By Ellen Dostal
Directed by Lynne Taylor-Corbett, with dramaturgy by Shelby Jiggetts-Tivony, it’s the tale of an attorney, serving as liaison between the U.S. government and Native American interests, whose good intentions unwittingly trigger a crisis in his tribe that seriously threatens not only its cultural interests but also the happiness of his childhood sweetheart. As he learns what it really is to be Native American in America, he struggles to redefine his life and where he belongs in the bewildering assimilation of past and present.
Loosely based on Shaun’s own life, DISTANT THUNDER features more than twenty characters, the largest cast of any play developed by Native Voices to date. Darrell Robes Kipp, co-founder and executive director of the Piegan Institute in Browning, Montana, and Redman Little Plume, a Blackfeet Elder, are the play’s advisors. Among the reading’s actors are Marisa Quinn (Lipan Apache*), “Huilen” in The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 2, and hip hop/gospel artist Spencer Battiest (Seminole*).
Below: Spencer Battiest (Tonto) and Marisa Quinn (Dorthy Dark Eyes) in the play "Distant Tunder."