|Joan Henry (Cherokee) in Cedars|
(photo: Jonathan Slaff)
|Matt Langer (Dakota) in Cedars|
(photo: Tatiana Ronderos)
I dance for those who dance no more....
I dance as my lungs need to breathe....
I dance whatever my daily circumstance....
--excerpts from the text for Cedars
Cedars--revised from its 2002 production by a Seattle troupe and presented at La MaMa by Mirage Theatre Company--features an ensemble of five Native American actors and director June Prager's adaptation of works by writers such as Evan Pritchard (M'kmaq) and Joseph Bruchac (Abenaki). Its strength lies in its insistence on the self-definition and visibility of indigenous peoples, the owning and treasuring of difference: "Refusing to vanish, I can only answer with my dark name."
The 80-minute presentation and its cast seem reticent and mild, though, in comparison to Prager's text--a rough-textured collage drawn from existence in the crosshairs of history at the crossroads of cultures. As with the Black Lives Matter movement, our moment calls for disruptive narratives like those at the core of Cedars. If only this sincere and careful production could bring out and deliver a much-needed jolt.
Performances by Wolfen de Kastro (Aztec/Huasteca/Maya), Joan Henry (Cherokee), Alana LaMalice (Dene-Cree), Matt Langer (Sioux and Cree), John Scott-Richardson (Haliwa-Saponi and Tuscarora). Music by Charles Upham (Blackfeet) and masks by Roger Fernandes (Lower Elwha s'Klallam)
Cedars runs through February 1 with performances Thursdays-Saturdays at 7:30pm and Sundays at 2pm. For information and tickets, click here.
La MaMa (First Floor Theatre)
74A East 4th Street (between Bowery and 2nd Avenue), Manhattan