A virtual audition to play the role of Charlotte Small in a historical documentary has captured the heart of Sharon Wass.
Thirteen years after writing and performing a one-woman show that honours the lives of Canadian explorers David Thompson and Charlotte Small, a Métis playwright from the Columbia Valley has been tempted to play the role of a fur trader’s wife once again.
The Wilmer resident says she has successfully secured a spot to audition for Julian Black Antelope’s upcoming documentary with the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network’s (APTN) about historically significant First Nation and Métis women in Canada.
“There’s so many women, so so many women, that need to be brought to light,” Wass said, indicating that she remains optimistic about having an opportunity to be featured in the APTN documentary as a historian and a consultant too. “I’m looking forward to the whole series. I think there’s going to be six women featured in the production.”
With the uncertainty of the COVID-19 crisis evolving, Wass is hopeful that virtual auditions will take place before October of 2020 but the actual audition date remains unknown for the time being.
However, Antelope could not be reached for comments about the documentary before the Pioneer went to press this week.
The opportunity to get involved with the production was serendipity when a documentary contributor visited the Marigold Library System in southern Alta. and asked the Indigenous outreach worker Rose Reid on a whim if she happened to know anyone with an interest in Small. Reid, of course, recommended her sister Wass.
Several years ago, when Wass was in the process of completing an undergraduate degree with a major in Women’s Studies, assigned reading for one of the courses included “Many Tender Ties: Women in the Fur Trade 1670-1870” written by Sylvia Van Kirk. Reading it sparked Wass’ interest in learning about Small and encouraged her to spend five years writing a monologue about Small.
That presentation has been showcased for children, teens and adults alike since 2007.
After having worked in Sask. and N.L. for the last five years, Wass has recently returned to the Columbia Valley and is eager to resume performing should any teachers in the community wish to request a recording about Small to be utilized in their classrooms this fall.
“I just love history and I want to share it,” said Wass.