Press Release: October 31, 2016
Native Voices at the Autry Presents the 6th Annual Short Play Festival: Take Back the Land
Featuring Seven Short Plays by Native American Playwrights
Sunday, November 13, 2016, 1:30 p.m.
Autry Museum of the American West, Los Angeles
Los Angeles, CA (October 31, 2016)—Continuing its role as the only Equity theatre company dedicated exclusively to developing new work by Native American artists, Native Voices at the Autry presents its sixth annual Short Play Festival: Take Back the Land. Held during the Autry Museum of the American West’s American Indian Arts Marketplace on Sunday, November 13, 2016, the event features new short plays by Native American playwrights exploring environmental issues.
"The Native playwrights who submitted this year took artful approaches to the festival's theme, Take Back The Land," says Jean Bruce Scott, Producing Executive Director of Native Voices. "The variety of plays we received is a testament to the playwrights' imaginations and the importance of the theme in Indian Country—how many ways and reasons are there to take back the land?"
Environmental issues such as climate change and pollution, legal debates surrounding borders and resources, and personal and spiritual connections to land are among the themes explored during this year's festival. The plays, which were selected by a national panel, will be workshopped and read by the Native Voices Artists Ensemble. The plays are then considered for the Von Marie Atchley Excellence in Playwriting Award, a $1,000 cash prize based on the creative use of the competition theme, originality, theatricality, execution, and audience response.
The Short Play Festival is included with admission to the Marketplace (free for Autry members; $14 adults; $10 students and seniors; $6 children ages 3–12). Seating for the Short Play Festival is limited,
and early arrival is suggested. Following the performance at the Autry, Take Back the Land will be
performed at La Jolla Playhouse on Monday, November 14, 2016, at La Jolla Playhouse in San Diego.
About the Featured Readings and Authors
Dance by Jay Muskett (Navajo)
Three generations of Navajo women confront climate change in their drought-stricken community. Muskett is a writer, director, and occasional thespian from Nakaibito, New Mexico, located on the Navajo Nation. He is a graduate of Pima Community College in Tucson, Arizona, and the University of New Mexico, where he earned two BAs, one in theatre and one in media arts. Among numerous performances on stage, Muskett co-directed the short film Yes Is Better Than No, which was an AIFF selection in 2008. He is an adjunct faculty member at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Bear in Stream by Frank Henry Kaash Katasse (Tlingit)
An uncle teaches his nephew to appreciate the resilience of salmon. Katasse is an Alaska Native actor, director, producer, improviser, and playwright. Katasse received his BA in theatre arts from the University of Hawaii, Mānoa, in 2008. While in Hawaii he worked with Kennedy Theatre, Kumu Kahua Theatre, and the Cruel Theatre. In 2008 Katasse moved back to Juneau, Alaska, and was involved with Perseverance Theatre’s production of The Government Inspector. His body of work as an actor also includes world premieres of the Alaska Native–themed plays Battles of Fire and Water, Reincarnation of Stories, Cedar House, and Our Voices Will Be Heard. In Juneau, Katasse has performed with Theatre in the Rough, Juneau Symphony, and Morally Improvrished, and is currently the board president of Juneau-Douglas Little Theatre. He received the 2015 Von Marie Atchley Excellence in Playwriting Award from Native Voices for his short play Reeling. During 2016/2017, Perseverance Theatre, Native Voices at the Autry, and La Jolla Playhouse co-produced the world premiere of Katasse’s play They Don’t Talk Back.
Snooky is a Terrorist by Vickie Ramirez (Tuscarora)
A brother suspects his sister of plotting drastic measures against the local dam project. Ramirez is an alumna of the Public Theater’s Emerging Writer’s Group 2009 and a founding member of Chuka Lokoli Native Theater Ensemble and Amerinda Theater. Her work has been previously developed and/or presented at Labyrinth Theater Company, Native Voices at the Autry, The Public Theater, The Flea, Missoula Writer’s Colony, Roundabout Theater’s Different Voices Program, and The 52nd Street Project. Recent productions include Glenburn 12 WP for Summer Shorts at 59E59 Theaters, and Standoff at Hwy #37 for Native Voices in Los Angeles and South Dakota. Honors include NYC Urban Artists Fellowship (2009/2010) and the NYSCA Individual Artist Award (2010).
Porcupine by Diane Glancy (Cherokee)
A group of men examine their culpability in the destruction of their own land by the natural gas industry and fracking. Glancy is professor emerita at Macalester College. She received the 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award from Native Writers Circle of the Americas. Her latest books are Fort Marion Prisoners and the Trauma of Native Education, Report to the Department of the Interior, One of Us, Uprising of Goats, and Ironic Witness. Glancy has a forthcoming poetry collection titled The Collector of Bodies: Concern for Syria and the Middle East and is co-editing an anthology titled The World Is One Place: Native American Writers Visit the Middle East. In July 2016 she gave a workshop and reading at Institute of the American Indian.
Waiting for H20 by Claude Jackson (Gila River Indian Community)
Two young boys from the Gila River band are amazed to learn that there actually was a Gila River. Jackson has been writing creatively for more than twenty years as a hobby. During the past five years, Jackson has also been producing film projects and entering writing competitions. He and his brother, Roberto Jackson, wrote, produced, and directed the full-length film In Circles, which was showcased at various 2015 film festivals. A licensed attorney, Jackson is currently the director of his tribe’s Defense Services Office, working in criminal public defense.
Backstage, Blue Moon by Ed Bourgeois (Mohawk)
North, East, South, and West are killing it at the afterlife comedy club known as the Blue Moon. But why isn't Mother Earth getting the love she deserves? Bourgeois is the managing director of PA'I Foundation, a Honolulu-based hālau hula. He served as executive/general director of Anchorage Opera (2001–2007) and director of programs at the Alaska Native Heritage Center (2007–2013), where he directed Growing Up Native in Alaska, Raven’s Radio Hour, and Echoes at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian. Bourgeois is co-creator of the Raven’s Radio Hour comedy show. He established the Alaska Native Playwrights Project, which trained 32 emerging Alaska Native playwrights, and recently facilitated a playwriting workshop for indigenous writers on Oahu.
Article 13: Or How Manhattan Was Sold by Alan Kilpatrick (Cherokee)
A Lenape chief trades land with the Dutch– but first, he insists on observing the appropriate "customs." Kilpatrick has authored some thirty plays, which have received readings or performances from theatre groups in San Diego, Portland, Albuquerque, New York, and London. He is also the author of the nonfiction book The Night Has a Naked Soul: Witchcraft and Sorcery Among the Western Cherokee. He was Professor of American Indian Studies and Anthropology at San Diego State University and is currently on the psychology faculty at the Pacifica Graduate Institute. He has won numerous awards, including a Beinecke Fellowship (Yale), an Irvine Teaching Fellowship (Stanford), and two Fulbright fellowships.
Native Voices Is Sponsored by
San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, Department of Cultural Affairs (City of Los Angeles), Edison International, Los Angeles County Arts Commiss ion, National Endowment for the Arts, The Nissan Foundation, Seven Post Private Investment Office, Sony Pictures, The Walt Disney Company, and Wells Fargo.
About Native Voices at the Autry
Native Voices at the Autry is the only Equity theatre company devoted exclusively to developing and producing new works for the stage by Native American, Alaska Native, and First Nations playwrights. Founded in 1994 by Producing Artistic Director Randy Reinholz (Choctaw) and Producing Executive Director Jean Bruce Scott, Native Voices became the resident theatre company at the Autry Museum of the American West in 1999. The company provides a supportive, collaborative setting for Native theatre artists from across North America. In 2014 the company established the Native Voices Artists Ensemble to more fully support the extraordinary talents of its Native actors, writers, musicians, and directors. The Ensemble is devoted to developing new work in a collaborative process as well as supporting Native Voices’ ongoing focus on the work of individual playwrights. Native Voices at the Autry is a member of Actors’ Equity Association, LA Stage Alliance, and the Dramatists Guild, and is a Constituent Theatre of Theatre Communications Group (TCG), the national organization for the American theatre. Visit TheAutry.org/NativeVoices for more information.
About the Autry Museum of the American West
The Autry is a museum dedicated to exploring and sharing the stories, experiences, and perceptions of the diverse peoples of the American West, connecting the past to the present to inspire our shared future. The museum presents a wide range of exhibitions and public programs—including lectures, film, theatre, festivals, family events, and music—and performs scholarship, research, and educational outreach. The Autry’s collection of more than 500,000 pieces of art and artifacts includes the Southwest Museum of the American Indian Collection, one of the largest and most significant of Native American materials in the United States.