Friday, April 26, 2019

Crossing Mnisose—Portland Center Stage—Pearl District

                                                         “Lest We Forget”

    This World Premiere story of Native Americans is written by Mary Kathryn Nagle 
and directed by Molly Smith.  It is playing at The Armory, 128 NW 11th Ave., through May 5th.  For more information, go to their site at

    Presently, we are complaining of all the atrocities happening in other countries, but we certainly can’t brag as to our own history, the Past to the Present day.  Note our kidnapping and enslaving of human beings from Africa; incarcerating Japanese-American during WWII, simply because of their color; and the mistreatment of Latinos from other countries seeking asylum, et. al.  But, to me, our worst injustice to other human beings, was to the Native Americans, who were cheated, lied to and murdered for simple Greed.  This story exposes some of that history.

    The beautiful thing about Nagle’s story is that it takes a great many social and political issues and condenses them into a very human story, so that we can see the impact of it on about a dozen people over 200+ years.  The present day tale deals with a single mother, Native American, Rose (Sera-Lys McArthur) trying to raise her teenage daughter, Carey (Nathalie Standingcloud), who is hep on stopping the oil pipe line from crossing the sacred land of her people.

    Carey is not alone in her quest, as one of the leaders of this opposition is Travis (Robert I. Mesa).  Of course, they face the Government and contractors who want to see it go through, such as Carl (Gavin Hoffman) and the Colonel (Nick Ferrucci).  But there is still the private land that must be secured, a key part of that is owned by Patrick (Chris Murray). 

    If that were all of the story, it would be interesting, but the author also harkens back over 200 years in this same territory, to capture the characters of the Lewis (Ferricci, again) and Clark (Murray, again) expedition, as well as their guides Sacajawea (Standingcloud, again) and Charbonneau (Hoffman, again), as well as his first wife (McArthur, again) and a native, young man, Coyote (Mesa, again).  To see how these sagas merge is in the master story-telling of Nagle and has to be seen to be appreciated.

    Smith has done a wonderful job of casting just the right people, as well as keeping the stories understandable.  And the whole cast is perfect for their roles, blending attributes of one to another character smoothly, as needed.  This is educational as well as entertaining and supplies a serious message underneath, as well.  

    I recommend this play.  If you do choose to see it, please tell them Dennis sent you.

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