Spotlight on TOMBS OF THE VANISHING INDIAN

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Written by Marie Clements (Metis)
Directed by Seema Sueko
Dramaturgy by Brian Quirt

@ La Jolla Playhouse on Saturday, June 5 from 4p - 6p
@ Autry National Center on Saturday, June 26 from 1p - 3p

This contemporary tragedy converges the dreams, blood, and tears of three separated Indian sisters against the backdrop of the political, cultural, and social currents of 1970s Los Angeles. Staged reading.

About the Playwright

Marie Clements (Metis) is an award-winning performer, playwright, director, screenwriter, producer, and co-director of Frog Girl Films and the newly formed Red Diva Projects. Her twelve plays, including Copper Thunderbird, Burning Vision, and The Unnatural and Accidental Women, have been presented on some of the most prestigious stages for Canadian and international work garnering numerous awards and publications including the 2004 Canada- Japan Literary Award and two short listed nominations for the Governor General’s Literary Award. As a director she is currently working on her feature film for Tombs and just premiered her performance work- The Road Forward commissioned by the Vancouver 2010 Cultural Olympiad.

About the Director

Seema Sueko is the Co-Founder and Artistic Director of Mo`olelo Performing Arts Company. Directing credits: Since Africa (The Old Globe and Mo`olelo, Patté Award Outstanding Ensemble); Good Boys, Permanent Collection and The Adoption Project: Triad (Mo`olelo). Acting credits: The Intelligent Design of Jenny Chow (Yale Rep and The Old Globe Patté Award and Craig Noel Award for acting); Rashomon (North Coast Rep); A Christmas Carol (San Diego Rep); and A Chorus Line (Seattle's 5th Avenue Theatre), among others. She is a three-time recipient of Chicago's Jeff Award. Playwriting credits: remains (McDonald Playwriting Award); commission from Mixed Blood Theatre to co-write Messy Utopia (Ivey Award) and Hijab Tube. Seema developed Mo`olelo's greening initiative and led the Company through its selection as the Inaugural Resident Theatre Company at La Jolla Playhouse. She holds an MA in International Relations from the University of Chicago and is a member of Actors' Equity Association.

About the Dramaturg

Brian Quirt is artistic director of Nightswimming (Toronto) and dramaturg for its City of Wine project, Ned Dickens’ seven-play cycle. His plays include Blue Note (with Martin Julien), The Death of General Wolfe and adaptations of Jane Urquhart’s The Whirlpool, Michael Redhill’s Lake Nora Arms (with Jane Miller) and the Iranian play Aurash (with Soheil Parsa). He directed the premiere of the Nightswimming commission, Such Creatures by Judith Thompson, at Toronto's Theatre Passe Muraille in January and dramaturged recent works by Anosh Irani, Anita Majumdar, Kendra Fanconi, Andy Massingham, Don Druick and Richard Sanger. His freelance dramaturgy credits include Marie Clements' Tombs of the Vanishing Indian (Native Earth Performing Arts). He is the past-president of the Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas, and a two-time recipient of LMDA's Elliott Hayes Award for Dramaturgy.

Playing Jessie

Michelle St. John (Wampanoag) is a Dora nominated, two-time Gemini Award winning actor with more than 30 years of experience in film, television, theatre, voice, and music. Film credits: Where the Spirit Lives, Smoke Signals, Northern Exposure, Every Emotion Costs, and The Business of Fancydancing. Theatre credits: Trickster of 3rd Avenue East, Sucker Falls, Death of a Chief, Annie Mae’s Movement, and Marie Clements' plays – Unnatural and Accidental Women and Copper Thunderbird. Michelle is a Co-Founder of Turtle Gals Performance Ensemble, a Native women’s theatre company based in Toronto. She's currently a producing partner with Evan Adams and Marie Clements in Frog Girl Films and Artistic Producer of red diva projects, an innovative, inter-disciplinary, Indigenous performance company based in Toronto that recently produced the closing show in the Aboriginal Pavilion as part of the Vancouver 2010 Cultural Olympiad.

Playing Miranda

Tamara Podemski (Anishnabe) is a multi-disciplinary artist from Toronto, Canada. She's a graduate of the Claude Watson School for the Performing Arts, where she studied theatre, dance and music throughout its 10-year program. For the past 18 years, Tamara’s career has spanned across theatre, television and film, most notably in the Broadway production of Rent and in Sterlin Harjo’s Four Sheets to the Wind, which garnered her a Special Jury Prize for Acting at the Sundance Film Festival, as well as an Independent Spirit Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress. Most recently, Tamara starred in the World Premiere of Marie Clements’ The Edward Curtis Project, as part of the Cultural Olympiad in Vancouver. She is so happy to be making her debut with Native Voices at the Autry. Chi Meegwetch!

Playing Janey

Tonantzin Carmelo (Tongva, Kumeyaay) was previously seen in Native Voices at the Autry's world premiere production of Carbon Black, as well as Teaching Disco Square Dancing to Our Elders, Please Do Not Touch the Indians, and Jump Kiss. This year she played Victoria in the Denver Center's production of Eventide. Film credits: Thunder Heart Woman in Into the West; and the lead in the feature films Imprint, Unearthed, Shadow Heart and the recently shot Shouting Secret's. She is the voice and image of Kendra Daniels in the EA Game Dead Space and has guest starred on CSI: Miami, Dark Blue, and American Dad. SAG/ AFTRA/ AEA

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

Carla-Rae (Seneca, Mohawk, French Canadian) has an acting career that spans 20+ years. She's acted in regional plays, local and regional commercials, industrial training videos, and print modeling. Over the last six years she has built a film and theatre resume that includes the Indie film Imprint (Best Supporting Actress), a supporting role in the pilot episode of FOX series New Amsterdam, HBO’s Taking Chance, PBS Docudrama We Shall Remain and, most recently, a guest star role in new ABC series Scoundrels airing in next month. Carla-Rae has continued to garner roles on stage and off-Broadway with leading roles in The House of Bernarda Alba directed by Lenny Delgado of Liguorian Players and Edith Stein by Arthur Giron. She also has a music CD called Glimpses.

Playing Dr. Hansen

Nick Mills is honored to be part of this year's Playwright's Retreat. He is the Artistic Director of VITALITY Productions in Los Angeles and received his MFA from the NYU Graduate Acting Program. In 2009, his original two man show, Egg Farm, which he co-wrote and performed, premiered at the New York International Fringe Festival. Other favorite roles include Adam in Itamar Moses' Back Back Back at The Old Globe (original cast) and Winston in The Credeaux Canvas directed by Carrie Preston. TV/ Film: True Blood, Nothing is Cool, The Appointment, The Receptionist, Deported. He is a proud member of Actors' Equity.

Playing Detective Fullen

Sean Simbro is a graduate of the A.R.T. Institute at Harvard University where his credits include: Dionysus (The Bacchae), Raskolnikov (Crime and Punishment), and Fedotik (Three Sisters) which traveled to the Edinburgh International Festival. Recently, in LA, he has been on Greek (ABC Family), in several independent films, and created the internationally lauded hit internet mega-series Darren Disaronno’s Red Harbor. Sean holds a BA in Dramatic Arts from San Diego State University.

Playing Bob Stills

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 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

The team for Tombs also includes Virginia Carmelo (Gabrielino/ Tongva Consultant), Jennifer Bobiwash (Assistant Director), and Crystal Mercado (Stage Manager).

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