Hunger for Culture
Navigating Indigenous Theater
The 2016 world premiere of Larissa FastHorse’s play Urban Rez, which Cornerstone Theater Company produced, presented a community-based theater experience in Los Angeles County (Tongva and Tataviam homelands). In this essay, our three co-authors utilize the concept of being a guest on Tongva land as a methodology to demonstrate Two-Spirit, Queer, and Trans representation within Indigenous theater. Through the work of the playwright, cast, and crew, the Urban Rez narrative asserted self-representation in opposition to settler imaginaries through community-based participatory storytelling. Urban Rez represented a pivot in the current American Theater landscape and a continuation of Indigenous theater legacies. Our essay offers a cross-collaboration between three performers from Urban Rez that represent a wide breadth of academic experiences, performance backgrounds, and community organizing to discuss queer, Two-Spirt, and trans experiences. The co-authors discuss the legacy of counter-narratives in Native theater, demonstrate sovereignty in the play, and utilize queer theory to understand an Indigenous queer experience on stage better. We provide a reflexive co-authorship to assert relationality in the face of heteropatriarchy and contend with our hunger for culture. The co-authors recognize the Urban Rez experience as one of the first major Indigenous theater productions in Los Angeles that included queer, Two-Spirit, and transgender characters that rejected justifying representation from a deficit narrative.
Copyright (c) 2021 Clementine Bordeaux
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