Celebrating ten years with a beloved friend

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Native Voices at the Autry is proud to kick off its Tenth Anniversary Season with the return of Marie Clements' Tombs of the Vanishing Indian. Marie's one-woman play, Urban Tattoo, was Native Voices' first production at the Autry (1999) and Tombs was the company's first commissioned play (2003). The play has received three workshops and staged readings with Native Voices (2004, 2005) as well as a recent workshop and reading this past February with Native Earth Performing Arts.

Tombs of the Vanishing Indian was inspired by Marie's visit to the Southwest Museum of the American Indian, an entity of the Autry National Center. That visit, coupled with stories of those who were sent to Los Angeles in the 1950s and the ways Indians are made to vanish in society gave rise to this powerfully compelling play. Tombs weaves together the stories of three sisters who, along with their mother, were made to relocate to LA from Oklahoma only to find themselves lost down three very different tunnels. We follow each of the women as they struggle with the choices they have to make and the choices that have been forced upon them.

September's presentation of Tombs is part of Native Voices' First Look Series which brings playwrights together with professional directors, dramaturgs, and actors for an eight-hour workshop and public presentation at the Autry. A chat with Marie, director Luis Alfaro, and the actors will follow the reading so you'll have a chance to offer your thoughts about the play. Details are below, admission is free, and we can't wait to see you there!

Tombs of the Vanishing Indian
Written by Marie Clements (Metis)

Direction and Dramaturgy by Luis Alfaro

Wednesday, September 2nd @ 7:30p
Wells Fargo Theatre, Autry National Center
Across from the LA Zoo in Griffith Park

About the Playwright

Marie Clements (Metis) is an award-winning performer, playwright, director, producer, screenwriter, and a partner with Evan Adams on their newly formed film company Frog Girl Films. As a writer, she has worked in a variety of mediums including theatre, film, new media, radio, and television garnering numerous awards including the 2004 Canada-Japan Literary Award for Burning Vision which was also shortlisted for the 2004 Governor General’s Literary Award; a shortlisted nomination for the 2008 Governor General’s Literary Award (Copper Thunderbird); and a Leo Award Nomination for her film Unnatural and Accidental Women. She is currently working on The Edward Curtis Project, a commission from the Presentation House in North Vancouver to premiere January 2010 as a part of the Cultural Olympiad. She is founding artistic director of urban ink productions and has produced and toured twelve original productions to national and international showcases, directed ten original productions, written twelve original plays and acted in over 50 theatre productions.

About the Director and Dramaturg
Luis Alfaro is a Chicano writer and performer known for his work in poetry, theatre, short stories, performance, and journalism. He is also a producer and director who spent ten years at the Mark Taper Forum as Associate Producer, Director of New Play Development and co-director of the Latino Theatre Initiative. His plays include: Electricidad, Downtown, No Holds Barrio, Body of Faith, Straight As A Line, Bitter Homes and Gardens, Ladybird, Black Butterfly, and Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner. He is the recipient of a MacArthur Foundation fellowship, popularly known as a “genius grant,” awarded to people who have demonstrated expertise and exceptional creativity in their respective fields. A Rockefeller Fellow and University of California Regents Chair Fellow, he is the only artist to have won two awards in the same year from The Kennedy Center's Fund for New American Plays. He is also the recipient of awards from the NEA, TCG, and PEN USA, among others and currently teaches at the University of Southern California.

About the Cast

Playing Dr. Hansen

Kevin Ashworth is new to Los Angeles and pleased to be participating in this reading. Favorite credits include A Streetcar Named Desire and The Musical of Musicals: The Musical! (Foothills Theatre), Miracle on 34th Street (Stoneham Theatre), Hamlet (Shakespeare Now), 1776 (Lyric Stage), How I Learned to Drive (Devanaughn Theatre), Our Country’s Good (Theatre Cooperative), and Pygmalion (Longwood Players). He also appeared in Brotherhood on Showtime.

Playing Janey
Tonantzin Carmelo (Tongva, Kumeyaay) was previously seen in Native Voices at the Autry's world premiere productions of Teaching Disco Square Dancing to Our Elders, Please Do Not Touch the Indians, and Jump Kiss and has been a participant in their Playwrights Retreat and Festival of New Plays (2006, 2007, 2009) and First Look Series (2008). Film credits: Thunder Heart Woman in Into the West; and the lead in the feature films Imprint, Unearthed, Periphery, and Shadow Heart. She is the voice and image of Kendra Daniels in the EA Game Dead Space and the voice announcer for eight national Nintendo DS commercials. She was also a guest star on CSI: Miami and the new hit show Dark Blue on TNT. www.tcarmelo.com. SAG/ AEA/ AFTRA

Playing Jessie
Elena Finney (Mescalero-Apache/ Tarascan) has performed with several multi-ethnic theater companies and was awarded a 2006 "First Americans in the Arts" award for her outstanding performance as Teresa in the Native Voices production Kino and Teresa. She recently returned from the well-received London debut of Diane Glancy's Salvage. Well versed in comedy, she has performed at the Second City and The Upright Citizen's Brigade in Los Angeles. She can also be heard as the voices of several characters in comedian Mike Hollingsworth's animated short films. TV credits include: Love Inc., Charmed, Mind of Mencia, Medical Investigation, and Popular. Film credits include: PowWow Dreams and Cantina. She developed her craft while earning her degree at UCLA's School of Theater, Film and TV. Represented by Tom Parziale, Visionary Talent Management. SAG/ AFTRA/ AEA

Playing Miranda

Happy Frejo (Seminole, Pawnee) is a performer and independent filmmaker. She travels to reservations teaching dance and youth theatre workshops and is the female dance captain for Kevin Locke Dance Ensemble and an instructor for NVISION (a Native non-profit organization). She was featured in the documentary 4 Real which aired on MTV/Canada, National Geographic, and the CW in 2008. She resides in Los Angeles pursuing a career in acting while promoting the film she wrote and directed, My Darkest Hour, based on the effects of a broken home. Her upcoming projects are finishing her first CD, publishing a book of her original poetry, and shooting her second project - a documentary film on Native youth and solutions for a better life.

Playing The Mother, The Lone Woman, Ruth, and Sarah

Lidia Pires (Guarani) has worked in most areas of the entertainment business but her first love will always be acting. She has hosted shows and appeared in numerous commercials as well as in film and TV. Look for her in the soon to be released feature, Lean Like a Cholo as well as Flights of Fancy, based on a true story, written by Diana Lesmez; Walking on Turtle Island, a series on Iktomi (the trickster) in the Lakota world, directed by Ian Skorodin and starring Robert Greygrass; and Rollout!: A Handball Story. She is delighted to return to Native Voices where she reunites with friends and feels very much at home.

Playing Bob Stills

Larry Reinhardt-Meyer Theatre credits: Gruppenfuhrer Reinhard Heydrich, All Steps Necessary (Inkwell Theatre); Edmund in Chuck Mee's Summertime (The Theatre at Boston Court); Peter/ Phil, Patience (Spotlight Theatre Company); Lee, True West (Civic Arts Rep) for which he received a Shellie Award nomination for Best Actor. Other favorites: Andrew Rodman in Lillian Hellman's Days to Come; John Landis, Fifth of July; Roscoe Dexter, Singin' in the Rain; Col. Pickering, My Fair Lady; Tristram, Taking Steps. Film: Thomas Edison in Nick and Michael Regalbuto's La Premiere; Officer MacReady in Will Eisner's: The Spirit, directed by Frank Miller; leads in The Catharsis of Foster Penski, Punching Hitler (Winner of the 'Reel' Choice- People's Choice Award at the Valley International Film Festival as "Best in Festival" and featured in 'The Short's Corner' at The Cannes Film Festival, 2004.); Genuine Magic; narration for A Walk of Wisdom: The Mae Chee Sansanee Story. TV: All My Children, Swift Justice, Feds, and numerous commercials. He is thrilled to be making his debut with Native Voices!

Playing the Narrative Voice
Adeye Sahran (Wampanaag) Regional Tours: The Berlin Blues (Native Voives at the Autry). Regional: Stage Door, The Rover, Medea (Antaeus Theater Company); Coriolanus, Richard III Redux, A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Veterans Center for the Performing Arts); Pera Palas (The Boston Court); A Dangerous Descent, Macbeth (Will & Company); Peer Gynt (Sacred Fools Theater Company); A Midsummer Night's Dream, Lysistrata (Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum); And Then There Was Nun (Long Beach Playhouse). Television: Days of our Lives, Depth Charge. Thanks to Mom, Dad, and Annie for their continued support. AEA

Playing Detective Fullen

Stephan Wolfert left a career in the military for a life in the theatre after seeing Richard III. Since leaving the Army as an Infantry officer, he has received his MFA degree in Theatre from Trinity Rep Conservatory; created and directed the military segments for Twyla Tharp/Billy Joel’s Tony-award winning Broadway musical Movin’ Out; created the largest touring Shakespeare Company in New England; and taught acting and Shakespeare at Cornell University. He currently teaches and directs at the Antelope Valley College, performs with three theatre companies in Los Angeles, and is the founding director of the Veterans Center for the Performing Arts. He was first seen in Native Voices at the Autry's Please Do Not Touch the Indians and is elated to be back. SAG/ AEA
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Reminder: Submissions due September 15th

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Just a friendly reminder that submissions to Native Voices 2010 Playwrights Retreat and Festival of New Plays are due on September 15, 2009. If you have any new stories to share or any former ones you're still tinkering with - we'd love to hear them.

Submissions can be e-mailed directly to carlenne@gmail.com or snail mailed to:

Native Voices at the Autry
4700 Western Heritage Way
Los Angeles, CA 90027

Please note that all submissions need to be accompanied by the following:
- tribal affiliation
- contact info (mailing address, phone number, email address)
- biography
- CV/ resume
- production history

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to get in touch with me directly.

Happy writing!

carlenne lacosta
literary manager, native voices at the autry

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Auditions/ Open Call for CARBON BLACK

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...this also serves as an open call for future productions...

As an Equity HAT-A Theater, Native Voices is offering an Open Call for actors wishing to try out for the main roles in Comanche playwright Terry Gomez's incredible new play, Carbon Black. If we've worked together in the past but we haven't seen you in a while, please plan on joining us, as we'd like to see how you've continued to grow professionally.

Please note that we are reading both Native and non-Native actors as part of this audition. Read on for a character breakdown of the main characters in the play. Actors of Native heritage are encouraged to try out for as many of the roles (Native and non-Native characters) as they feel right for.

* Please note that we will also be looking for talent for our First Look staged reading series, including Tombs of the Vanishing Indian, by Marie Clements (Metis) on Wednesday, September 2nd at 7:30pm, and other future productions!

Saturday, August 22nd - Sunday, August 23rd
10a - 12p and 1p - 5p

Autry National Center Education Wing (directly beneath the tower)
4700 Western Heritage Way Los Angeles, CA 90027
In Griffith Park, across from the LA Zoo

Please contact Rich Deely, Production Manager
Email nativevoices@autrynationalcenter.org
Call 323.667.2000, x299


INKY, male, Native or non-Native, early teens. A smart, lonely young teenager who spends much of his time out of school tending to his agoraphobic mother. He is quick, funny, and very sarcastic. He tends to be unkempt and messy. He is also unable to sleep, and afraid that he has witnessed a terrible crime from the fire escape of his apartment building, something that his mother denies.

SYLVIE, female, Native or non-Native, mid-to-late 40s. A middle-aged woman and Inky's mother. An agoraphobic, she has not left her apartment in over four years, and is constantly made more afraid by the deluge of sensationalized crime and violence reported on the local television news. She has frequent mood swings, rarely changes out of her moo-moos, and is unwilling to accept Inky's stories about the crime he may have witnessed. She lives in constant fear of something happening to her or to Inky.

LISA, female, Native, late 20s or early 30s. She is kind, compassionate, and perhaps a bit naïve about the students in her care at the local middle school, where she works as a guidance counselor. She tries to be professional in her appearance, and is careful in reaching out to Inky and Sylvie, who initially rebuff her. She is a parent of a mentally disabled young girl.

TUCKER, male, Native or non-Native, late 40s. He is a disciplinarian, and is often in physical pain, which makes him dark, sardonic, and bitter. He is the Vice-Principal of the school that Inky attends. He has a back injury that causes him to lean over. He is angry at Inky's trunancy, and determined to punish him. He views Lisa's methods as 'soft' and is openly dismissive of her.

- Please prepare a 2-min contemporary monologue
- Bring a headshot and resume

Rehearsal will begin in San Diego on October 15, 2009. Previews will be held at the Autry National Center in LA on November 4th, 5th, and 7th. Show opens on November 7th and runs until November 22, 2009.

$325/ wk
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A writing invitation...

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From Jackie Goldfinger who served as one of our dramaturg's during the 2008 Playwrights Retreat:


I am thrilled to be teaching a one-day playwriting workshop at UCSD on Saturday, August 29 from 10a.m. - 4p.m. If you know anyone who's interested in playwriting, or a playwright looking to sharpen their skills, please have them visit our website.

Although this workshop has a similar title to last year's class, it is different; this workshop will focus on writing exercises and practical writing tips. Playwrights will leave the workshop with a Tool Kit to write a new play or rewrite an existing piece.

Talk soon,

If you're in the area and you can make this class, GO! It's highly recommended and Jackie's a great playwright/ dramaturg/ general all-around person to be around! Happy writing!
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Now that's very interesting...

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From Gary Garrison at The Loop:

I have a theory – not the least bit scientific – that if you calculate how long you’ve seriously been pursuing your craft in years, you can discover your artistic age and with that, your temperament for growth as an artist. So, let’s say, you’ve been writing for five years. It’s been my experience (especially with my playwriting students), that they have all the markings of a five-year old: struggling to understand that unwieldy body they’re in, wildly imaginative, precocious, energetic, daring, fierce, unafraid, questioning and at times, boldly defiant. Enter into your preening teens and you’re rebellious, tempestuous, a little arrogant, desperately searching for an identity (and a home away from home) and equal parts pessimistic and optimistic. If your artistic age is in the twenties, like I am, you’ve settled a bit into who you are – good or bad, right or wrong. You know what you like and what you don’t like; opinions are the order of the day. You definitely know what you’re willing to tolerate or not. You have a sense of the order of the world beyond you, and, that order makes sense to you.

So how old are you? And what does that say to you about your writing? Your career? Your artistic temperament? Want to grow up? Or do you want to grow out? It's never too late to have a happy childhood.
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Regarding plans to expand the Autry National Center

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From an e-mail message written by Native Voices Managing Diretor, David Burton.

I want to share with you the ... letter [below] from our CEO John Gray reflecting an important decision made yesterday by our Board of Trustees. The Trustees decided to end plans to expand our facilities in Griffith Park. As you will see from the letter, we are excited to refocus our energies on creating and delivering quality programming to our constituent communities. This includes Native Voices at the Autry. (And now that we are no longer expanding, I do not anticipate any interruptions performing in the Wells Fargo Theater.) We will undertake new plans to redesign our current exhibit galleries within the existing structure, as well as continue the work of saving the collections of the Southwest Museum of the American Indian and its historic building.

You can find additional information about this decision by visiting the Autry National Center web site at www.autrynationalcenter.org. Click on "Letter to Board of Referred Powers" and/or "Resolution."

Thank you for your ongoing support of Native Voices at the Autry, as well as the larger Autry mission. Please feel free to forward this to friends and colleagues if you feel it appropriate. And please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or concerns.

Best always, David

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Summer waves

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This summer, instead of experiencing heat waves, Native Voices has taken to the airwaves. As you may recall, Randy, Jean, and Miss Arigon Starr spent July in Lincoln, Nebraska adapting and recording the radio version of The Red Road with legendary director, Dirk Maggs.

For August, Randy and Jean have traveled all the way to Anchorage, Alaska to record Raven's Radio Hour with playwrights Ed Bourgeois and Jack Dalton (check out their profiles below). The show is being produced by Brian Price of Great Northern Audio Theatre and directed by our very own Randy Reinholz.

Both of these recordings will be aired in November 2009 over Native Voice One. For info on how to get Native Radio Theatre on the air in your community please contact NAPT's Georgiana Lee at 402-472-0497 or glee3@unl.edu.

About the playwrights

Ed Bourgeois, Director of Public Programs at the Alaska Native Heritage Center, earned a Theater degree from the Catholic University of America and began his career as an actor. He has performed professionally at Ford’s Theatre, Olney Theatre and Alaska Repertory Theatre, as well as in film, television and radio. At Anchorage Opera (1996-2007) he developed the Studio Theatre young artist program, stage directed multiple mainstage and education program productions, and served as the company’s General Director from 2003 to 2007. He has directed productions for Cedar Rapids Opera, Alaska Center for the Performing Arts, and the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI). At the Alaska Native Heritage Center he has co-written and directed productions of Panik’s Revenge, Growing Up Native in Alaska and Raven’s Radio Hour, and most recently collaborated with Tsimshian master artist David Boxley to create a play from his story, The Three Enemies.

Growing up between two worlds, Jack Dalton is ambassador of both his Yup'ik Inuit and European heritages. Raised in Alaska, he has traveled the world sharing his Yup'ik culture through the art of storytelling. He is also a writer, teacher, playwright, and mentor. Recently, his play, Time Immemorial, (co-written with and co-starring Allison Warden) received audience and critical acclaim in Alaska. His recent travels found him performing in France, Denmark, Scotland, Australia and New Zealand. He currently resides in Anchorage, Alaska. www.ravenfeathers.com.
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Are there any writers in the house?

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If so, then I highly suggest you get in THE LOOP.

The Loop is an online community of playwrights, et al. that posts helpful tips, theatre-related news, submission opportunities, and much, mch more onto their website. I've been a member of this community for a few years now and I've learned a great deal about new play development and literary management from their various offerings. Also, a majority of the submission opportunities I've forwarded to our playwrights have come directly from The Loop.

Just launched is a social networking site that links Loopers to each other much like Facebook does. Here you'll find some incredible opportunities to connect with other writers and subscribe to the musings of Loop's creator, Gary Garrison (who's also the Executive Director for Creative Affairs of the Dramatists Guild of America and the Artistic Director and Division Head of Playwriting for the Goldberg Department of Dramatic Writing at the Tisch School of the Arts).

Gary's recent postings have been so enlightening that I asked him if I could re-post them and he kindly obliged (what a great guy!). Below are two I'd like to share with you today:

Ever seen this?


That translates, dramatically, into this: if a character desperately/ intensely/ relentlessly NEEDS something (love, power, companionship, revenge) they will behave in such a way that will undoubtedly put them into conflict.

Put two people in the same room that have the same need (to be the center of attention) and you have automatic conflict.

Put two people in the same room that have completely opposing needs (the need to be alone; the need for companionship), and you have automatic conflict.

Now, then, that wasn't so hard, was it?

Simple exercise for a complicated dramaturgical problem:
  • Take a page of dialogue from one of your plays that has three characters or more speaking to one another.
  • Using liquid white-out, blank out all the names.
  • Make a Xerox copy of that page.
  • Hand it to a fellow playwright, director or actor – someone who reads a lot of plays.
  • Ask: how many people are speaking on this page?
If they can’t tell you the number of people speaking, there’s a problem, no? The complexities of language, and our choice of wording, phrasing, syntax, etc., is informed by our education, religion, age, culture, politics, familial hierarchy, gender, sexuality, ancestry, etc.

In short, our personal use of language is as unique to each of us as our fingerprints. No two people speak the same. Why should they appear the same, then, on paper?

The answer to that is simple: they shouldn't.

Simple and to the point. Messages that remind you of the basics of playwriting when things begin to feel too complicated.

And there's more where that came from! Join THE LOOP - you won't regret it.

Visit The Loop Online
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