Past Productions

Native Voices at the Autry

They Don’t Talk Back

They Don't Talk Back

Written by Frank Henry Kaash Katasse (Tlingit)
Directed by Randy Reinholz (Choctaw)
March 2–20, 2016

Presented in association with La Jolla Playhouse and Perseverance Theatre. A troubled teen from a broken home receives the culture shock of a lifetime when he is sent to live and work with his Tlingit grandparents in a remote fishing village in Alaska. This funny, heartfelt exploration of the meaning of family and life emerges in a contemporary coming-of-age story.

 

Off the Rails

Off the Rails
Written by Randy Reinholz (Choctaw)
Directed by Chris Anthony

February 27–March 15, 2015

The Union Pacific Railroad, an Indian boarding school, and Madame Overdone's Stewed Prunes Saloon collide in Randy Reinholz's bawdy and irreverent Off the Rails, an adaptation of Shakespeare's Measure for Measure set in Buffalo Bill's Wild West!

Stand-Off at HWY #37

Stand-Off at HWY #37
Written by Vickie Ramirez (Tuscarora)
Directed by Jon Lawrence Rivera

February 26–March 16, 2014

In upstate New York, on the border of a small town and the local Haudenosaunee reservation, a young National Guardsman of Tuscarora heritage has to choose between upholding the oath he took to defend his country and protecting the traditional lands of his people.

The Bird House

The Bird House
Written by Diane Glancy (Cherokee)
Directed by Robert Caisley

March 1–18, 2013

An evangelical preacher fights to save his family, church, and community in the face of a continuing economic crisis. Will the promise of natural gas production from fracking provide a lifeline to his small west Texas town and his two sisters?

Walking on Turtle Island Walking on Turtle Island

Walking on Turtle Island
Written and performed by Robert Owens-Greygrass (Lakota)
Directed by Kevin Sifuentes (Hopi)

March 1–18, 2012

In this tour-de-force performance, Robert Owens-Greygrass embodies twenty-two characters—from a grandfather, to a mixed-blood sun dancer, to a boy who has lost his dog, to an eighty-year-old Ojibway woman, to Iyeska, a trickster and spirit guide who moves through centuries and inhabits various spiritual “skins.” Greygrass portrays the often untold Indigenous experience through powerful and unique stories of Turtle Island (North America).

Ghostlands of an Urban NDN

Written and performed by Robert Owens-Greygrass (Lakota)
Directed by Kevin Sifuentes (Hopi)

March 1–18, 2012

Follow Robert, a multiethnic, nonspecific, lower-middle-class, urban-NDN white guy, as he navigates the conflicting worlds of a mixed-race heritage. Acclaimed storyteller Robert Owens-Greygrass portrays sixteen characters in this gritty look at the sometimes humorous, always gripping urban Native journey through the ghostlands.

The Frybread Queen

Written by Carolyn Dunn (Muskogee Creek, Cherokee)
Directed by Robert Caisley
March 12–27, 2011

Three generations of Indian women come together for the funeral of a beloved son. The collision of personalities forces them to confront long-simmering tensions that threaten to tear them apart. This quietly poetic drama has all the haunting qualities of a Chekhovian tragicomedy—Navajo style!

Tales of an Urban Indian

Written and Performed by Darrell Dennis (Shuswap)
Directed by Herbie Barnes (Ojibway)

March 14–28, 2010

Acclaimed Canadian writer and performer Darrell Dennis tells the semi-autobiographical tale of a young Indian man, Simon Douglas. From living life on the “Rez” to navigating the mean streets of Vancouver’s east side, Dennis weaves a funny and stirring story of identity, discovery, choice, and self-respect. This one-man show made its West Coast premiere here in 2010 following a Canadian tour and two nominations for the Dora Mavor Award, the highest theatrical honor in Canada, and its U.S. premiere at New York's Public Theater in 2009.

Carbon Black

Written by Terry Gomez (Comanche)
Directed by Randy Reinholz (Choctaw)

November 7–22, 2009

This taut psychological drama focuses on the relationship between an agoraphobic mother and her precocious son, Carbon "Inky" Black. When young Inky claims to have witnessed a horrific murder, his mother’s refusal to acknowledge his tale and her crippling dependence on sensationalized media coverage of violence in their city serve to isolate them both even further. Dejected and often truant from school, Inky Black turns to young, well-meaning guidance counselor Lisa YellowTree, who must fight her own battles with Mr. Tucker, a gruff and seemingly uncaring vice principal.

Wings of Night Sky, Wings of Morning Light

Written by Joy Harjo (Mvskoke)
Starring Joy Harjo (Mvskoke) and  featuring Larry Mitchell
Directed by Randy Reinholz (Choctaw)

March 12–29, 2009

From musician, poet, and playwright Joy Harjo (Mvskoke) comes a deeply compelling personal journey of struggle, displacement, self-discovery, and ultimately healing. Invoking spoken word, storytelling, and song, Harjo reflects on life stories, the tales and traditions of her people, and takes a few turns blowing a mean jazz saxophone. An allegorical work of tremendous power, Wings demonstrates how theater and art can bring life full circle.

Los Angeles Times      IndyBay.org      L.A. Weekly

Salvage

Written by Diane Glancy (Cherokee)
Directed by Sheila Tousey (Menominee, Stockbridge Munsee)

October 31–November 23, 2008

Cut Bank, Montana. Blackfeet country. Here, a hard-working family scratches out a life running a salvage yard. In this taut, suspenseful drama, a deadly accident throws them into a turbulent world of doubt, recrimination, and vengeance, pushing their lives into horrific new territory. Can traditional ways pull them back to safety? Or will they be torn apart forever?

Teaching Disco Square Dancing to Our Elders: A Class Presentation

Written by Larissa FastHorse (Sicangu Nation)
Directed by Jose Cruz Gonzalez

February 8–March 2, 2008

Follow Kenny and Martin’s adventure as they combine their school projects into “Teaching Disco Square Dancing.” The delicate balance of their friendship is tested when they enlist the aid of Kenny’s Grandma and Amanda, a shy outcast whose presentation topic is on cultural history. Can they work together to finish the project and graduate from middle school, or will stereotypes and teen angst undermine their determination? Bring the entire family and hang on for a bumpy spin around the dance floor!

SUPER INDIAN

Written by Arigon Starr (Kickapoo, Creek)
Directed by William Dufris (Mi'kmaq)

April 13 and 14, 2007

After eating tainted commodity cheese, a young Hubert Logan discovers he has amazing powers that transform him into “Super Indian.” With his trusty sidekick Mega Bear, Super Indian uses these newfound powers to foil evil on the Leaning Oak Reservation. Don’t miss an exciting evening of hilarity and superhero action as Super Indian and Mega Bear rocket to the rescue.

Berlin Blues

Written by Drew Hayden Taylor (Ojibway)
Directed by Randy Reinholz (Choctaw)

March 1–25, 2007

Using humor to give us insight into love and losses in the land of the Ojibway, this play focuses on a large German conglomerate that descends on a small Canadian reserve with visions of building the world’s largest Native theme park, “Ojibway World.” This theme park comes complete with bumper canoes, a dream catcher made of laser beams, and Dances With Wolves: The Musical!

The Red Road

Written and Performed by Arigon Starr (Kickapoo, Creek)
Directed by Randy Reinholz (Choctaw)

March 30–April 30, 2006

Join Grand Ole Opry singer Patty Jones as she leads us through a particularly busy day at Verna Yahola’s All Nations Cafe off legendary Route 66 in Sapulpa, Oklahoma. There’s a heap of trouble and a huge storm a-brewin’ as Verna tangles with über-Indian Richard Doolittle, meets British bad boy Danny Dacron, and contemplates a proposal from her good-hearted Navajo fry cook, Emmitt Tsinajinnie. This family-friendly comedy with music features a cast of characters straight out of Indian country—ages 9 to 57—and Miss Starr plays them all! 

Stone Heart

Written by Diane Glancy (Cherokee)
Directed by Randy Reinholz (Choctaw)

February 17–March 12, 2006

Behind her was a history of betrayal. Before her was an entire continent. This is the story of Lewis and Clark’s 1804–1806 Corps of Discovery told for the very first time through the eyes of Sacajewea and York, the Shoshoni woman and the African slave who courageously traveled to the sea and back. Supported by a unique soundscape of Native flute, cello, fiddle, and African drums, this talented cast transforms the stage into the Mandan Village, the Great Falls, the Missouri River, and the Rocky Mountains. Experience the torrents and snowstorms, the Northern lights and pouring rain, the devastation of the Bitter Roots, and the magnificence of the Pacific Ocean.

Kino & Teresa

Written by James Lujan (Taos Pueblo)
Directed by Ken Martines (Pueblo)

March 4–20, 2005

Based on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, this beautiful, poignant romance provides a glimpse into the hearts and minds of two warring communities in 17th-century Santa Fe—the Taos Pueblo and their Spanish conquerors—and demonstrates the need to create a new world free from the political maneuvering of power-hungry leaders on an unwitting path to their own destruction.

Please Don’t Touch the Indians

Written by Joseph A. Dandurand (Kwantlen First Nation)
Directed by Randy Reinholz (Choctaw)

March 19–April 4, 2004

With Sister Coyote, Brother Raven, Mister Wolf, a tourist, and two wooden Indians, Dandurand’s tender, heart-wrenching tale portrays the struggles and dreams of Native Americans through history. His powerful storytelling style uses animal imagery and social stereotypes to create a strong, moving depiction of Native Americans and their ability to love, laugh, and survive despite tragic loss.

The Buz’Gem Blues

Written by Drew Hayden Taylor (Ojibway)
Directed by Randy Reinholz (Choctaw)

March 8–23, 2003

Combine two traditional tribal enemies in their golden years, a recently divorced Rez sister, a young student exploring her 1/64th Native heritage, and a young man calling himself The Warrior That Never Sleeps. Fold in a professor researching the contemporary mating habits of Native people, toss them all together at a Native elders’ conference, and you have the recipe for The Buz’Gem Blues, a romantic comedy with an irreverent send-up of love and courtship.

Jump Kiss: An Indian Legend

Written by Diane Glancy (Cherokee)
Directed by Randy Reinholz (Choctaw)

June 5–23, 2002

In this compelling story, a mixed-blood Native American woman growing up mid-century in Kansas City moves easily between past and present and Native and non-Native worlds to recover events, experiences, and relationships.