Trinity Repertory Company of Providence,
and the Penumbra Theatre Company of St. Paul, Minnesota,
are joining to present the national tour of "Grandchildren
of the Buffalo Soldiers," a new play by William
S. Yellow Robe, Jr.
Trinity Rep, the 41-year old, Tony Award-winning company,
and Penumbra Theatre, one of America's preeminent African-American theater
companies, are joining as co-collaborators for what will rank as the
country's first fully-mounted professional production of a Native American
play by a Native playwright.
"Grandchildren of the Buffalo Soldiers" will premiere September
15 - October 15, 2005 at the Penumbra Theatre Co. in St. Paul. A five-week,
multi-state tour will then bring the production to universities, arts
centers, major theaters, and other venues across the Mid-West.
From December 2 through January 8, 2006, the production
will be a part of Trinity Rep's main-stage season, after which it will
continue touring New England and the Mid-Atlantic region through February
19, 2006, with the possibility of extended tour dates. Touring locations
and performance dates will be announced in the spring.
"Grandchildren of the Buffalo Soldiers" tells a simple but
powerful story of a young man returning to his roots on the Montana
reservation where he grew up. Like his siblings, Craig Robe is
descended from a Native-American grandmother and an African-American
grandfather, a member of the famous post-Civil War cavalry regiment
nicknamed "buffalo soldiers" for their curly, dark hair. Ridiculed
as "too black" to be Native, the Robe family have had to struggle
for acceptance not only by their tribe, but perhaps more importantly,
by each other.
"Grandchildren of the Buffalo Soldiers" asks
audiences to consider their racial and cultural identity, while maintaining
a compassionate and open-minded view of the complexity of mixed race
heritage in America, and the Native community.
Directed by Lou Bellamy, founder and artistic director
of Penumbra Theatre Company, this new work will feature a cast of Native
American and African American actors. Playwright William S. Yellow Robe,
Jr., will tour with the production, joining Bellamy, the cast and other
artists in outreach and educational activities including post-performance
discussions, workshops, and in-depth exploration of related subjects.
"Grandchildren of the Buffalo Soldiers" at Penumbra Theatre
has been generously underwritten in part by a major grant from the Ford
Foundation in recognition of the play's superb artistry, and
the project's intent to engage audiences nationwide in dialogue around
issues of race, culture and ethnicity through a partnership between
members of the resident theater community and presenters of performing
arts. The national tour is also supported in partnership with the National
Endowment for the Arts Regional Touring Program, Arts
Midwest, Mid-America Arts Alliance, Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation,
and the New England Foundation for the Arts, which
will underwrite regional performance residencies.
William S. Yellow Robe, Jr. is the recipient of an NEA Playwriting Fellowship
and a Pew Fellowship, through which he is the Playwright-In-Residence
at Trinity Rep. Robe is also the author of "The Star Quilter,"
"The Independence of Eddie Rose," "Rez Politics,"
"The Council," "The Body Guard" and "Sneaky,"
which have been produced by such theaters as Ensemble Studio
Theatre, American Conservatory Theatre, Seattle Children's Theater and
Audiences can also see his play, "Better-n-Indins,"
this winter at Perishable Theater in Providence. Yellow Robe is a nationally
recognized Assiniboine playwright, and he serves as a guest faculty
member at Brown University, University of Montana, University of Maine
and other institutions.
To learn more about these two companies, visit www.trinityrep.com