Courtesy Photo
Courtesy Photo

This year as we head into the celebration of New Native Theatre’s tenth anniversary season, we are opening it with a new play I’m producing by playwright Blossom Johnson. Her play, “Shimasani,” centers the voice of a Navajo woman coming of age. We follow her journey from adolescence to adulthood, with the strong influence of her grandmother. Both characters are not the usual sort of character that mainstream is accustomed to when they see Native women on stage and screen. They’re both nuanced in their Navajo cultural world view that has always celebrated the power of women, and are deeply contemporary. 

We will close our season with something that New Native Theatre does not usually do. We’ll be producing a play by me. “Nancy” is the sister play to “Queen Cleopatra and Princess Pocahontas,” my American Revolutions co-commissioned by The Public Theater and Oregon Shakespeare Festival. The play looks at the life of Nancy Reagan, a descendant of Pocahontas, through the eyes of a Navajo woman in 1986 who is a part of Ronald Reagan’s American Indian economic policy. She elbows her way through white and Native boys’ clubs, as well as white-passing Native women.