Flying high with Joy Harjo and Larry Mitchell

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Thursday, March 12th.

The evening began with an intimate blessing led by long-time friend of Native Voices, Mr. Robert Greygrass. I had never been a part of NV's blessings because I'm usually unable to attend our opening night performances so I was particularly excited about this one. We all formed a circle around the first two rows of chairs in the theatre, passed around some burning sweet grass (at least I think that's what it was), and proceeded to go around the circle to say a few words of thanksgiving. I won't reiterate what was said but being a part of that group just made me so proud to be a part of Native Voices' family. You'll hear a lot of people talk about how being a part of NV is like being a part of a larger entity; like being a part of something that's bigger than themselves; and, for the most part, it's true. Randy and Jeannie really embrace all the artists who have become a part of Native Voices; artists who are fair-weather friends are treated with the same love and respect that our seasoned veterans are lucky to receive and that is a true gift. During the blessing, many mentioned that generosity and kindness filters down and we have Randy and Jeannie to thank for that.

After the blessing, we all disbursed in order to give our full attention to the show's opening. Joy and Larry headed to the Green Room for their pre-show agendas while our stage manager, Dale, along with his crew, made his final adjustments. At a quarter-till, I peeked my head out into the lobby only to be delighfully surprised by the amount of people that were gathered there. We had a very good house for our opening; a lot of friendly faces and a few old friends. Everyone there in full support of Joy, Larry, and Native Voices.

Now, as ridiculous as this may sound, I have never seen a reading or a presentation or anything of the sort of this play. Although it was one of our retreat plays in 2008, I was never in the room during its workshops (because I was dramaturging another play that workshopped at the same time) nor was I able to attend its public reading at the Autry (because I had to stay in San Diego for the LMDA Conference). Since then, I've received (and read) the many drafts Joy's written; have heard all the fantastic reports from Randy and Jeannie who travelled to New Mexico and Hawaii to rehearse with Joy and Larry; and, of course, I've kept a diligent eye on Joan's rehearsal blogs for the show. Most of what I've heard about WINGS has been via email or through conversations in passing. So this night, March 12th, would be the very first time I would see WINGS in any way, shape, or form. It was the first time I would see this play without my computer screen. Needless to say, I was very excited and couldn't wait for the show to begin.

For those who haven't seen the show yet (don't worry- I won't give anything away), it's a one-woman show with music. It is a story that weaves together the stories of many women- Native and non-Native. It is a show that blends Joy's poetic world with her musical one. It's a play that features two award-winning artists performing in a genre that's new to them both. It's a journey through grief, desperation, hope, and liberation. It is a healing ceremony; though probably not in the way you think a healing ceremony would be like. It is modern storytelling at its best and it was an experience that I am very proud to have been a witness to and, in a very small way, to have been a part of.

Every now and then, a play will come along that lifts your spirit. It will transcend space and time, reach into your soul, and leave you enlightened. That is WINGS OF NIGHT SKY, WINGS OF MORNING LIGHT. This small unassuming script with the powerful music and lyrics took flight in L.A. Have you seen it yet? You may want to buy your tickets now before we sell out. When word gets out about this play, admission will be hard to come by.

Visit our website for ticket information or check out my post below for special offers. Also, if you click on our slideshow (upper right hand corner), you'll be able to view photos from the show. Captions are included for those who like to put things in perspective.

In the meantime, here's what other audience members had to say:
It lifted my spirits!
Loved the artistic quality!
I'll be coming back with friends!
Wow! Very Powerful!
Everything was fabulous! Sounded great! Looked wonderful!
Amazing!
Joy is very talented and the show was insightful! Truly Amazing!
Outstanding performance by Joy Harjo!
The poetry and scenery were fantastic!
It was a surprise! I went with her on her journey! Beautiful set, lights, music!
Spiritually renewing!
Great performance, gripping story!
Larry Mitchell on guitar was outstanding!
Beautifully written and performed!
A hidden gem!
So Cal residents need to know more clearly what's happening here!
Her voice and spirit soars!
Thank you for the gift!
Inspiring!
Encouraging!
Spiritual!
Sound & music was integrated flawlessly!
Script was creative and beautiful!
Integration of set and lights was seamless!
Alternative and experimental Native Theater!
A grammy award winning musician with an Indian story - what a combo!
Modern Native storytelling!
Moments of true genius!
Thank you!
Truthful!
Great blend of storytelling and music!
Harjo's voice is beautiful!

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