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Wood Bones

nytheatre.com q&a preview by Ryan Victor Pierce (Little Eagle)
April 9, 2013

What is your job on this show?
Founder/Artistic Director of Eagle Project and Actor in "Wood Bones".

What is your show about?
What you create in this world is sometimes left behind for other generations.

What type of theater do you like most to work on?
Theater that challenges the status quo and uncovers some harsh truths is the type of theater I most like to work on. I did not enter into this field and start Eagle Project to play it safe. I founded Eagle Project as a place where Native American and other marginalized voices can get their proper seat at the American theatrical table, and thus transform how we view theater and the performing arts. We always need to be entertaining and enlightening, but let us take the next step to really get at the heart of who we are as a country, as a people, and what our values are.

Complete this sentence: My show is the only one opening in NYC this spring that...?
is a Native American play written by a Native American playwright that takes Native issues and places them in the heart of American culture. Many Americans want to try to own a home, renovate a home, and have highly dysfunctional or even toxic relationships. "Wood Bones" is a Native play that almost doesn't seem Native, as stereotypes would have us believe, because it feels so quintessentially contemporary and American. Oh, and did I mention that the protagonist is a house?!

Do you think the audience will talk about your show for 5 minutes, an hour, or way into the wee hours of the night?
Audiences will certainly talk about "Wood Bones" into the wee hours of the night. How do I know this? Eagle Project did a staged reading/workshop of "Wood Bones" at Playwrights Horizons a year ago, and we had a talk-back with the playwright, William S. Yellow Robe, Jr., and director, Bob Jaffe, and the talk-back went on for so long that we ran out of time and had to continue the dialogue elsewhere. The ideas of American capitalism, ownership, how we treat our young, and the ever tangled web of race were all, and will continue to be, hot and heated topics for discussion after seeing this play. "Wood Bones" strikes a cord on unearthing American morals and the American identity in a way I've never before seen in American theater. And we're having another talk back in the upcoming production of "Wood Bones" on Opening Night with Native playwright, William S. Yellow Robe, Jr. and director, Bob Jaffe.

Which “S” word best describes your show: SMOOTH, SEXY, SMART, SURPRISING?
One of the many things that makes "Wood Bones" so amazing is that it deals with tough issues in such a smooth and subtle way. The play is so poetic and natural, that it's like a full-bodied wine or medium roast cup of coffee that goes down easy and only unfurls its complexity with a kick later on.

Can theater bring about societal change? Why or why not?
Eagle Project wouldn't be here if I didn't think theater could bring about societal change. And I've had many rich discussions with playwright, William S. Yellow Robe, Jr. about this. First we have to change how we as a country and culture view theater. Yes, it's about entertainment, but we need to start to view theater as a sacred place where ideas flow in a person-to-person environment and uncomfortable truths can be voiced. Next, we are going to have to open up the doors to more diversity, and have theater not just a playground for the privileged few, but a respected craft and national past time that has its doors open to all of those who have a voice and want to be heard. This is what Eagle Project seeks to create.