Rose is the eagerly awaited third installment in Tomson Highway’s “rez” cycle—a large-cast musical set on the Wasaychigan Hill Reserve in 1992, reintroducing many of the characters from the first two plays, The Rez Sisters and Dry Lips Oughta Move to Kapuskasing.
The play features, as the title suggests, Roses. One Rose has recently become chief of the reserve, a woman who must fight constantly to keep her position and maintain the integrity of her native culture. Another Rose died seven years earlier in the saddle of her Harley while on her glorious, but grievous journey to women’s liberation. The third Rose never even had a chance to be born.
Emily Dictionary and some of her female biker pals take centre stage when Big Joey enlists the Sudbury Mafia to help with his plans to open a multi-million dollar dream casino in the women’s cherished Community Hall on the Rez. Bob Rae, Premier of Ontario at the time, makes an appearance in a land claims negotiation to sign the first Indian treaty in a hundred years with Chief Big Rose.
Violence against women is once again a powerful issue in the play as the battle for the future of the community builds to its shattering climax.