Of Whales and War: Spotlight on playwright Jaisey Bates

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Jaisey Bates  and her inspirations for The Day We Were Born

It is safe to say that whatever Jaisey Bates (Longhouse Huron, Algonquin) does, she goes above and beyond.  Not only is she an actress (she's performing in the reading of her play as well!) and playwright whose work has been performed all over LA and NYC, but is also the founder of The Peoplehood, a multicultural nomadic theater company “committed to working as an ensemble in the performance of original work celebrating diversity”.  It is any wonder she had time to write and submit her full-length play The Day We Were Born to us, complete with background material and on gorgeous letterhead. 

But these weren’t the chief reasons we chose this play to be presented during the First Look Series this SeptemberThe Day We Were Born is an incredibly poetic play, wrought with compelling characters and emotions as we follow Benny and Qi, two Iñupiat boys who are activated as part of the 3-297th for service in Iraq, the first call-ups of the Alaskan National Guard since WWII.  Even the play’s settings are intriguing, taking us from Barrow, Alaska, to the sweltering heat of Iraq, and through time and memory, seamlessly blending history and her imagination, where real life events seem mythical and the mythical seem real. Because there were so many layers to this story I asked her to explain a little bit about some of her inspirations.  I got a flurry of fascinating information and research and it would take multiple blog posts to share all of it with you, so here’s just a small peek into Jaisey’s methodology.

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