Public Theater's Native Theater Festival Kicks Off Dec. 5

News   Public Theater's Native Theater Festival Kicks Off Dec. 5
The Public Theater's first annual Native Theater Festival, highlighting the work of Native American playwrights, actors, directors, and musicians, begins Dec. 5.

Presented in association with the Alliance for Inclusion in the Arts, American Indian Community House, Amerinda, The Hemispheric Institute, and the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, the five-day festival presents work from Native artists hailing from the U.S. and Canada and includes four dramatic readings, a staged work, discussions, concerts and ancillary events.

Among the offerings are In a World Created By a Drunken God by Drew Hayden Taylor. Kennetch Charlette stages the festival reading, scheduled for Dec. 5 at 7 PM. "While Jason packs up his Toronto apartment, looking forward to starting a new life by moving home to his family's reserve, he is interrupted by an unannounced visitor who drags him into the past he had long forgotten," press notes state.

Other works slated for presentation are Diane Glancy's "dark drama, about lives colliding in the aftermath of a car accident," Salvage — directed by Sheila Tousey — Dec. 6 at 8 PM.

In William S. Yellow Robe, Jr.'s A Stray Dog, "Alec returns home to his home on the reservation and has to fight the ongoing struggle of Tribal recognition with his family, like a stray dog returning to its pack," press notes state. Gary Farmer directs the Dec. 7 8 PM reading.

At 6 PM on Dec. 8, performer, poet and musician Joy Harjo ("Def Poetry Jam") will debut her first piece written for the theatre, which is entitled Wings of Night Sky, Wings of Morning Light. Lisa Peterson directs. The five-day festival culminates Dec. 9 at 8 PM in the staged presentation of Darrell Dennis' Tales of An Urban Indian. Dennis will also perform his work, which "tells the tale of Simon Douglas, an Indian born on a reservation and named by the U.S. government, who tries to find his way in the big city," according to press materials.

Each presentation is followed by a post-show discussion featuring the creative team of each work and Native guests including Hanay Geiogamah, Terry Gomez, Alanis King, Daniel David Moses, Yvette Nolan, Jennifer Podemski and Randy Reinholz.

Oskar Eustis, Public Theater artistic director, said in a statement, "There are extraordinary artists, talent and vision in the Native Theater community, a community that often doesn't receive the recognition or institutional support it deserves. We hope this festival is a small step in the continuing process of changing that."

Also scheduled is the musical presentation of Joy Harjo and the Arrow Dynamics Band – a fusion of poetry, rock, jazz and reggae gone Native. The evening will feature Larry Mitchell, Keith Golden, Alex Alexander and Robert Muller. Show time is 9:30 PM on Dec. 5 at Joe's Pub.

Concurrent with the Public's Native Theater Festival will be the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian's Holiday Art Market on Dec. 8 and 9. The Smithsonian is located at One Bowling Green in lower Manhattan.

New York's American Indian Community House will also present its 25th Annual Indian Market through Dec. 9 at Judson Memorial Church, located at 243 Thompson Street in Manhattan.

All Public Theater performances of the Native Theater Festival, except Joy Harjo at Joe's Pub, are free and open to the public. Reservations can be made by calling (212) 967-7555 or by visiting the Public box office located at 425 Lafayette Street in Manhattan.

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