CEDARS is a stage play gathered up from the voices of contemporary Native poets, it has crossed Turtle Island over the last 12 years from Seattle’s Day Break Center and will come to live again on stage at LaMama in NYC to run in a production by Mirage Theatre from January 22 to February 1, 2015. CEDARS gives a 21st century face to the struggle of indigenous people. The production is a collage of spoken word, emotion, movement, text, masks, drumming, and original music, depicting urban Native Americans in modern-day society and at the same time, celebrating the enduring spirit of Native culture.
An audition for this production will take place in New York City on December 2. For full details, click here to download a Word file. The Mirage Theatre Company has started an IndieGoGo campaign to raise funding (indiegogo.com/projects/cedars-at-la-mama), and there will be a benefit on Saturday, December 6, in New York City (details below and at miragetheatrecompany.org).
Over a decade ago I got call in Santa Fe from a young man pulling together a new play using Native poetry and he wanted to use my “INDIAN LIST” in a yet unnamed play. It turned out to be CEDARS, it was produced by Red Eagle Soaring Native Youth Theatre in Seattle. What I remember is that these young Native people were excited that these words would be coming from them out into the world. It wasn’t a sad Indian history, it was a new century and it was the present, it was their lives, it was the NOW. Martha Brice, from the Red Eagle’s Board of Directors, was also excited in her praise of CEDARS.
“The poets and our Native audience members were enthusiastic about the production, and mainstream theatre audiences expressed their appreciation for the insight they gained into contemporary Native thought and feeling. We felt that we had both empowered the Native community and fostered understanding with the outside community.”
Now Mirage Theatre Company of NYC, will present a revised version, with new words, music and movement. Mirage, under director June Prager, have already had staged readings at the Living Theatre and La MaMa, preceded by a two-week residency at Vassar College. La MaMa will be producing the play at their First Floor Theatre, a 99 seat house in New York City from January 22 – February 1, 2015.
Participating poets/writers include: Arthur Tulee (Yakama), Tiffany Midge (Hunkpapa Sioux), Gail Tremblay (Onondaga/MicMac), Deborah A. Miranda (Ohlone-Costanoan Esselen), William Michael Paul (Hunkpapa Sioux), Joseph Bruchac (Abenaki), Evan Pritchard (Mi’makq), Martha Brice (Tlingit), Molly McGlennen (Anishinabe), and myself. Mirage Theatre Company collaborated with composer Charles Upham (Blackfeet) and mask designer Roger Fernandes (Lower Elwha s’Klallam).
Another endorsement comes from Diane Fraher of Amerinda in NYC: “For Native people in the NYC area to hear Native voices sharing long-standing personal and community issues in an innovative way validates the spirit of self-determination, pride, and hope that has been growing in the Native community. CEDARS fits in with our mission to empower Native Americans, break down barriers, and foster intercultural understanding and appreciation for Native culture.”
Mirage Theatre is now embarking on fundraising for the production. La MaMa is providing the theatre venue, some public relations, house and box office personnel; Mirage Theatre needs to raise funds to cover actors, tech fees, press agent, and other expenses. They will also be approaching Tribal Councils in the NY/Connecticut area for support.
Mirage Theatre is hosting a benefit event at SOMETHIN’ Jazz Club, 212 E.52nd St, 3rd Floor, NYC on the evening of December 6. They have an Honorary Committee who’ve lent their names in support of the project, Graham Greene, Wes Studi, Cree Summer, Lou Diamond Phillips, and Gary Farmer. For information, to support, donate, participate please contact: Mirage Theatre Company, June Prager, director, 160 E.3rd St, Suite 3A, NYC, firstname.lastname@example.org, (347) 688-7666, Mirage Theatre Company is a non-profit charitable organization.