I’m working on a new project. It’s called Three Blessed Brothers, and is written by my friend Phil (who you might remember from the Freedom Art Retreat and ensuing performances of The First Person to Consider the Sun). Also, it’s lovely.
The story is a tale of three brothers, each blessed with a gift. One can make anything grow, the other can speak to the animals, and the third can affect the weather by his emotions. On fall they decide, like many young men, that they are bored with their farming life and set out across the country to discover their fate and fortune. Along the way they meet a collection of wonderful people and creatures, including the scary Pukawudgie from the Curly Cue Cape, the White Buffalo Woman from the great plains, and the enormous Thunderbird whose wings beat the boom of the thunderclouds.
Though it is lovely, the piece has a lot of challenges. It wants to be both beautiful and portable. It wants puppets that are big enough to see, and that also fit in my car. It wants a fast set up, but a thousand transforming pieces.
The biggest challenge is that the myths on which the story is based are mostly Native American in origin. How do a bunch of white kids do those myths justice without being offensive, without taking advantage of the cultural history of another people? And, at the end of the day, do we care? I don’t say that to sound harsh. But there is a decision to be made about the interaction of white characters and Native characters and what the final outcome says about those people. Either we make it say something, or we very intentionally don’t. I don’t have an answer yet. I do, however, have research: