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Pleiades Theatre & Théâtre français de Toronto present the Toronto premiere of Tomson Highway’s The (Post) Mistress (English)/ Zesty Gopher s’est fait écraser par un frigo (français).

Pleiades Theatre & Théâtre français de Toronto  present the Toronto premiere of Tomson Highway’s  The (Post) Mistress (English)/ Zesty Gopher s’est fait écraser par un frigo (français).

“The (Post) Mistress is a brilliant performance […] a soul-inspiring celebration of the human spirit.”

– Review Vancouver


Toronto (ON) – From October 12 – November 6, Pleiades Theatre, in co-production with Théâtre français de Toronto, presents the Toronto premiere of The (Post) Mistress (in English, from October 25 to November 6) and Zesty Gopher s’est fait écraser par un frigo (in French, from October 12 to 23), the latest musical by Canada’s acclaimed First Nations’ playwright, Tomson Highway.  


The (Post) Mistresstells the story of Marie-Louise Painchaud, the hugely endearing Métis postmistress. In the fictitious village of Lovely, Ontario, located somewhere along the French River, we discover Marie-Louise and her uncanny ability toread the town’s mail through the envelopes. Letters from around the world tell of her neighbours’ foibles, fantasies and fibs, both large and small. They inspire Marie-Louise and she turns these stories into an eclectic array of songs inspired by musical traditions from around the world.  We also discover the origins of her extraordinary powers as she passes the time waiting for her beloved husband, Roland Painchaud, to join her. The French title, which translates as “Zesty Gopher got squashed by a fridge,” is a line from the play and gives an idea of some of the loopy characters who populate Marie-Louise’s imagination and Tomson Highway’s world.


This raucous and very touching one-woman musical stars the critically-acclaimed Patricia Cano, for whom it was written, and has Tomson Highway himself on the piano, accompanied by one of the best sax players in Canada, Marcus Ali.  Not only did Tomson Highway write the play, he is also the composer and lyricist.  Both the French and English versions are directed by John Van Burek, with choreography by the renowned Marie-Josée Chartier. Set design is by Teresa Przybylski and Lights are by Michel Charbonneau.


Tomson Highway ranks among Canada’s most celebrated authors. He is best known for his award-winning plays, The Rez Sisters and Dry Lips Oughta Move to Kapuskasing, along with his best-selling novel, Kiss of the Fur Queen. Born into a Cree family in Manitoba’s far north, he quickly showed a remarkable talent for music. Like most First Nations’ children at the time, he was sent to a Residential School, but there he was given access to a piano, which changed his life forever. He attended the University of Manitoba, then Western University, and also spent a year in London (UK) where he studied piano with master teachers such as William Aide and Anton Kuerti. He came to Toronto in the mid-eighties where he was Artistic Director of Native Earth Performing Arts from 1986-1992. Since then, Tomson Highway has devoted all his energies to his writing and composing.


The (Post) Mistress / Zesty Gopher s’est fait écraser par un frigo

Produced by Pleiades Theatre in co-production with Théâtre français de Toronto Book, Lyrics and Music by Tomson Highway | Directed by John Van Burek | Designed byTeresa Przybylski | Lighting by Michel Charbonneau | Choreography Marie-Josée Chartier

With Patricia Cano, Tomson Highway and Marcus Ali 

October 12 – 23 (French, with English Surtitles)

October 25 – November 6 (English, with French Surtitles)

Berkeley St. Theatre (Upstairs) | 26 Berkeley St., Toronto

Opening (français): Friday, October 14 at 8:00 PM | Previews: October 12 & 13 at 8 PM

Opening (English): Friday, October 28 at 8 PM | Previews: October 25 & 27 at 8 PM

Performances: Tuesdays – Fridays at 8:00 PM, Saturdays at 3:30 PM & Sundays at 2:30 PM

Tickets: Preview: $19 – $26 | Regular: $45 – $49 | Seniors: $38 – $42 | Under 30 & Arts Workers: $30 Pay-what-you-can on Wednesdays and Thursdays | Saturday Rush Tickets at the door: $20 | Group rates available for 8 or more: $25 per ticket

Box Office: 416.534.6604 or go to www.theatrefrancais.com

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About The Author

MUSKRAT Magazine

MUSKRAT is an on-line Indigenous arts, culture magazine that honours the connection between humans and our traditional ecological knowledge by exhibiting original works and critical commentary. MUSKRAT embraces both rural and urban settings and uses media arts, the Internet, and wireless technology to investigate and disseminate traditional knowledges in ways that inspire their reclamation.

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