Marta Lu Clifford (Chinook, Cree, Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde) (L) and Quaye Dydasco (R). Photo courtesy Very Little Theatre.

A One-act Celebration of Indigenous Traditions

A story of generational differences and Indigenous traditions comes to life at VLT

A celebration of Indigenous performance traditions and Native dramatists comes to the stage with performances of The Woman Who Was a Red Deer Dressed for the Deer Dance Nov. 18 and 19 at Very Little Theatre. illioo Native Theatre partners with Minority Voices Theatre at VLT to present this 30-minute one-act play. The story of a grandmother who treasures her cultural practices and a granddaughter who navigates the modern world is told in the intimate Stage Left space. Get to the show early to enjoy refreshments in the lobby and stay for the post-production discussion on the rich origins of the play, a look into traditional Native storytelling, an examination of the play and a reading of excerpts from illioo Native Theatre’s original play in development, BlueJay’s Canoe. “illioo” means “joyful” in the language of the Kalapuya people. The interactive experience after the show with the audience is led by one of the founders of illioo Native Theatre, Marta Lu Clifford. Clifford is Chinook and Cree and a citizen of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde and plays the grandmother in the play. “This show means a lot to me because it’s a storytelling show of production,” Clifford says. “It teaches people the value of stories, and it teaches people the value of listening.” Theresa May is a non-Native ally, director of this production, a professor at the UO teaching Native Theatre and another founder of illioo Native Theatre with Clifford. Their “goal is to bring plays written and produced and acted by Native American people from this area,” Clifford says.

The Woman Who Was a Red Deer Dressed for the Deer Dance performances are 2 pm Nov. 18 and 19 at Very Little Theatre, 2350 Hilyard St. The show is sold out on Nov. 19, but a waitlist is available. Pay what you can for tickets from $0 – $25 at Theresa May and Marta Lu Clifford thank the community for supporting their production.

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