A lovely morning in town for day…what is it now, day 7? Holy cow, we’re more than halfway done Ottawa Fringe already! But personally I can happily say I’ve had a dandy Fringe indeed, liking or loving almost every single one of the 20 shows I’ve seen so far. And sure,, it’s meant some late nights and early mornings to keep up with the blog, but only because I was too dumb to book any time off of work during the festival. But that just makes it more exciting, right ? And after a vigorous morning constitutional to the coffee shop, it’s time to do my catching up for today and tell you about, yes, another terrific show at Fringe.
An early show for the day over at the ODD Box in Arts Court, ROCKO AND NAKOTA: TALES FROM THE LAND features performer and creator Josh Languedoc, a barely there set (a chair and a stool, all you need!) and a mulitgenerational Indigenous adventure featuring two memorable characters. Young Nakota is in school, shy and introverted and has a hard time making friends, even before he starts suffering from shortness of breath, dizziness and blackouts. His ancient Grandfather Rocko, a soothsaying trickster who dispenses the wisdom of pop music as readily as that of the tribal elders, is a little more difficult to explain. And when he suddenly visits Nakota in his hospital bed, after years of absence, it causes a bit of a tension convention, to say the least. But old Rocko is determined to make Nakota remember what he’s already forgotten (not to mention explaining just what the heck that even means), and he’s got more than enough stories in his arsenal of tales to get the job done. One day a young warrior set out on a dangerous quest…
A refreshingly simple and sweet approach to the storytelling game (this is very much a family friendly show), Josh Languedoc is instantly likeable and endearing as he weaves his stories within stories, honouring the vast richness of Indigenous culture while at the same time voicing the modern conflict within Nakota that ‘Tribes sound so old-fashioned’. Grandpa Rocko is easily one of my fav’rit characters that I’ve encountered at this Fringe so far, and 20 shows in, I’ve met a few. His storied wisdom, sly wit and mischievous smile are unforgettable, and Josh brings him to life with fluid grace. There’s maybe one repetitive transition-bit in the show that got a bit distracting for me, but that’s a nitpick if ever I had one. The relationship between Rocko and Nakota is a wonderful one to watch grow before our eyes, and it’s one you should make time to see. Indigenous voices are all too rare on our Fringe (or any, for that matter) stages, and this is a great show to boot, so what more could you ask for? I mean, that taped announcement at the top of every Fringe show is a nice gesture and all…but Rocko and Nakota is the real deal. Peace, love and soul,
Kevin R (and Baby G)
PS Check out the rest of Rocko and Nakota’s showtimes and ticket info HERE!
PPS I saw this show with the Otter, and she already wants to see it again when we hit Winnipeg Fringe this July. 🙂