Some reviewers have also compared and contrasted the plays as they finish their Los Angeles runs.
A 'Stand-Off' over Native Americana in 'Cry, Trojans!'
By Don Shirley
Returning to America after a disappointing reaction to the London production, the Wooster Group's director Elizabeth LeCompte decided to revive the material by assigning her actors to play all the parts on both sides, with the title "Cry, Trojans!," but also with the assistance of a tape of the British voices from the London production.
And so, at the play's official premiere at REDCAT, both the Trojans and the Greeks wore Indian clothes, while a tipi dominated the background. Almost any direct parallel to American imperialism faded - the conflict looked more like an inter-tribal Native war.
The Greeks were distinguished from the Trojans mostly by wearing little black masks atop their Indian outfits, which still exposed enough of the men's skin that the costumes (inadvertently? or ironically?) emphasized how white these actors are. They seemed to be white guys playing "Indians and Indians," as opposed to "cowboys and Indians."
During the talkback, LeCompte said a close friend--a playwright--had told her, "I wouldn't do a play like this without making sure I had a Native American in it." But, LeCompte added, "that is not where I live. I wouldn't do that. I couldn't do that." Then, though her language was vague, she appeared to indicate that she thought that adding Native Americans to the company would be seen as "who's at the party?" tokenism--"and that's horrible to me....Plus it's not about that. It's about everything bigger...We love the piece, we love the stories, we love the films, we love the people...We wanted to tell the story in this way and make it so big that this [lack of direct Native American input] wouldn't be a problem."
New York, we have a problem.
By Jenny Lower
Native Voices' naturalistic production, directed by Jon Lawrence Rivera, couldn't be more different from the Wooster Group's stylized, experimental rendering. The latter was not trying to capture an authentic, specific Native experience, but used a pastiche of that culture as a set piece in depicting a soon-to-be-annihilated culture--and that may have been part of the problem. If the Wooster Group employed Native culture as a means to an artistic end, Stand-Off at HWY #37, though still in need of development, succeeds in portraying the complex, varied experiences of Native peoples as an end in itself.
By Colin Mitchell
The Cassandra Syndrome
By Guy Zimmerman
In other words, the satire or parody exists only in the creator's mind. Or in this case, the reviewer's mind, since he's the only one claiming it's a parody.
Below: LaVonne Rae Andrews as Aunt Bev, DeLanna Studi as Sandra Henhawk.