August 25, 2007

Taos version of Dangerous Liaisons

Midnight Society by James Lujan

A new play premieres at the N4th Theater in Albuquerque on August 31:The story begins during dark times for the Indians of Taos Pueblo. The tribe is losing its land to Anglo and Spanish squatters; losing its sacred place of worship, Blue Lake, to the U.S. Forest Service; and losing its children to Catholic boarding schools. Enter Mabel, a wealthy, scheming, Jazz-age socialite who has chosen Taos as her home and a Pueblo Indian, Antonio, as her husband. They are a well-matched pair who have made it their mission to help protect the tribe, expose the hypocrisies of their enemies, and have as much fun as they can along the way. Using sex, mind games and cruelty as their weapons, the couple launches a merciless attack against the politicians, church leaders and even innocent bystanders who stand in their way—until the only ones left standing in their way are each other.

Playwright’s statement: “As far back as 1997, I had planned to do an independent film which would have been a modern day version of “Les Liaisons Dangereuses,” but then the movie “Cruel Intentions” came along and that pretty much ended that project. I’ve always been fascinated by this piece of literature, but as I started researching and exploring more of the history of Taos and my tribe, I became particularly intrigued with the 1920’s art colony, and I started to wonder what would happen if I revisited the literary source and applied it to this time period. As I started writing, I found that the history and the literature meshed quite nicely, and it’s one of the works that I’ve had the most fun writing.

“I think it’s important to challenge perceptions of 'American Indian theater,' and I think this play will push those perceptions to the limit.”

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