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The Rez Sisters: A Play in Two Acts
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The Rez Sisters: A Play in Two Acts

3.39 of 5 stars 3.39  ·  rating details  ·  496 ratings  ·  23 reviews

"Winner of the Dora Mavor Moore Award for Best New Play Nominated for the Governor General's Award"

This award-winning play by Native playwright Tomson Highway is a powerful and moving portrayal of seven women from a reserve attempting to beat the odds by winning at bingo. And not just any bingo. It is THE BIGGEST BINGO IN THE WORLD and a chance to win a way out of a tortur
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Paperback, 118 pages
Published April 1st 1999 by Fifth House (first published December 15th 1988)
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Best Canadian Literature
199th out of 708 books — 566 voters
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Canadian Fiction
400th out of 537 books — 407 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 746)
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Marie
I picked The Rez Sisters because I have read an other book by Tomson Highway called, Kiss of the Fur Queen. And I also heard a review of another one of his books called, Dry Lips Oughta Move to Kapuskasing another play by Tomson Highway. His novel and review were very interesting. I wanted to read The Rez Sisters.

Summary/Overview of book
The play spans a summer in 1986, when seven women decide to travel to Toronto to participate in "THE BIGGEST BINGO IN THE WORLD." Each woman offers the reader a
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Abby
I really had a hard time connecting with the humour in this play. The character of Zhaboonigan's traumatic experience was difficult to read and I was under-impressed by Highway's development of her character, she came across as childish and was left out of the central narrative.
Jasreet Badyal
Wow! I am going to be watching the Belfry Theatre in Victoria's production of this play next week, so I thought I'd give a read over beforehand. This is exceptional, so I am very excited. It's amazing how well he presents the darkness produced by colonization, while showing a light playfulness and resilience. Tears and laughs.
Glen
Reading a play is, with rare exceptions (like Shakespeare sometimes), a bit like hearing someone talk about a poem you haven't read or heard read aloud. That is, plays are meant to be performed by live actors in front of a live audience, so I cannot say that I experienced this play as it was meant to be experienced. As a piece of literature I cannot say I was overly impressed, though neither was I left totally devoid of admiration. The characters are interesting enough, there is a lot of humor a ...more
Kyla Belvedere
A couple weeks ago, I took a few of my students to see this play at the Belfry. It was WONDERFUL, funny, moving, depressing. Reading the play really enriched that for me, as I could imagine the set, and compare it to how I saw it, and I also understood the play on a deeper level. A few of my students are going to read this now, and I hope they can deepen their understandings as well.
Micha
I like the ideas that informed the mythical aspects of this play much more than the play itself. I liked the way Nanabush appeared throughout, the incorporation of mythic figures like that in a modern context always appeals to me. The prophesy that seven generations after the arrival of the Europeans the Native culture would be rejuvenated is also fascinating because it is something I constantly see happening around me, and according to some we are the seventh generation, and this was worked int ...more
Dara Potvin
Great novel for understanding the struggles faced by native women in Canada and their attempts to escape their reservation by winning the worlds largest bingo.
Ellen
Read this play years ago, and didn't enjoy it at the time. Not sure why...maybe I needed to mature a little to fully appreciate and understand it. Then, I recently read it again before I went to see a live theatre production. I really enjoyed reading it the second time; This time I understood the characters, their struggles, the sadness and the humour....and seeing it performed live really added another layer...it came alive! It was written 30 years ago but, sadly, still relevant today. A brilli ...more
Azra
The story itself was pretty good and there definitely some humor in there. It has been a while since I've read a play and it's not my favorite literary form.
GregCarey10
The Rez Sisters is an excellent book, a play in two acts. It is wonderfully sit on a reservation in northern ontario, and concerns the trials of three women who are attempting to win "the big jackpot" at the largest bingo in the world. They want to win the money in order to better their lives. The story is sad, touching displaying many of the truths which people seem to look past. The trials of the lives of the natives in Canada are horrible and their style of life is horrifying. The play is a p ...more
Tatiana Lokis
Beautiful, mysterious, shocking. Very visual, with different layers of fiction and reality. The play portrays women's struggle for the Indian place in the world. Nanabush is a trickster that makes you ponder if we decide for ourselves or IT decides for us. Spiritual and physical, it will make you connect to it on one level or another, and if you can get through, then it will be both. And hopefully, it will make you do something about it.
Ashley
Creative, smart, funny and sensitive, Tomson's play is one of Canada's best at addressing both the cultural and identity crises' many First Nation's have faced in the last thirty years. If you can see it on stage, I highly recommend it. If not, it's just as good a read.
Jenny George
Couldn't join the book club. A token of longing, for me.

Lots of fights in the book. But a lot of hidden meanings too. Symbol of a culture seeping through tight grip.
Emily
One of the few times where I will say the "sequel" is better, but it is still a good read for a play, meaning most plays are better when performed.
Jeffrey
Simply amazing - I remember seeing Dry Lips (which I'm going to read next) and just wish I had seen this play live - funny, poignant, magical!
Sierra
He definitely got the whole stereotype thing down, I don't know about anything else..

* = Read in school.
Brad
Funnier and more accessible than "Dry Lips," but also less problematic and interesting.
Michelle Lynne Widmann
Interesting play. I liked the characters more than the story.
Sharon
LOVED this Play, funny, Touching...Read this play!
Stephanie Fysh
The rez sisters a play in two acts by Tomson Highway (1992)
Lesliemae
No clue.
None.
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In the six decades since he was born in a tent in the bush of northernmost Manitoba, Tomson Highway has traveled many paths and been called by many names. Residential school survivor, classical pianist, social worker and, since the 1980s, playwright, librettist, novelist and children's author.

He is fluent in French, English and his native Cree. In 1994 he was invested as a Member of the Order of
...more
More about Tomson Highway...
Kiss of the Fur Queen Dry Lips Oughta Move To Kapuskasing Ernestine Shuswap Gets Her Trout Caribou Song: Atihko Nikamon Comparing Mythologies

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