By Jennifer K. Hugus
By Ed Rampell
By Ellen Dostal
V: I hope it makes them a little more aware of what's currently going on. These issues are ongoing. They're not anachronistic. Everybody seems to think that we're all good now and that everything's fine; since the boarding schools aren't happening anymore. We're good but the situation is not. It's awkward because, the truth is, I don't think anyone specifically is a black cowboy hat-wearing bad guy; it's just priorities are different and entitlements come from very different places, and there is invariably going to be a clash.
I read that you started a Native theatre company in the early 90s. Is that something you did to create more opportunities for Native Americans?
V: There was a group of us. It was Cochise Anderson, Irene Bedard, James Fall, Betsy Theobald, and a few others. We were tired of the anachronistic voice and the victimized Indian--the whole archetype of how people see us, because when they see us in that sort of persona, they don't actually see us as regular people. So we wanted to bring forward the contemporary Native voice to examine who we are now because we have been colonized; we have been changed dramatically. How do we cope? Who are we now? We do have major identity issues in the nations about where we fit in the world at large so we did work based on expressing those ideas.
I attended a performance of Stand-Off at HWY #37 this afternoon. Later, I briefly discussed writing plays with Facebook friend Brad:
Alas, I didn't think the play was that good. The majority of it was people saying or shouting talking points at each other.
If you embedded that much conflict in, say, a novel, it might work. But as a 75-minute drama of nonstop harangues, no.
It's like stage actors don't know how to have a normal conversation or do dialog without waving their arms around and shouting everything.
It would take a few rewrites before I could recommend it. But the raw material of a good play is there.
Below: Eagle Young as Private Thomas Lee Doxdater and Kalani Queypo as Darrin.