American Indian Performing Arts: Critical Directions

Nov 3rd, 2011 | By | Category: 23-2: Climate Commitment, Media Reviews

AMERICAN INDIAN PERFORMING ARTSEdited by Hanay Geiogamah and Jaye T. Darby
UCLA American Indian Studies Center (2010)

Review by Ryan Winn

Since the University of California, Los Angeles’s Project HOOP (Honoring Our Origins and People) started publishing Native theater texts in 1999, it has become impossible to have a conversation about American Indian theater without referencing its contributions to the genre.

Series editors Hanay Geiogamah and Jaye T. Darby have collectively produced a handful of play anthologies, artist interviews, and critical essays on the modern American Indian theater. In American Indian Performing Arts: Critical Directions, they turn their focus toward the role of a Native theatrical production as an extension of the artist’s individual and collective culture. The essays within this collection focus upon topics including ceremonial performance, aesthetic concepts, elements of myth, spirituality, and the creative process of integration.

Readers of this text will appreciate that it collects the voices of decorated Native playwrights, actors, and scholars to give an overview of the conversations as they pertain to each field of study. That alone is worth the price of admission.

Ryan Winn is the Humanities Department chair at the College of Menominee Nation in Keshena and Green Bay, WI.

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