The Playwright

The Globe and Mail ‘s Ray Conologue said Moses ‘writes with a poetic suggestiveness that recalls Tennessee Williams: he is operating as an artist, not as an explainer or apologist for his people.’

Kate Taylor of The Globe and Mail wrote ‘Moses is..a coroner of the theatre who slices open the human heart to reveal the fear, hatred and love that have eaten away at it. His dark play..can leave its audience shaking with emotion.’

The Toronto Star ‘s Susan Walker at the opening of The Indian Medicine Shows (January 4, 1996) wrote ‘Moses’ plays are full of stage directions calling for the kind of violent or bizarre behavior more usually associated with dreams. He is a poet in the Shakespearean tradition of theatre, where the lines get refined so words are richly suggestive of emotions unspoken.’

“An artist of awesome imaginative scope and a Shakespearean richness of emotion and invention, Mr. Moses is the best-kept secret of Canadian drama of the last two decades. A writer free of political cant and pulpit aesthetics, and one of the most respected poets in the country, Mr. Moses has created a body of work for the theatre that is remarkable in its linguistic verve and energy, its stylistic diversity, its thematic ambition and its conceptual boldness. A genuinely original, distinctive voice, Mr. Moses has brought his powerful imagination to bear on a wide range of subjects and settings, from a tragic love story set in contemporary Toronto (Coyote City), to a fiercely beautiful tale of kissing cowboys in nineteenth century New Mexico (The Indian Medicine Shows) and a startlingly intense, panoramic epic of European and Native collision in 17 th century Ontario (Brebeuf’s Ghost). With his unerring instinct for compelling stories, his great skill in creating living, vibrant, wholly credible characters, his expansive social vision informed by a wide-ranging intellect and deeply held personal convictions, and his immense poetic gifts, Mr. Moses extends the possibilities of dramatic writing….

Daniel David Moses’ work, with productions in both professional theatres and educational institutions, meets the needs of the country at a point in its history where the First Nations can no longer be ignored. He is unique in his position as a First Nations playwright with a body of work of consistent and superior quality who has made a strong commitment to both the development of his art form by the braiding of cultures and to the telling of the stories that created this country – a trajectory that is not always commercial, but has become essential in educational contexts. His play Almighty Voice and His Wife is an important example of the interest in and vitality of his work. Of interest both as a revisioning of history and as a bold formal experiment, the play was originally produced in 1991 and 1992. The published version of the play sold out its first edition, was resurrected as the first of Playwrights Canada’s chapbooks, and … continues to sell well in schools and books stores….

Daniel David Moses’ exceptional artistry, demonstrated commitment, and ongoing creative growth serve to elevate the art form. His is a healing, exciting, historical and vitally necessary voice in Canadian theatre. Audiences and readers have just begun to experience the dazzling theatrical adventures he has to offer.”

By Nadine Sivak, Ph.D., University of Toronto (May 2001)

Photo: Carol Rowntree