Short Review: Métis Mutt

by Lynn on February 1, 2017

in The Passionate Playgoer

Métis Mutt

At the Aki Studio, Daniels Spectrum at 585 Dundas St. E, Toronto, Ont.

Created and Performed by Sheldon Elter
Directed by Ron Jenkins
Set and lighting by Tessa Stamp
Projections by T. Erin Gruber
Sound by Aaron Macri

A production that initially looks like textbook Native despair but is made human, moving and profound by the sheer magnetism and heart of Sheldon Elter.

I was given permission to see and review Métis Mutt at the preview.

The playing area is enclosed in curved formation made of carefully laid rocks. There is a screen at the back in multi-colours. The whole look of it suggests a ceremony of sorts. Sheldon Elter bounds on, bright smile ready to do his stand-up.

He goes through a litany of jokes playing on stereotypical ‘Indian’ tropes: that they are lazy, drunk, dishonest, etc. Stuff to make any audience squirm in their seats. But then Elter steps out of that ‘stand-up’ mode and shows his real self.

His was a tough life. His mother was a single parent raising two boys (Elter and his brother). The father was absent. When he did appear it was not a happy occasion. Elter also fell down the rabbit hole of drug abuse until he finally found salvation in humour, a relationship and another chance.

Sheldon Elter is personable, a gifted performer although his text could be honed and tightened a bit, and he has something worth listening too. Anything that unsettles our preconceptions is important to hear.

Presented by Native Earth Performing Arts

First performance: Jan. 25, 2017.
Closes: Feb. 5, 2017.
Cast: 1 man
Running Time: 90 minutes

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