Heal the Divide – To History:Two, by Jaisey Bates

Blog, Heal The Divide, Plays

Every week we will be sharing new plays by our Heal the Divide playwrights.  This week’s play is To History: Two, by Jaisey Bates – an Indigenous-heritaged Planet Nine playwright currently residing (hopefully not for much longer) in La La Land.


TO HISTORY
/ To Whom It 
May Concern.

TWO: War
/ Games

This Letter
was inspired by
a FB friend’s
FB posts re:

a town
with a school
with a Native
mascot.

A town
with a chamber
of commerce whose
leadership set up

“The First Annual
Hunt for the Indian!”
treasure hunt

aiming to encourage
shoppers to Shop Local
during the holidays.

A town
where there was a
massacre of Natives.

A town
where the government
paid bounties for Native
captives, or scalps:

Man.
Woman.
Or child.

SPECIAL THANKS to Mr. Martin Neptune, Penobscot Elder, for his permission to share his eloquent and powerful words with all who read this play.

Learn more: www.ncai.org/proudtobe


Download (PDF, 236KB)

 

 

Heal the Divide – To History: One, by Jaisey Bates

Heal The Divide, Plays

Every week we will be sharing new plays by our Heal the Divide playwrights.  This week’s play is To History: One, by Los Angeles playwright Jaisey Bates


TO HISTORY
/ To Whom It
May Concern.

One: War
/ Paint

This Letter
was inspired by
a friend’s FB post

re: a Native play
silenced by
a new sculpture

based on a scaffold
that silenced
Natives’ lives.

Here’s a quote from her post (also included with her permission in the ensemble spoken word poem play):

“NOBODY came to our event tonight because our ENTIRE audience went to protest at the Walker instead of celebrating OUR own Native-made art right here. A perfect example of how our communities of color are forced over and over to defend our people and histories and to educate at the expense of celebrating our own vitality.” — Rhianna Yazzie, Founder, New Native Theatre, MN

Here’s the goal of this Letter:

“Putting the history side-by-side to the night when people from the Native community had to choose to either celebrate who we are or fight for our voices to be heard.” — Vanessa Goodthunder (Dakota), Company Member, New Native Theatre

To learn about New Native Theatre:
newnativetheatre.org


Download (PDF, 158KB)

Heal the Divide: Spotlight on Playwright Jaisey Bates

Heal The Divide, Playwrights

Jaisey Bates is the kind of playwright that, once you meet/work with her, you kind of just want to invent more reasons to get a chance to work with her again.  Not only are her words achingly beautiful, but her personality is so engaging and honest that I find myself awed by even her emails.

Which is why I am so totally thrilled to announce that Jaisey will be participating in our 2nd Heal the Divide online residency! I’ll be sharing Jaisey’s first Heal the Divide play next week, but you don’t have to wait that long to get to know more about this talented and creative human.  Check out my interview with Jaisey below.


What about our Heal the Divide project captured your interested/why did you decide to participate in this initiative?  What questions, as a playwright, are you most drawn to explore in your work?

A ‘Fermat’s Last Theorem’
short scene answer attempt

(to save time so folks might
spare a few moments more
for perusing Protest Play PDFs),

re: why
/ from whence these
/ my words.

At Rise:

A woman
reads

the (mortally?) wounded
world around her.

It does not
compute.

She studies
the Story Math
of History:

“Who lives, who dies,
who tells [the] story”
called History.

The Subtractors
/ Silencers.

The Subtracted
/ Silenced.

Specifically:

The Indigenous
Silenced.

She receives
via internet

an invitation to
add three gatherings
of words to the

Healing

the Divide
equation.

She decides
to write
three letters

To History
/ To Whom

It May
Concern.

To the
Gates
keepers.

From
Allies

of the
Indigenous

‘Gates
Kept’.

She writes.
She writes.
She writes.

What areas of concern in your community do you find yourself curious about or interested in considering for this project?

I currently live in LA which has the largest urban population of Natives in the U.S. Most of my words speak from an Indigenous perspective.

There have been a lot of discussions lately about what artists can do to “make a difference” in light of our current political spectrum.  What do you think we can (or should) do?

Dear Artists.

Hearts
forward.

Heads
high.

Courage, my
friends,

as we try
to help
write

a more just
and tolerant
world worthy

of our children’s
bright promise.
And of theirs.

And hope.
Always, forever
remember: Hope.

My words and I
stand this ground
beside you.

May we
find ways

to walk
together
in Beauty

this
belovèd
ground.

XoXo,
Planet Nine

Are you engaged in any other organizations fighting for change or progress that you want to give a shout out to?

Some hashtags for movements of interest and action, mostly through writing and staging plays:

#AfterOrlandoPlays
#BlackLivesMatter
#ClimateChangeTheatreAction
#ICantBreathe
#InsteadofRedface
#NoDAPL
#StandingRock
#WaterIsLife

What did you take away from reading the plays from our first residency?

Intriguing range of perspectives and approaches from the resident playwrights. Also fascinating: the college Heal the Divide on Campus initiative. I hope we online folks might have the chance to read some of the students’ efforts.

More About Jaisey:

Jaisey Bates, a misplaced Maine-iac in LA, writes and performs with her nomadic multicultural theater company, The Peoplehood. LA and NYC venues for her words have included the Agüeybaná Book Store, Art/Works, Eclectic, EST/LA, Lounge, Naked Angels, Native Voices at the Autry, Open Fist, Performance Loft, Playwrights’ Center Stage, Samuel French Bookshop, Studio/Stage, Unknown and Victory theaters. Her words have enjoyed road trips to several states and teleportation to Canada and the UK. Her full-length plays include The Day We Were Born, RUN, This Radiant Wasteland, and Variations in the Key of White.  Real Time, her fancydance variation on Whitman’s Leaves of Grass, is The Peoplehood’s Menu of Performance Possibilities, an ever-evolving multitude of mix-and-match short plays and spoken word pieces. Her motto is “Have Words. Many Words. Many, many Words. Will travel.” Her education includes Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service, American University in Cairo (Fulbright/Johns Hopkins SAIS) and Loyola Marymount (MA in English). She wrote a blog, “Native communities and climate change, center stage”, for the HowlRound’s ‘Theater in the Age of Climate Change’ series. She tends to speak of herself in the 3rd person. She also answers to the name Planet Nine. She is very grateful to Brilliant Words Warrior Woman Tiffany Antone for this chance to work toward Healing the Divide. She hopes with all her heart that we will learn to walk in beauty this beloved ground.

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