Sunday, November 11, 2007

An Evening Walking the Red Road

Last night a friend and I went to see Arigon Starr in her fabulous one-woman show called The Red Road. It was produced for and staged at the Gilcrease Museum, an institution with a long history of supporting Native efforts in the arts. We walked through a gallery filled with buckskin dresses, beaded mocassins and feathered headdresses on our way to the theater, where we were greeted by Starr's mother who ended up sitting next to my friend. There were few empty seats as the star of the show charged onto the bare bones set (two tables, one covered with a radio microphone and a variety of noise-makers, the other simply covered with a gingham tablecloth, a microphone on a stand, a hat rack with Starr's signature red cowgirl hat - complete with a rhinestone tiara as the hat band - and finally an acoustic guitar). These were all the props that Starr needed to portray eleven characters who all play a role at Verna Yahola's All Nations Cafe, located in Sapulpa, Oklahoma, where the action of one eventful day unfolds. The day is June 4, 1977 when Verna's long-time friend and country music singer Patty Jones (Choctaw) arrives to tape an episode of her country music show and where Verna is dealing with issues familial, financial, romantic, and finally personal. How Verna resolves the issues facing her on this one day reveals her generosity, her humor and her resilience as a Native woman.

In spite of the fact that I am of dubious Native ancestry, I got most of the inside Indian jokes from Verna's Navajo fry cook who pointed to the Red Rocks east of Gallup, New Mexico with his lips to Verna's friend, Etta's (Ojibway) reference to 49ers (a post-powwow party that usually lasts until the wee hours). I've got to hand it to Arigon Starr, her ability to portray a wide variety of characters with humor and accuracy, along with her wonderful musical talent, were the facets that made the show so special and such a treat to watch. Ms. Starr is definitely a rising star in the musical theater arena, and also a great singer/songwriter in her own right. All in all, it was a magnificently entertaining evening that I was happy to enjoy with a good friend. Yakoke, Geo...

Visit Arigon Starr's web site to find out more about this talented Kickapoo/Creek artist.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What a fun, hilarious evening! Thanks for letting me tag along on tha 'Road'!!