March 31, 2016
LOS ANGELES — Cornerstone Theater Company is pleased to present Urban Rez, a collaboration with the Native American Community in Los Angeles. Urban Rez reflects a contemporary story of urban Indians in Los Angeles through performance that examines the hunger that persists when culture, language, land and identity are denied. The play is the seventh installment in The Hunger Cycle, a nine-play series exploring hunger, justice and food equity issues and involving hundreds of residents from across the city and state. Urban Rez will premiere outdoors under the Viaduct at the Los Angeles State Historic Park, April 7 – 17 and then outdoors at Kuruvungna Springs at University High School, April 21 – May 1.
Tickets (pay what you can $5-$30) are available now via http://cornerstonetheater.org/urbanrez.
Written by Larissa FastHorse and directed by Michael John Garcés, Urban Rez serves up a feast of culture with a side of satire. Urban Rez becomes a hotbed of chaos when guests are presented with an opportunity that could change everything — federal recognition. This potentially lucrative offer threatens to upend familial bonds and relationships as community members are confronted with the insidious and absurd task of figuring out who’s out and who’s in. How far is the tribe’s self-appointed leader willing to go to beat the system, stay out of jail, and protect what is sacred? Urban Rez provides a thought provoking and immersive theater experience that is sure to feed your curiosity.
Playwright Larissa FastHorse writes, “The idea of creating this cultural fair — that is also a play and has a real and fictional aspects all blended together — made the most sense to me. This immersive piece gives us a way to humanize native people and native stories in a way that is often hard to do when based in history as opposed to present day. In this piece you have to stand face to face and look at each other and interact with each other, interact with these actors and with real native people.”
Cornerstone has partnered with members of local tribes as well as other American Indian communities throughout Los Angeles to present the play at outdoor venues, connecting audiences with the lands of the Native people of the Los Angeles Basin. Community Partners for Urban Rez include: UCLA American Indian Studies Department, Red Circle project, Rancho Los Alamitos, California State Parks, and Gabrielino / Tongva Springs Foundation at University High School. The cast ofUrban Rez features community actors representing 15 tribal nations, many of whom are first time performers, alongside professionals.
Urban Rez is a site-specific, outdoor, theatrical experience. While some chairs are provided the audience might be standing and walking around and exploring the full environment. Interaction with performers and other audience members is encouraged however optional. The play runs approximately 60 minutes and will run twice over the course of the performance. Cornerstone invites audiences to explore the full fair and marketplace vendors by arriving early. Urban Rez is an unconventional performance experience where one is surrounded by multiple stories and opportunities to engage. Audiences may want to come back again and again to see it all!
LARISSA FASTHORSE (Playwright) is a playwright, director, choreographer and performer based in Santa Monica. Larissa’s produced plays include Landless, Average Family, Teaching Disco Squaredancing to Our Elders: a Class Presentation, and Cherokee Family Reunion. She has written commissions for Cornerstone Theater Company, Children’s Theatre Company of Minneapolis, AlterTheater, Kennedy Center TYA, Native Voices at the Autry and Mountainside Theatre. She developed plays with Arizona Theater Company, the Center Theatre Group Writer’s Workshop and Berkeley Rep’s Ground Floor. She is a current member of the Playwright’s Union, Director’s Lab West 2015, Theatre Communications Group Board of Directors and is an enrolled member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, Lakota Nation.www.hoganhorsestudio.com
MICHAEL JOHN GARCÉS (Director, Artistic Director, Cornerstone Theater Company) has directed many plays for Cornerstone, including California: The Tempest by Alison Carey, Plumas Negras by Juliette Carrillo, Café Vida by Lisa Loomer, Making Paradise by Tom Jacobson, Shishir Kurup and Deborah Wicks La Puma, 3 Truths by Naomi Iizuka,Someday by Julie Marie Myatt, attraction by Page Leong, and The Falls by Jeffrey Hatcher (at the Guthrie Theater). For Cornerstone he has also written Consequence, out of story circles with students, teachers, administrators and parents in South Kern County, and Los Illegals, created in residence with communities of day laborers and domestic workers. His work has been produced in theaters across the country such as South Coast Repertory, The Wilma Theatre, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and the Brooklyn Academy of Music. He is a company member at Woolly Mammoth and a proud alumnus of New Dramatists.
The cast of Urban Rez will feature (in alphabetical order): Danielle Aguilar, Frank Ayala, Clementine Bordeaux, Marcenus “M.C.” Earl, Sheri Foster, Peter Howard, Kinsale Hueston, Terri Jay, Jenny Marlowe, Leland Morrill, Maxine Napoleon, Cecelia Phoenix, Kenneth Ramos, Willie Sandoval, and Arianna Taylor.
Urban Rez features an award-winning design team including: Scenic Design is by Shannon Scrofano; Costume Design by Meghan E. Healey; Sound Design by John Nobori; Lighting Design by Geoff Korf; and Additional Booth Design by Lynn Jeffries.
TICKET & VENUE INFORMATION
Pay what you can tickets ($5-$35) are available at www.CornerstoneTheater.org.
The Viaduct is located at the north end of the Los Angeles State Historic Park (1799 Baker Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012).
Kuruvungna Springs is located on the campus of University High School (1439 S. Barrington Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90025).
This BBSNews article originally appeared on Native News Online.