Broadening the circle : the evolution of survivance and mimicry as theme in selected Native American drama.


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From its beginning the modern Native American Literary Dramatic Project has been rooted in the desire to define and preserve a voice driven to the brink of extinction by the forces of Euroamerican colonization. Over time, as the threat of outright extinction has waned, Native American playwrights have begun exploring means of developing Native American voices and resisting colonial assimilation. Hanay Geiogamah’s Body Indian, the first play ever produced by the Native American Theatre Ensemble, developed a combination of survival and resistance Gerald Vizenor would later term, “survivance,” and N. Scott Momaday’s first play, The Indolent Boys, turned to the postcolonial concept of mimicry as a means of resisting the cultural erasure of America’s boarding school project. Randy Reinholz’ play, Off the Rails, which premiered at the Oregon Shakespeare festival in 2017, presents the attempt to unify these themes and develop the next step forward in Native American drama.



Theatre. Drama. Native American studies. Off the rails. Body Indian. The indolent boys. Geiogamah. Momaday. Reinholz.