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Photo courtesy of the Ottawa Fringe Festival

Fringe Review: Rocko and Nakota: Tales From the Land

By Brian Carroll on June 17, 2018

Photo courtesy of the Ottawa Fringe Festival

Rocko and Nakota: Tales From the Land
by Josh Languedoc
Indigenized Indigenous Theatre

49 min / Storytelling / G

One of the joys of Fringing is discovering a compelling story told by a masterful storyteller. Such is the case of Rocko and Nakota: Tales From the Land, told by Josh Languedoc of Indigenized Indigenous Theatre from St. Albert, Alberta.

A young boy, Nakota, steps up before the students of his school. He shyly thanks them for the cards they sent him while he was in hospital. He is about to read a story that he has written for a school assignment. He wanted to write a story about superheroes, but he changed his mind while in hospital. Instead he has written a story about his grandfather, Rocko. Nakota’s story takes his fellow students back to his stay in hospital.

There, Nakota is alone and frightened. He’s having dizzy spells, fainting and severe shortness of breath. He’s afraid he will choke and die. He has a school assignment, but he can’t concentrate.

Grandfather Rocko comes to visit, but Nakota is deeply hurt by Rocko’s absence in recent years. Rocko offers to tell him a story about their tribe, but Nakota wants none of it. He is frightfully ill and all his grandfather can offer him is a story? A spasm takes Nakota’s breath away, but Rocko sticks with him, willing the boy to relax and breathe. To distract the boy, Rocko goes ahead with his story.

What a story! Hunger, famine, starvation, disease, death, a warrior, spirits, animals. And a quest to save the tribe.

And how it’s told! Languedoc fills the entire ODD Box stage with his performance and characters.

As Nakota, Languedoc is lonely and frightened. As Rocko, Languedoc embodies elder wisdom. “Silence is the voice of God. Everything else is poor translation.” Rocko’s storytelling is mesmerizing as he mixes ancient indigenous legend with modern stories (for example, lyrics by Blue Rodeo).

Josh Languedoc’s bio elucidates the depth and breadth of his theatrical training. Among Lanquedoc’s many mentors are Chris Craddock (Bash’d) and Ken Brown (Spiral Dive). Quite the pedigree.

Parents, take note of the G rating for this family friendly show.

Run, don’t walk, to get tickets before the buzz hits the street.


Rocko and Nakota: Tales From the Land by Josh Languedoc is playing in the ODD Box at Arts Court (2 Daly Ave) until Sunday June 24, 2018. Tickets cost $12. Visit ottawafringe.com for the schedule and box office info. Read more reviews at apt613.ca/fringe.