An Indigenous take on a 1978 classic returns to Edmonton this week
Bear Grease, a theatre performance combining hip-hop, parody, improve and freestyle will hold three encore shows on Tuesday and Wednesday at the Garneau Theatre.
“It’s a decolonized version of Grease, you know, the classic we all grew up watching on TV,” said one of Bear Grease’s writers, directors, and performers, MC RedCloud.
The musical was a hit at Edmonton’s International Fringe Festival this summer, selling out it’s first performance at the curated Pêhonân venue.
RedCloud says audiences were blown away with the musical, written and directed by himself and his partner, Crystle Lighting, a due named ‘LightingCloud.’
“That carried into River Cree and now three more dates at The Garneau, and now other Indigenous communities want to bring us out.”
He says the re-mastered version of the classical musical offers a new perspective into history. which has been enjoyed by both Indigenous and non-Indigenous audiences.
“This is kind of like a re-do, what it would look like if we were blended right back into society,” said RedCloud.
A passion for representation was behind the creation of the Indigenous take on the classic musical.
“We feel like representation matters,” explained RedCloud. “Grease is a classic, during the fifties and sixties, we weren’t able to run around the streets like Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta. We were getting shuffled into some nonsense and boarding school.”
In terms of that representation, he says Bear Grease comes at a time where a big shift is happening.
“We’re being represented, it’s a really good moment for Indigenous people.”
So far, the remixed musical has had great reviews both Indigenous and non-Indigenous audiences, according to RedCloud, but those looking to attend this week’s shows shouldn’t come with expectations.
“They shouldn’t expect anything, they should just come in ready to know that the feeling is already in them, the classics are already inside of you, and it’s just re-done, re-mastered,” said RedCloud.