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“The Thanksgiving Play” brings faculty and student collaboration

State University Theatre is putting on a unique performance, “The Thanksgiving Play,” at the Oscar Larson Performing Arts Center this week through the weekend. Showtimes are at 7:30 p.m. from Thursday, Nov. 18 through Saturday, Nov. 20. There is one showtime at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 21.

The play focuses on a group of white artists as they create a culturally sensitive Thanksgiving Play. Created by Larissa FastHorse, the funny satire pokes fun at being “terminally woke.” 

Jim Wood, associate professor of theatre and director of the play, said the development of this performance has focused on deconstructing the “traditional model of producing theatre and promoting more inclusivity.” In his own role as director, Wood worked on being more inclusive by forming a collaborative of faculty members from different disciplines and students to guide the play.

The collaborative had several roles, including discussing the accessibility and receptivity of the script, evaluating the historical context of events and creating the pre-show display. Members of the collaborative included:

  • Sharity Bassett, assistant professor of American Indian Studies.
  • Nicole Flynn, associate professor of English.
  • Mark Freeland, assistant professor and coordinator of American Indian Studies.
  • Christi Garst-Santos, director of the School of American and Global Studies.
  • Melissa Hauschild-Mork, associate professor of dance.
  • Dale Potts, associate professor of history.
  • W. James Wood, associate professor of theatre.
  • Students in American Indian and Indigenous Studies 100.
  • Theatre department faculty and students.

This approach brought a variety of voices to the table. Wood explained that the process has been a wonderful challenge. “It has been thrilling to collaborate with colleagues from other disciplines as a way to discuss and dissect the intentions of this play,” Wood explained. “It has also been inspiring to work with the cast and crew while they grapple with the challenging nature of this play.”

Tickets can be purchased here.

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