By Bob Evans
The new KC Rep’s Origin series opened Friday, May 5 at the downtown Copaken Stage with a fresh work, “What Would Crazy Horse Do?” where the two surviving members of an Indian tribe clash with two members of the Ku Klux Klan.
The mix, hard to wrap your head around, speaks to the two opposing groups with characters mired in their beliefs. The two Indian survivors, raised on a reservation by their grandfather encounter the “vice president” of the KKK and her boyfriend. Only the boyfriend was not raised within the cultural values of either entity, but became a staunch convert to KKK values.
The new play,”What Would Crazy Horse Do?” by Larissa Fasthorse, made its world premier with last night’s opening. The play works in introducing the two conflicts and some interesting characters, but needs a bit more information on the Indian culture and lifestyle to more adequately introduce the characters’ plight. Points are mentioned, but the audience needs a bit more education for the situation to develop roots.
The four person cast could not display more professionalism in the opening. A woman seated n the firs three rows continued to shout out to the characters during every scene. Her outbursts were inappropriate on any level, out of place, uncalled for, and a constant distraction. At one point, near the end of the piece, she started applauding and continued slow clapping for probably 20-25 seconds, disrupting the audience, but not the actors. Her verbal responses, at times, broke this reviewers attention and hindered his appreciation for the play.
The very talented cast continued their characters, their focus, and kept their focus in spite of the audience member’s participation. The cast is: Amy Attaway, Christopher Reed Brown, Jason Chanos, Roseanne Supernault. Their professionalism saved the show from the distractions.
The setting, appropriately, an Indian Reservation. The action takes place inside a run down trailer, after the death of the two siblings. They remain behind as the last known of their tribe. A KKK member comes to visit them to fulfill a contract signed by their grandfather prior to his death. Cultures start tugging from the first encounter and build to a climax in the one=act play. Many of the technical aspects of the play work well, but the staging seemed a bit lacking. With the wide set and narrow walkway through it, the characters just seemed too confined.
The production team was led by Sam Pinkleton, director. The team is: Antje Ellermann, scenic design; Gretchen Halle, costume design; Michelle Harvey, lighting design; Stowe Nelwon, sound design; Rasheedat Badejo, assistant director; John Wilson, fight choreographer; Shelley Engleman-Bointy, indigenous dance choreography; Dalton Pierce dramaturg; Tara Mazzucca, casting; April Elizabeth Brewer, production stage manager.
“What Would Crazy Horse Do?” continues in repertory style with “Man in Love” through May 28. The pair are part of the KC Rep OriginKC series that premieres new plays in the KC Metro area. For tickets, times, dates and more information, check out the KC Rep website.
Tags: KC Rep, Kansas City Repertory Theatre, “What Would Crazy Horse Do?”, Kansas City Theater, Kansas City Performing Arts, Kansas City Arts & Entertainment