The free, four-day festival, composed of new work, readings, panel discussions and concerts, will run Nov. 12-15 at the Public.
"The Native Theater community in the U.S. and Canada is full of brilliant artists, unique visions and an outstanding variety of esthetics," Public Theater artistic director Oskar Eustis said in a statement. "With this festival we hope to both showcase some amazing talent for a broader public and bring Native artists together to chart a path for the future.”
The Native Theater Festival kicks off with singer-songwriter Martha Redbone at 9:30 PM Nov. 12. Redbone's concert of soulful music at Joe's Pub is the only event for which there is a cover charge. Tickets are priced $18 with a $12 food/beverage minimum; reservations are available by phoning (212) 539-8778.
A reading of Victoria Nalani Kneubuhl's The Conversion of Ka'Ahumanu will take place Nov. 13 at 8 PM. The Hawaiian-set piece "explores the complex relationships amongst Christian missionaries and indigenous women forty years after the islands' first contact with the West," according to press notes. Kneubuhl will take part in a post-show discussion about contemporary Native playwrighting.
Public artistic director Eustis and Native Festival consultant Sheila Tousey will moderate a panel discussion about "Politics and Performance" Nov. 15 at 4 PM. Among those taking part will be Terry Gomez (playwright, director, actor and educator), Alanis King (artistic director, Saskatchewan Native Theater Company), Yvette Nolan (artistic director, Native Earth Performing Arts), Jennifer Podemski (CEO and executive producer, Redcloud Studios) and Randy Reinholz (artistic director, Native Voices at the Autry and Director of the School of Theatre, Television and Film at SDSU). Leigh Silverman (Well) will direct a reading of Re-creation Story by Eric Gansworth Nov. 15 at 8 PM. The work is described as a playful personal exploration of the Haudenosaunee creation narrative. Gansworth will take part in a post-show discussion, "Bringing Oral Tradition to the Stage," with special guests Leigh Silverman, Daniel David Moses (playwright) and Edward Wemytewa (playwright/performer).
Partner events for the Native Theater Festival include the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian's Indigenous Style and Design Event (Nov. 15) and American Indian Community House: Drums Along 42nd Street!! (Nov. 10).
The 2008 festival is curated by Native Theater Festival consultant Sheila Tousey (Menominee and Stockbridge-Munsee) and an advisory committee consisting of Hanay Geiogamah (Kiowa-Delaware), Terry Gomez (Comanche Nation – Numunu), Alanis King (Odawa Nation), Daniel David Moses (Delaware from the Six Nations Reserve), Yvette Nolan (Algonquin from Kitiganzibi), Jennifer Podemski (Saulteux/Israeili), Randy Reinholz (Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma) and Edward Wemytewa (Zuni).
Reservations for all Native Theater Festival events are required and can be made beginning Oct. 24. All readings will take place in the Anspacher Theater.
Reservations can be made by calling (212) 967-7555 or by visiting the Public box office, which is located at 425 Lafayette Street in Manhattan.