East Three a hit
Play appeals to Northern travellers

Glen Korstrom
Northern News Services

INUVIK (Jul 03/98) - Those who venture North are better described as travellers than tourists.

With the Holiday Inn set safely tucked away far south, another breed of temporary visitor can experience the Arctic unencumbered by short-stop luxury-seekers.

"If you're coming up here to see movies or plays, I think you have come to the wrong place," said Jacques Desnoyers, a Montreal bone surgeon who visited Inuvik last week. "The reason to come here is for the nature, the lakes and wilderness."

Desnoyers did take in a play, however -- East Three, which recounts Beaufort Delta history and tells the story of Inuvik's birth.

Desnoyers was even plucked from the audience to play a bit part in the performance's improv skit to start Act 2.

The play itself is a collection of vignettes, slices of Northern life and history.

Partly threading together the story are two women who sit on their front porch swaying in rocking chairs, tittering about who will move to Inuvik from Aklavik.

Other characters are bumbling tourists, decked out in garish tourist-wear complete with shorts, skis and polar-bear-finding equipment.

They are humorous lightning rods through which the story is told.

But Northern travellers today are a knowledgeable and non-stereotypical lot. Before the performance begins, host Patrick Schmidt does a Jay Leno-esque monologue complete with involvement from the audience.

Most already knew what honeybuckets are.

After the show, tourists from around the globe sit and chat, proving the Finto Motor Inn banquet room is as good a place as any to relate recent highlights and excitement about what is in store for tomorrow.

"I'm from in the mountains," said Judith Buttler from south Germany. "That's why I'm going next to Alberta, to see the prairie."

She then continued her conversation with Roger Dutton from Pinawa, Man. He was coincidentally also in Inuvik to see the play.

"I found the play fascinating," said Dutton, who has directed much community theatre. "It's good to see indigenous theatre coming from a community of this size."