The 2015 New York City premiere of the Off-Off-Broadway play Cedars ran from January 22 – February 1 at the world-renowned La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club, Lower East Side. The play is a multi-disciplinary collage of poetry/prose text, masks, drumming, and music performed by five Native American actors. It draws adroitly on the talents of those actors – Wolfen de Kastro (Aztec/Huastec/Maya), Joan Henry (Cherokee/Nde’/Arawak), John Scott Richardson (Haliwa-Saponi/Tuscarora), Alana LaMalice (Dene/Cree) and Matt Langer (Dakota).
Cedars is a passionate and raw play based on contemporary Native American poetry that weaves together dance, drums, prose and text. Performed by Native American actors and adapted & directed by June Prager, Cedars gives a 21st century face to the struggles of indigenous people, depicting their adaptation into modern-day society and celebrating Native American culture, enduring spirit and ultimate resilience.
Participating writers included: Arthur Tulee (Yakama), Tiffany Midge (Hunkpapa Sioux), Gail Tremblay(Onondaga/Mik’maq), Deborah A. Miranda (Ohlone-Costanoan Esselen), Alex Jacobs (Akwesasne Mohawk), William Michael Paul (Hunkpapa Sioux), Joseph Bruchac (Abenaki), Martha Brice (Tlingit), Molly McGlennen(Anishinaabeg), and Evan Pritchard (Mik’maq). The director collaborated with composer Charles Upham(Blackfeet) and mask designer Roger Fernandes (Lower Elwha s’Klallam).
Originally premiering in Seattle in 2002, the play was re-imagined for its NYC premiere with new text, movement & stage-design, and with traditional songs provided by Joan Henry & John Scott Richardson. Following a residency at Vassar College, staged readings were presented in NYC at the Living Theatre and La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club. Cedars was co-produced with La MaMa Theatre by the Mirage Theater Company and Amerinda