Valley Youth Theatre (RVYT) recently wrapped its SummerSTAGE 2009
season with the Northwest premiere of Pieces of Us: How the Lost
Find Home. Written by American playwright William S. Yellow Robe
Jr. (Assiniboine), the all-teen cast explored modern-day issues
of Native identity and mixed heritage through the eyes of Adam,
a fictional member of the Coast Salish Tribe who sets out on a voyage
to reclaim his heritage.
program of SEEDArts, RVYT provides a unique summer theatre training
and production experience for Seattle youth, who receive the opportunity
to work with professional local artists. The program partnered with
Red Eagle Soaring (RES) Native American Youth Theater, which has
sought to empower Native American and Alaskan Native youth in the
Pacific Northwest through the theater arts, cultural workshops and
performance projects for the past 18 years. Video and multi-media
projection art was also supplied by Native Lens and Longhouse Media.
are honored to participate in the production of Pieces of Us, contributing
advice, props, and best of all, three of our student actors,"
says a RES spokesperson. "We are so proud of them for the fine
work they have done and the commitment they have made to the project.
Mr. Yellow Robe said his wish for this play was to anchor the heritage
of the leading character in the community of Native people in which
the play is produced, with a tribe that has had difficulty maintaining
their cultural connections over the years. It is our hope that the
Duwamish people and the other Coast Salish Nations around us will
welcome and be honored by this effort."
Robe is a member of the Assiniboine Tribe, located on the Fort Peck
Indian reservation in northeastern Montana. He has a body of work
that includes 50 plays, several short stories and poetry. Grandchildren
Buffalo Soldiers and Other Untold Stories is a new collection of
his full-length plays, published by UCLA's Project HOOP.
Yellow Robe's voice is funny, honest and searing," notes Oskar
Eustis, who serves as the artistic director of the Public Theater
in New York. "He tells painful truths that are designed to
heal and healing truths that are hard to hear. He writes from an
utterly specific Native world, one we all need to know, but he also
uncovers human truths that are universal and profound. He is one
of our necessary writers. We would be much poorer without him."