troubled bridge between white and Native cultures.” Peter Birnie – The Vancouver Sun
“The end of the first act has some of Taylor’s best writing in an attempted seduction of Janice by Tonto that turns into a surprising philosophical monologue… Tonto is the best written and most interesting character, more thoughtful and worldly than he initially seems…” John Armstrong – Vancouver Sun Critic
“HUMOROUS DRUNKS TELLS HONEST STORY… Drew Hayden Taylor’s script is funny, bordering on glib. When you begin to dismiss him and ONLY DRUNKS, the heart of the play begins to beat like a drum. Janice’s story is painful and the way back to the Reserve is plagued by mistrust, defensiveness and doubt. Laughter is not a bad companion along a thorny path… Taylor hardly misses an opportunity to make us laugh, but considering the emotional intensity of the material; it’s for the best… laughter keeps it afloat, sincerity keeps it honest.” Jo Ledingham – Datebook
“Algonkuin’s finely acted ‘Only Drunks’ is both serious and funny” (click here for full review here)- By Paul Kolas, Telegram & Gazette Reviewer, Nov 2016
Playwright - Drew Hayden Taylor