Annie Runningbird doesn’t have time for the games boys want her to play. She’s aging out of foster care on her next birthday. The system has decided she is an adult, so Annie must make adult decisions. Where will she live? How will she make money? Demanding grown-up choices preoccupy the young girl’s mind as she navigates relationships with boys and men in her company. Does she like Isaac, a cute yet naive boy she met at the mall food court? Can she trust Louis, her older and increasingly overbearing foster care worker? Who can Annie depend on in her ever-shifting world? This intel is important. Because Annie needs to win the very real game she’s playing. She must save herself to save the day.
SQUAWK draws its subject matter from circumstances in our province and across our country that are becoming all too familiar. Every day we hear alarming statistics in the news about the number of children from our province who are in foster care, Indigenous children in particular. In a recent CBC article (which is included in the support material), an included graphic breaks down the disproportionate number of Indigenous Children from Labrador who were in foster care in 2017. We learn that “more than half of the children in protective care in Canada are First Nations, Inuit or Métis. In Newfoundland and Labrador, 34 per cent of the children in protective care are Indigenous, and half of those are Inuit.” This situation and the dangers it presents are central to Annie’s circumstances: what will her future hold? SQUAWK is a play that is relevant to our immediate cultural experience as Newfoundlanders and Labradorians and current in our National Conversation as well. It is extremely important to acknowledge and include young people in this dialogue, their experiences offer valuable perspective and as they grow into the next generation of leaders in society.
SQUAWK was developed by Playwrights’ Workshop Montreal and first produced by Geordie Productions, Montreal, in September 2015 as a touring play in Quebec high schools and CEGEPs. It featured the following cast and creative team:
Annie: Cheyenne Scott
Isaac: Patrick Abellard
Louis: Gabriel Schultz
Director: Jessica Abdallah
Dramaturg: Emma Tibaldo
Set, Costume, Prop and Production Design: Cathia Pagotto
Sound Design: Troy Slocum
Production Design: George Allister