Three Native American women's pieces and a series of lectures and poetry readings will highlight the 1999 Sky Woman Festival, running Nov. 3-21 at the Henry Street Settlement's Abrons Art Center.
The three pieces will run for one weekend each, beginning with Sara and Susie, the Yukon comedy and storytelling duo of Sharon Shorty and Jackie Bear. Both women portray Native elders and grandmothers who relate comic stories and wisdom from their lives. Sara and Susie runs Nov. 4-7.
Up Nov. 11-14 will be Marge Kane's Moonlodge presented with the performance art piece, Laura Ortman's Ragged Dog. Set in the 1950's, Moonlodge remembers a time when Native American children were often snatched off of reservations and given to supposed "good homes" by the Children's Aid Department. This drama tells the story of Agnes, one such girl who returns to the reservation to find her true history. Ragged Dog is based on the stray dogs that populate reservations and what they represent about home and survival.
The final production will be The Lesser Wars by Diane Glaney (Nov. 18-21). Based around the Native American myth of Coyote as the trickster and survivor of the natural world, Wars traces two wounded persons as they forge a relationship together.
Each Wednesday will be a special event: a benefit performance and poetry reading Nov. 3, a reading of Marcia Rendon's play, Song Catcher, Nov. 10 and a lecture entitled "Urban Talk" by Margo Kane Nov. 17. The Sky Woman Festival is named for the Iroquois creation myth, wherein the Sky Woman came to North America and gave birth to twins, the Good Spirit and the Bad Spirit. In her labor, she died, but her body was used by the Good Spirit to nourish the earth and become the sun, moon and stars.
Tickets to Festival productions are $12, the reading and lecture are free. For information and reservations, call (212) 465-3399. The Henry Street Settlement's Abrons Art Center is located at 466 Grand Street.
-- By Christine Ehren