May 17, 2012

The Glooskape Chronicles

Wabanaki tales, contemporary setting, in debut play

By Emily BurnhamDonna Loring is known in Maine as a former tribal representative for the Penobscot Indian Nation, a law enforcement officer, a novelist, an activist and a radio show host. Though she has worn many hats in her career, musical theater playwright wasn’t one that she had any plans to acquire.

“The thought of writing a musical never entered my head. The thought of writing a play never even entered into my head,” Loring said. “But I have all this material, all these stories collected from my novel and from all the research I’ve done. I needed an outlet.”

Needless to say, her outlook on the idea changed when she took a playwriting class at the University of Maine with acclaimed resident playwright William Yellow Robe. One year later, Loring’s musical play “The Glooskape Chronicles: Creation and the Venetian Basket” will have a premiere reading at 7 p.m. Monday, May 21, at UMaine’s Neville Hall.

The play combines a contemporary setting with ancient, traditional stories from the Wabanaki people, drawing parallels between modern day issues and the legends handed down through generations. Songs from many different musical traditions are woven in throughout.
Comment:  For more on Native theater, see White Buffalo the Play and Schellenberg's King Lear Reviewed.

1 comment:

Rob said...

For more on the subject, see:

'The Glooskape Chronicles': First Musical Drama Based on Ancient Stories

Fewer than 50 people were expected to turn out for a staged reading of "The Glooskape Chronicles: Creation and the Venetian Basket," the only known musical drama based on an Indigenous People’s creation story and teachings of their culture's hero, but more than double that number showed up.

The Indigenous people are the Wabanaki, the People of the Dawn or First Light, in the northeast part of the United States and the playwright is Donna Loring, a citizen of the Penobscot Indian Nation. Loring is known throughout Maine and beyond as a Vietnam veteran, a former Penobscot representative in the Maine legislature, a former law enforcement officer, an activist, a radio talk show host, and an author.