Com­edy fea­tures Amer­i­can In­dian fam­ily

The Oklahoman - - LIFE & STYLE - BILLINGS, THE OK­LA­HOMAN]

A com­edy about an Amer­i­can In­dian fam­ily — whose flaws and foibles aren’t glossed over — added up to a feel-good theatrical ex­pe­ri­ence.

The top, per­for­mance award-win­ning play in the ninth an­nual 2018 Na­tive Amer­i­can New Play Fes­ti­val, was “Round Dance” by Arigon Starr.

Set at a Los An­ge­les gas sta­tion in the 1950s, it was staged Satur­day in the in­ti­mate City Space The­atre at Civic Cen­ter Mu­sic Hall, 201 N Walker.

Wilson Daingkau was solid and un­af­fected, but very ef­fec­tive as Rudy Ker­nel, a vet­eran with a head scar, as­sumed to be a war wound.

The scar has a back story, lead­ing to black­mail, but also ro­mance with a no-nonsense nurse, played with just enough panache by the play’s au­thor, Starr.

Starr, the nurse with a purse, had some of the best scenes, ex­plain­ing that she’s non­vi­o­lent, but her purse isn’t, be­fore wielding it to good ad­van­tage. Bobby Bar­ron was a sur­pris­ingly lik­able vil­lain, not only try­ing black­mail, but twotim­ing his preg­nant wife at a tav­ern af­ter Rudy’s birth­day din­ner.

Zack T. Mor­ris nearly stole the show as an In­dian ac­tor, who tells oth­ers “don’t let my Hol­ly­wood looks fool you,” and drops stars’ names with aplomb.

Scene-steal­ing, too, was Anevay Greenwood as Rudy’s spunky sis­ter, smit­ten with the early Elvis and end­ing up with a life-size cutout of The King.

Misty Red Elk was a force­ful pres­ence as Jen­nie Hand, who wants to sell the gas sta­tion and has con­cealed her In­dian an­ces­try, ex­cept to her hus­band.

The play is open to the crit­i­cism of hav­ing too many char­ac­ters, yet the large cast seemed to fit the sprawl­ing, al­most Ra­belaisian feel­ing of the piece.

The pro­duc­tion di­rected by Carolyn Dunn saved the best for last, a ti­tle “Round Dance” in­stead of ti­tle char­ac­ter, that spec­ta­tors were en­cour­aged to join. Other as­sets in­cluded an ex­cel­lent set, de­signed by Ben Hall, and cos­tumes, both work clothes and cer­e­mo­nial, in the fi­nal scene, de­signed by Jes­sica Scar­bor­ough.

It is highly rec­om­mended in its re­main­ing per­for­mances at 8 p.m. Thurs­day through Satur­day.

— John Bran­den­burg,

for The Ok­la­homan

[PHOTO BY NATE

Zack T. Mor­ris, as Al Dullard, re­hearses a scene in “Round Dance,” the fea­tured play for the Ninth An­nual Na­tive Amer­i­can New Play Fes­ti­val, at the Civic Cen­ter Ci­tyS­pace The­atre in Oklahoma City.

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