Lust, land and Lizzy
Noel Ormita, Contributor
Little Red Warrior and His Lawyer premiered at the Max Bell Theatre on Jan. 31, with the last show on Feb. 19. The play centers around Little Red, played by Gordon Patrick White, the last remaining member of the Little Red Warrior Nation, fighting land developers stealing his land. Little Red goes through the courts system after a spur of the moment. Driven by his anger, this causes him to attack an engineer working on his land. After being assigned a lawyer, he is left with nowhere to stay, until his lawyer offers his home.
The key part I was missing before watching the show was that it was a satire. I came in ready to be inspired by a story of injustice – but in the end I was inspired in a different way.
An eventful introduction
Each character of the play was brilliantly created by Keven Long, the writer and director of the show. And each artist embodied their character magnificently and gave it dimensions.
The first character you meet is the narrator, Floyd, played by Kevin McNulty, strolling in portraying a homeless man pushing a grocery cart with all his belongings and “tools”. In this cart are different costumes that turn him into different characters throughout the show. From the construction engineer Little Red killed, to different court judges and even being the voice of the ancestors. It’s safe to say, he wears different hats or more specifically, wigs.
In the first half of the play you also meet Larry, the court-appointed lawyer, and his wife Desdemona, a confident, more-successful lawyer. Their relationship can be described as toxic and witty.
Desdemona, played by actress Luisa Jojic, dislikes the idea of having Little Red stay with them. Her first encounter with Little Red was overtly racist with damaging assumptions about Indigenous peoples.
I was confused. During this scene the audience, inherently middle-aged and senior Caucasians, were laughing at the offensive language Desdemona was saying to Little Red – in today’s culture, she would be cancelled.
But again, I missed the satire part.
When it all started going downhill
As the story progressed, we started seeing that Larry and Desdemona’s relationship wasn’t as strong as it seemed. Desdemona’s character is a dynamic one; once confident, she turns insecure when Little Red points out her lazy eye – she even goes to the point of wearing an eye patch to cover it up.
Alcohol makes you do wild things, some you regret and others you don’t – I’m not sure which Desdemona would say about what she did next.
After a glass, more like a bottle, of wine she starts to have feelings for Little Red. During the dinner scene with all three characters, Desdemona drugs Larry to put him to sleep and she pursues Little Red. In short, they end up sleeping together and let me tell you, this scene was exactly as you’d picture – Cirque du Soleil in bed considering their personalities.
The strange part is, after having intimacy with Little Red, Desdemona is convinced she’s somehow connected to the Little Red Warrior Nation ancestors after Little Red gives her the name, Flannel Dancer because she wanted to see the world through his eyes.
Eventually time passes and Larry and Little Red continue to fight the case in court and Desdemona and Little Red also continue the fight in the sheets.
The what the f*** moment
Finally we get to the latter part of the play where it is judgement day. But to the audience, to Larry and Little Red’s surprise, Desdemona is representing the plaintiffs of the land developers and builders. But this isn’t even the crazy part.
Each side is given a minute to defend their clients as determined by the judge after saying it’s an important case.
Using her prowess, Desdemona goes all out with a sing and dance defense – well exceeding one minute, while Larry, gets less than 30 seconds to defend Little Red. It is sort of an analogy of how it really is when it comes to land claims by Indigenous people and the government – loads of injustice.
Happening in a span of minutes, Little Red and Larry bring the case to the appeals courts, where they are still defeated.
At this point Little Red is enraged, as he should be. Here comes the craziest but best part of the play. Little Red summons Queen Elizabeth II herself to give the land they stole from his people long ago.
But she was represented as the guidebook calls her, “fabulous and larger than life”. And it was true.
Who knew Queen Elizabeth II in drag is what I never thought I wanted to see. Nick Miami Benz played ‘Lizzy’ in an outfit never before seen worn by the Queen – and it was brilliant.
It was probably the most hilarious thing I’ve ever seen in a play watching Lizzy pole dancing while making the decision to give Little Red’s land back to him. As Lizzy left the stage back to her spaceship going to wherever she was headed, her face was replaced by a cut-out of King Charles.
Shawshank Redemption but not really
The land Little Red now owned was discovered to be uranium rich and he planned on capitalizing on the resources on his land, forgetting what his ancestors have taught him – which will haunt him later.
Wished it was a happily-ever-after after that but it wasn’t as happy as you might think because remember? The affair.
During an altercation followed by Larry finding out about the star-crossed lovers, Desdemona reveals she is pregnant and now the three must go on with their lives intertwined forever.