“Smokescreen” looks to clear the air around Marijuana use.

Voters in Washington and Colorado recently moved to legalize marijuana. Concurrently, the Canadian government brought harsher penalties against the drug in Canada. It could therefore be argued that no play is more timely than Concrete Theatre’s Smokescreen in Edmonton.

Smokescreen, a “play that explores a drug for which we have laws but no values” tackles the issue of adolescent soft-drug use and addiction in face of the hard reality that you can legislate usage, but not the culture which surrounds it.

As a society, we have come to a different agreement about the use of various drugs, including marijuana and alcohol. While alcohol is legal, there are clearly defined social norms about when it is and is not acceptable to drink. But, do we have those same set of norms around pot? How can we, when it’s something that “nice folk” shouldn’t discuss out in the open?

How do we as a society address the effects – good and bad – that pot brings about, if we’re not discussing it in an open way? Can we discuss it, when our society is so completely divided over the implications of pot? Or is this division all the more reason to spur a debate?

There has been an adamant legalization movement in Canada for years. Now, one of our neighboring states has legalized it, while U.S. and Canadian federal governments continue to condemn and punish its use, even as a medicine. Beyond that, on a more micro-level, there are conflicting attitudes towards pot – everything from the “reefer madness” mentality, to the parents (at least in my hometown) who helped their kids buy pot. I hope that Smokescreen will bring these discussions out into the open – because, if nothing else, that’s the point of theatre: to help us have these types of conversations.

While the play tours Edmonton’s junior high and high school’s this month, Smokescreen‘sdoors are open to the public for three performances on November 16 – 17. Check out the performance schedule on YEGLive.ca. Tickets sell for $16 – 19.

– Jenna Marynowski

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