January 21, 2009

Indian Summer the musical

SCR Revives INDIAN SUMMER Educational Touring ProgramSouth Coast Repertory will revive the musical play Indian Summer, one of the theatre's most popular Educational Touring Productions, for travel to Southland elementary schools Jan. 21 - April 4, 2009. There will be a free public performance at SCR on Jan. 26.

Set in the mid-19th century, Indian Summer is based on the true story of a young boy who grows up with a Native American tribe. The play directly supports California K-6 State Frameworks for History-Social Science, English-Language Arts and Visual and Performing Arts.

Indian Summer is based on the true story of Thomas Jefferson (Jeff) Mayfield, whose family comes to California in 1850, drawn by the rush for gold. Unsuccessful as prospectors, they try to make a living by farming and ranching along the San Joaquin Valley's Kings River. After the death of his wife, Jeff's father is faced with extreme hardships and is forced to be away from home for long periods to look after the land and the cattle. He makes the difficult decision to send his son to live temporarily with the friendly Choinumne Yokuts tribe. When it's time to bring Jeff home, the boy chooses to stay with the tribe. During this time-from age six to 16-Jeff learns to appreciate traditional Indian beliefs and values and comes to understand the importance of caring for the land's abundant natural resources.
Comment:  This play's purpose seems to be to send kids a message about (positive) Native stereotypes. As usual, it's good to see an Indian subject, but let's hope it's not what it seems like.

For photos of this play, see Photo Flash:  SCR'S INDIAN SUMMER. For more on the subject, see Native Plays and Other Stage Shows.

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