“The Ecstasy of Rita Joe” Forty Years Later

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Essay #: 063606
Total text length is 5,848 characters (approximately 4.0 pages).

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The beginning:
"The Ecstasy of Rita Joe" Forty Years Later
The Ecstasy of Rita Joe written by George
Ryga
was first performed in 1967 and to this day remains one of the most important pieces of modern Canadian theatre.
Ryga
, although not a Native Canadian, grew up near a Cree reservation. The child of poor immigrants he learned about native culture from an early age. The Ecstasy of Rita Joe was the first play to deal with the issues and problems of the Native people. The play is also unusual for its non-linear story telling, its stream-of-consciousness way in which it is told, it’s scenes that are often disconnected, with flashback, montages and events foretold. The Ecstasy of Rita Joe deals with contemporary social issues and problems, acts as a social...
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.....judging her. Her isolation and despair is also heightened by stage direction. For example she (as are other characters) is often isolated by a spot light. The stage is set in such a way as to implicate the public in the process that led to Rita’s tragic end; the audience becomes a part of the ‘jury’. Music and sound punctuate the most ominous and crucial moments of the play.
Rita Joe is a poignant and touching character and a symbol of native culture. The Ecstasy of Rita Joe is an important Canadian play, relevant both historically and socially, but also a gem in its lyrical and poetic dramaturgy.
Works Cited
Ryga
, George “The Ecstasy of Rita Joe”. Modern Canadian Plays. Vol. 1. 4th ed. Ed. J. Wasserman. Vancouver:
Talonbooks
, 2000. 27-59