Auditions set for ‘Sovereignty’ play in Tulsa

07/31/2018 04:00 PM
Main Cherokee Phoenix
The play “Sovereignty” by Cherokee Nation citizen and Oklahoma native Mary Kathryn Nagle splits its time in two parallel, deeply connected timelines: the early 1830s in the Cherokee Nation and in present-day Oklahoma.
TULSA – The Heller Theatre Company has announced an audition date for the play “Sovereignty” by Cherokee Nation citizen and Oklahoma native Mary Kathryn Nagle.

Auditions begin at 1 p.m. on Aug. 25 at the Fly Loft at 117 N. Boston Ave. Auditions will consist of cold readings from the script. Callbacks will be announced later. Performances will be at 7:30 p.m., Oct. 26-27, Nov 2-3; and 2 p.m., on Oct. 28 and Nov. 4 at the Tulsa Performing Arts Center inside the Liddy Doenges Theater.

Carolyn Dunn will direct “Sovereignty.”

Roles to be auditioned for include: John Ridge - male, 20s-40s, Native;?Sarah Polson - female, 20-40s, Native;?Major Ridge - male, 40s-60s, Native (also to play Roger Ridge Polson);?Elias Boudinot - male, 20s-40s, Native (also Watie, Sarah’s brother);?John Ross - male, 20s-40s, Native (also Jim Ross);?Andrew Jackson - male, 20s-40s, non-Native (also Ben, Sarah’s fiancé);?Samuel Worcester - male, 30s-50s, white (also Mitch, Sarah’s childhood friend); Sally (Sarah Bird Northrup) - female, 20s-30s, Native (also Flora Ridge, Sarah’s cousin); and White Chorus Man - male, 40s-70s, white.
All Native roles will be cast with Native actors. This show contains mature themes and language.

“Sovereignty” splits its time in two parallel, deeply connected timelines: the early 1830s in the CN and in present-day Oklahoma.

In the first timeline, tensions rise as Andrew Jackson’s White House threatens to remove the Cherokee from their land. In the second, Sarah Polson must confront her ubiquitous past in her work as a young Cherokee lawyer fighting for the restoration and preservation of her CN’s inherent jurisdiction. All actors except John Ridge and Sarah Polson play different roles in both the past and present.

Nagle is a partner at Pipestem Law, a firm specializing in tribal sovereignty of Native Nations and peoples. She is a frequent speaker at law schools and symposia on issues related to restoration of tribal sovereignty, tribal self-determination, Indian civil and constitutional rights and safety of Native women. She also represents the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center in support of the NIWRC’s work to end violence against Native Women.
Nagle is an accomplished playwright who has written and produced several plays relating to Indians and the law, including “Waaxe’s Law,” “Manahatta,” “My Father’s Bones” (with Suzan Shown Harjo), “Miss Lead,” “Fairly Traceable” and “Sliver of a Full Moon.”

Her plays have been produced at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, Ore., and the Arena Stage in Washington, D.C., among others. She is the executive director of the Yale Indigenous Performing Arts Program at Yale University.

Dunn is an Indigenous artist whose identity includes Cherokee, Muskogee Creek, Seminole and Choctaw Freedman descent on her father’s side, and Tunica-Choctaw-Biloxi and French Creole on her mother’s side. The Wordcraft Circle of Storytellers and Writers have recognized her work as “Book of the Year” for poetry (Outfoxing Coyote, 2002) as well as the Year’s Best in 1999 for her short story “Salmon Creek Road Kill.” She has also received an award from the Native American Music Awards and the Humboldt Area Foundation.

Her plays “Soledad,” “The Frybread Queen” and “Ghost Dance” have been developed and staged at “Native Voices” at the Autry in Los Angeles. Most recently, she directed “Round Dance” by Tulsa Artists Fellow Arigon Starr for the “Native American New Play Festival” in Oklahoma City.


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