By Leonard Linklater and Patti Flather
“…this rich, complex and multi-layered drama offers many satisfactions, not the least of which is its success in capturing the authentic feel and spirit of contemporary Yukon First Nations life…with Sixty Below, both Yukon playwriting – and two playwrights – have come of age….” – Yukon News
It’s nearly winter solstice when Henry, a young Gwich’in man, gets out of jail, ready to straighten out his life. Of course it’s not that easy. His old buddies just want to party, his girlfriend’s moving ahead of him. And then there’s the ghost of Johnnie, everyone’s hero, who just won’t leave the northern lights.
Sixty Below opened on May 9, 2000 at Nakwataku Potlatch House, Kwanlin Dun First Nation in Whitehorse, produced by Gwaandak Theatre, Nakai Theatre and Society of Yukon Artists of Native Ancestry. It toured to the rural Yukon communities of Carcross, Haines Junction, Teslin, Watson Lake, Ross River, Carmacks, Old Crow, Dawson City and Mayo, and to Inuvik, N.W.T. The tour was dedicated to the memory of Mrs. Clara Tizya, who inspired us with her strength, pride and compassion, and recorded Gwich’in legends such as Man Without Fire, to share with her many descendants.
An earlier production of Sixty Below premiered at the Yukon Arts Centre, Whitehorse, Yukon, produced by Nakai Theatre Ensemble in March 1999. It was workshopped at Native Earth Performing Arts’ Weesageechak Begins to Dance Festival produced again at the Native Canadian Centre in Toronto, Canada, by Native Earth in April 1997. That production was nominated for 7 Dora Mavor Moore Awards including Outstanding New Play. The play also was published in Staging The North (Playwrights Canada Press).
With Daryl Clark, Jackson Crick, Glen Gould*, Janis Johnson, Wayne Lavallee & Sharon Shorty
Directed by Floyd Favel*
Production designer | David Skelton
Sound Designer | Daniel Janke
Stage Manager | Brian Fidler
Assistant Stage Manager | Dean Eyre
Scenic Seamstress | Anne-Marie Sevic
*Member of Canadian Actors’ Equity Association