Native Voices at Autry Presents Free Festival of New Plays – May 28-29

Native Voices at Autry Presents Free Festival of New Plays – May 28-29
Event on 2014-05-28 16:30:00
Native Voices at the Autry, America’s leading Native American theatre company, continues its tradition of excellence, developing plays by new and established Native American playwrights at its highly regarded PLAYWRIGHTS RETREAT AND FESTIVAL OF NEW PLAYS, culminating in free staged public readings of three intriguing new works on Wednesday, May 28, 4 pm and 7:30 pm; and Thursday, May 29, 2014, 7:30 pm, at the Autry National Center’s Wells Fargo Theater in Los Angeles. Subsequent readings of the three plays take place at the La Jolla Playhouse in La Jolla on Saturday, May 31 at 2 pm and 5pm and Sunday, June 1 at 2pm. Presented during the 16th annual event are THERE IS NO “I” IN NDN by Jennifer Bobiwash (Ojibway*); OUR VOICES WILL BE HEARD by Vera Starbard (Tlingit/Dena’ina*); and MEASURE FOR MEASURE adapted by Randy Reinholz (Choctaw*). Illustrating Native Voices’ long-term commitment to the development process, the three plays showcased at the 2014 Festival of New Plays are in various phases of development, ranging from initial stages to near completion. Native Voices is the nation's only Equity theater company dedicated exclusively to the development and production of new plays by Native American playwrights.

Native Voices’ highly respected PLAYWRIGHTS RETREAT AND FESTIVAL OF NEW PLAYS provides the opportunity during a weeklong retreat at the Autry National Center for beginning, emerging, and established Native American playwrights to work closely in shaping their plays with nationally recognized directors, dramaturgs, and an acting company comprised of exceptional Native American actors. The retreat concludes with public readings in Los Angeles and La Jolla. Many works developed during this project have gone on to enjoy successful runs on Native Voices’ Autry main stage and elsewhere, including the company’s 2014 production of Stand-Off at HWY #37, its 2013 production of The Bird House, its 2011 production of The Frybread Queen and its 2009–2010 season opener, Carbon Black.

THERE IS NO “I” IN NDN, by Jennifer Bobiwash (Ojibway*), is a humorous and probing one-woman show that explores what it means to be NDN (Native American). It is directed by Darrell Dennis (Shuswap*) with dramaturgy by Jessica Ordon. Bobiwash, a First Nations actress, writer and producer, hails from "a tiny tipi in Canada" and came to Los Angeles to act in local theater and film. She created the YouTube channel Welcome to the Tipi, on which she and her co-host, Geraldine Chases-her-Tail, share their stories about being NDN in today’s society. A technophile, Bobiwash jumped at the chance to make her own content in the infancy of YouTube and has since produced more than 300 episodes of online content for her channel. She has also guest starred in APTN's (Canada) Mohawk Girls. Bobiwash currently resides in Burbank.

OUR VOICES WILL BE HEARD, by Vera Starbard (Tlingit/Dena’ina*), directed by Jere Hodgin with dramaturgy by Laura Shamas (Chickasaw*), reveals a dark secret beneath the veneer of a harmonious family life. This dramatic and intricate tale, interwoven with the creation myth of “Wolverine Woman,” exposes the disastrous effects of sexual abuse on one Alaska Native community. Starbard, a former newspaper editor who works in public relations, often turns to her Tlingit and Dena’ina Athabascan heritage for inspiration for her writing. She completed a historical fiction book in 2010 with an award from the Rasmuson Foundation and has received numerous awards from the Public Relations Society of America, Alaska Professional Communicator’s Society, Alaska Women’s Press Club and the Alaska Federation of Natives. She currently lives in Anchorage, Alaska, where she owns the business Writing Raven Communications and has recently co-founded Dark Winter Productions to develop and advance Alaska Native Theater and playwrights.

MEASURE FOR MEASURE adapted by Randy Reinholz (Choctaw*) is directed by Chris Anthony with dramaturgy by Robert C. Caisley. In Reinholz' new play, love, righteousness, faith and mercy compete for provenance on the frontier when an Indian boarding school, Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show and the local town and saloon inhabitants collide over the fate of a young Native teenage boy unjustly sentenced to death. Reinholz, who describes the play as "Blazing Saddles meets Shakespeare," says, "The peculiar American institution of the Indian boarding school system, where children were 'stripped' of their culture, rouses deep emotions among Americans – Native and non-Native – even today.” A rich linguistic amalgam, the play preserves passages of Shakespeare's original text for the highbrow characters, while commoners use the vernacular of the day, as do the Native American and immigrant characters, whose speech is also peppered with their respective languages. Reinholz is co-creator and Producing Artistic Director of Native Voices at the Autry. He has directed over 75 productions in the US, Australia and Canada. Measure for Measure: an Indian Boarding School Comedy was his first play to be workshopped at Native Voices. He is also co-founder and producer for the Native Radio Theater Project, collaboration between Native Voices and Native American Public Telecommunications. Reinholz received a BA from William Jewell College and an MFA from Cornell University. He is a on the Board of Directors for the Media Arts Center of San Diego and a Trustee of The National Theatre Conference. He has served on panels for the LA Cultural Affairs Department, TCG, and the NEA and the Advisory Committee for the Native Theater Festival at The Public Theatre. Reinholz is a tenured professor at San Diego State University, where he served as Director of the School of Theatre, Television, and Film from 2007-2012. In 2012 he was named Director of Community Engagement and Innovative Programs for the College of Professional Studies and Fine Arts at San Diego State University.

The Autry is located at 4700 Western Heritage Way, Los Angeles, CA 90027-1462. Readings are free, but seating is limited and reservations are suggested. To reserve free tickets, call 323.667.2000, ext. 354, or visit

at Autry National Center
4700 Western Heritage Way
Los Angeles, United States

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