About the Play: Notes From the Playwright & Director
A Note of Thanks From the Playwright
This story is very near and dear to my heart in so many ways…first, that it takes place in Los Angeles, the city where I was born and raised and love. Like Sunny, I learned about the Indian part of my identity through family lore, and from the ceremonial life of California Indians, specifically the Chumash, Tongva, Yurok, Wiyot, Hupa, and Karuk tribes who invited me, as a diasporic Indigenous person, into their communities. For that, I would like to express my gratefulness to Georgiana Valoyce Sanchez and her brother John Moreno, for sharing their version of the dolphin rainbow bridge with me many years ago. Their version of the story influenced this piece, and Georgie’s line “happy people make happy people” ended up in the final version of the script. Cindi Alvitre and I shared many adventures over the years and her stories from the Ti’at Society and her Moomat Ahiko song is always present in my mind when I go home to San Pedro, to the ocean, where Pimu is always in sight. Thank you also to Native Voices at the Autry, the Yale Indigenous Performing Arts Program, Safe Harbors Indigenous Collective and Pangea World Theatre for further developing the script; to Cal State LA Department of Theatre and Dance for choosing this play to be part of our first season back after being out for so long, and to my sisters and nieces in The Mankillers, one of the first women’s drums in California, for many adventures and stories that appear in this play as well. Thank you Sarah dAngelo for your Mohawk storytelling sensibilities. I am grateful my Ancestors followed my grandparents here to Los Angeles. Yakoke, mvto, hi’wew.
It’s been an honor to breathe life into the story of Soledad in collaboration with the Theatre and Dance Department community at Cal State LA. Carolyn Dunn’s poetic and indomitable storytelling voice resonates like a mesmerizing song.
Set in the traditional homelands of the Chumash and Tongva people, currently known as the greater Los Angeles region of Southern California, Place figures prominently in Soledad. The Land-Based epistemologies of the Chumash peoples story traditional beliefs arising from the landscape. Our BIPOC cast of exceptional artists mirror the diasporic Indigenous Community of this region and beyond and re-presents the mythic monolithic Indigenous Identity. The greater Los Angeles region is home to one of the largest urban Diasporic and Intertribal Indigenous populations resulting from the Indian Relocation Act of 1956. Despite Treaty Law, this 20-year “assimilation” program successfully defunded and collapsed numerous Communities to seize Reservation lands. This policy accounts for the largest migration of Indigenous people to urban centers. Lured by the false promises of education, housing and job training, many Indigenous people with no recourse to return to their Community instead faced discrimination, poverty, disenfranchisement and cultural isolation.
Displaced by the Indian Relocation Act of 1956, urban Indigenous people came together in resilience to celebrate their respective cultures in contemporary Intertribal pow wow celebrations which continue across cities today. Soledad is underpinned by the Intertribal protocols, dance styles and songs customary to this social gathering. Storyweaving, a performance methodology developed by Spiderwoman Theatre, and carried by our mentors, Safe Harbors Indigenous Theatre Collective layers the storytelling with an array of performative and visual mediums to further the Indigenous concerns that thematically drive the action. Film, images, song, music and dance underscore Indigenous Narratives of federal assimilation and relocation, the epidemic of Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women, Girls, and 2S people, (MMIWG2S), the tensions and complexities of diasporic Indigenous identity, violence against Indigenous women, and the dearth of mental health care.
Soledad is a potent story informed by the enactments unique to Indigenous Theatremaking: the importance of community, oral history, storying, the rituals of reconciliation and the healing of grief; and the coming of age of a young woman, Soledad ”Sunny” Sixkiller. To convey the realities of Sunny’s world, our stellar designers have beautifully conceived the liminal and simultaneous spaces of memory, fluid placial/temporal realms, and ancestral co-existence.
We are grateful to the Theatre and Dance Department for producing Soledad, particularly amidst this ongoing climate of racial reckoning. We welcome you, our audience to witness the transformative gift of Indigenous storytelling told by our incomparable cast, creative team, designers, and playwright, Carolyn Dunn, one of the most celebrated Indigenous playwrights in the American Theatre today.
Our thanks to the following folx who helped make show this possible:
Karyn Lawrence: Lighting Mentorship assistance
Grass Dance Regalia Designed by: Adrian Stevens and Native Creative Co. By Katrina Reis
Many thanks to: Lyric Theater of Oklahoma Costume Shop
Land Acknowledgement, prepared by Dr. Kimberly Robertson (Mvskoke) and Tongva Elder Julia Bogany, 2020
With great respect, Cal State LA acknowledges the Tongva people as the traditional caretakers of Tovaangar – the Tongva world, including the Los Angeles Basin, South Channel Islands, San Gabriel and Pomona Valleys, and portions of Orange, San Bernardino, and Riverside Counties. Cal State LA is located within these lands. As an institution located on unceded Tongva land, we pay our respects to the ancestors, elders, and our relatives/relations, past, present, and emerging.
Consistent with our values of community and diversity, we have a responsibility to acknowledge and make visible the university’s relationship to Native peoples. By offering this Land Acknowledgement, we affirm Indigenous sovereignty and will work to hold Cal State LA more accountable to the needs of American Indian peoples. Prepared by Dr. Kimberly Robertson (Mvskoke) and Tongva Elder Julia Bogany, 2020
FULL CAST/PRODUCTION/CREW CREDITS
Click here for the full listing of all involved on our production
Written by Carolyn Dunn | Directed by Sarah dAngelo
Sedona Vivrito as Soledad “Sunny” Sixkiller
Henry Cruz as Thomas Sixkiller
Dominique Turner as Dora Ramirez Sixkiller
Daemaurion Hann as Alex Rivera
Scenic Designer - Myokyung Shon
Lighting Designer - Selena Garcia
Costume Designer - Halei Parker
Sound Designer - Tallon Pedregosa
Faculty Dramaturg - Dr. Carolyn Dunn
Dramaturg - Emily Moreno
Stage Manager - Jonathon Jones
Assistant Stage Manager - Jolana Villarreal
Props Coordinator - Boie Amador
Light Board Operator - Alexa Sisco-Spinowitz
Sound Board Operator - Emily Moreno
Projection Operator - Callie Luong
Wardrobe Running Crew - Cassandra Aguiniga
Box Office Manager - Kendra Shenk
House Managers - Christina Antolin, Alyssa Armas
Master Electrician - Artie Peralez
Student Assistant Tech Director - Rosie Dierking
Student Shop Foreman - Andres Giraldo
Student Master Carpenter - Izelah Blanco
Student Scenic Charge Artist - Alyssa Armas
Scenic Paint Crew
Leeanna Shagrikyan, Eleanor Montecino, Aiden Mora-Urquilla, Elisa Ruffalo
Lily Cabrera, Henry Cruz, Joy Diaz, Rosie Dierking, Belinda Dornaus, Sebastian Flores, Tallon Pedregosa, Elisa Ruffalo, Armenia Ward, Kendra Shenk
Arturo Vega, Daniel Balladares, Lily Cabrera, Steven Gonzalez, Francesca Labayna, Kylie Fernandez
Carmelita Garcia Espinosa, Luis Garcia, Ruochen Chen, Rosie Dierking
Faculty Technical Director - Daniel Czypinski
Faculty Production Manager - Meredith Greenburg
Electrics Shop Supervisor - Tim Jones
Costume Shop Supervisor - Bruce Zwinge
Faculty Stage Management Mentor - Morgan Zupanski
Sound Design Mentor - Martin Gimenez
Audio Shop Supervisor - Rico Garcia
Sarah dAngelo (Director) is an interdisciplinary theatre artist whose creative interest intertwines performance, embodied and somatic practices with new and mixed media. Her professional work favors storytelling re-presentations of Indigeneity, rematriation, social and environmental justice. In addition to serving as artistic producer with the Oklahoma Indigenous Theatre Company, she is an actor, voice artist, dramaturg and director. Her directing work has been seen throughout the U.S. including off-Broadway, Canada, the UK and New Zealand. Directing credits include Crumbs from the Table of Joy by Lynn Nottage; Another Part of the House by Migdalia Cruz; Brownsville Song (B-side for Tray) by Kimber Lee; Salvage by Diane Glancy; In the Heights by Lin Manuel Miranda and Quiara Hudes Alegría; Dreamlandia by Octavio Solis; Bulrusher by Eisa Davis; Fefu and her Friends by Marie Irene Fornes; Neechie-Itas by Jo MacDonald, The Bone Picker and Chasing Tailfeathers by Carolyn Dunn. She recently designed and coached dialects for the NYC premiere of Repulsing the Monkey by Michael Eichler directed Daniel Leeman Smith.
She is a Certified Michael Chekhov Teacher/Actor candidate with the Great Lakes Michael Chekhov Consortium. She currently serves at Brown University as affiliated faculty in the Native American Indigenous Studies Initiative and as an Assistant Professor in the Theatre Arts and Performance Studies Department. She teaches classes in performance, voice and movement, designs voice and dialects and directs department mainstage productions. She is a member of Actor’s Equity Association, Screen Actor Guild-American Federation of Television Radio Artist, and an associate member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers union.
Carolyn Dunn (Playwright) is an Indigenous artist of Cherokee, Muskogee Creek, and Seminole descent on her father’s side, and is French Creole (French-Canadian, African, Tunica/Choctaw/Biloxi/Ishak) on her mother’s. Her life as a storyteller encompasses both poetry and playwriting with works about family, grief, resilience, and the landscape in all genres in between. In addition to the award-winning Outfoxing Coyote, her books include Through the Eye of the Deer (with Carol Zitzer-Comfort, Aunt Lute Books, 1999), Coyote Speaks (with Ari Berk, H.N. Abrams, 2008), Echolocation: Poems, Stories and Songs from Indian Country: L.A. (Fezziweg Press, 2013), The Stains of Burden and Dumb Luck (Mongrel Empire Press, 2017), and more. Her plays The Frybread Queen, Ghost Dance, and Soledad have been developed and staged at Native Voices at the Autry in Los Angeles. A graduate of Humboldt State University (now Cal Poly Humboldt) and UCLA, she received her Doctorate in American Studies and Ethnicity (including MFA coursework in Playwriting) with a focus on American Indian Literature and Theater from the University of Southern California. She is now an assistant professor of playwriting and dramaturgy in the Department of Theatre and Dance at California State University, Los Angeles and the Artistic Director of Oklahoma Indigenous Theatre Company in Oklahoma City. Her current work in progress is a play entitled Chasing Tailfeathers. Stage acting credits include The Bingo Palace, Citizen, Desert Stories for Lost Girls, Neechie-itas, Sliver of a Full Moon, and the musicals Distant Thunder and Missing Peace. She lives in Los Angeles and Oklahoma with her family.
Sedona Vivirito (Soledad “Sunny” Sixkiller) is an actress and artist, forever grateful for the opportunity to step into the power of this story in her final performance at CSULA. She's from the holy mountain of Toshololo (Frazier Mountain) and has been dancing and adventuring through The Center of The Universe, the beautiful Iwihinmu (Mt. Pinos), for as long as she can remember. Coming from Cree, Black, Sicilian, Irish, French, and Norwegian descent and being white passing, stepping into the power of her identity as a mixed woman is extremely important to her and her work. She dedicates this performance to her ancestors and her family, near and far. You can keep up to date with Sedona's future projects at www.sedonavivirito.com.
Henry Cruz (Thomas Sixkiller): Soledad is Henry’s first and final Theater performance at Cal State LA, as he will graduate this Spring with his Bachelor of Arts in Theater: Design & Production. In addition to his work as Thomas Sixkiller, Henry was also involved in preparing the set design, spending many hours helping with welding, carpentry, and set building. Although he is known for being a Sound Designer, Henry will forever be a performer at heart.
Dominique Turner (Dora Ramirez Sixkiller) is a 21-year- old Theatre Arts Major with an emphasis in performance at Cal State LA. She is a transfer student from Western Oregon University who was originally born and raised in Maui, Hawaii. This is her second show here at Cal State LA, her first being Does He Like Black Girls? Throughout her high school and college years Dominique has been in a total of 15 shows. Some of her favorite roles include "Winnifred" in the show Once Upon a Mattress, "Violet" in the show Willy Wonka, and "Dora" in this production of Soledad. Dominique transferred to CSULA not only to flourish in the craft of acting but to relocate to Los Angeles, California in pursuit of her dreams.
Daemaurion Hann (Alex Rivera) is a first-year undergraduate at Cal State LA, majoring in Theater Arts and Dance, with an option in Theater Performance. This is Daemaurion's second production with Cal State LA. He was most recently seen as Finn in Does He Like Black Girls. Favorite roles onstage also include Seaweed in Hairspray the musical. Daemaurion would like to thank Carolyn Dunn, Sarah dAngelo, and his family for always supporting and encouraging him to chase his dreams.
Halei Parker (Costume Designer) is a multi-Ovation award nominated and LA based costume designer for theatre, dance, opera, film, commercials, and music videos. Her designs have been seen on stages and screens across the United States and most recently – in the pre-pandemic world – at The Walt Disney Concert Hall, The Getty Villa, East West Players, Rogue Machine Theatre, the El Portal, and the Odyssey Theatre, as well as on various international stages in Europe, Asia, and Mexico. She also has the honor of being a recurring costume designer for The Troubadour Theatre Company where she brings joy to thousands of people every year with her designs for their literary and musical mash-ups with a rambunctious bunch of clowns. During the pandemic her dedication to uplifting spirits with the arts was recognized by the Princess Grace Foundation’s Gratitude and Tonic grant initiative for her mask making efforts and mural artwork for her community. Halei is a proud member of the Costume Designers Guild Local 892 and United Scenic Artists Local 829, holds an MFA in Costume Design from UC San Diego, and a BFA in Theatre Design from the University of North Texas. To see more of her work, please visit HaleiParker.com and follow her on Instagram @HaleiParkerDesign
Selena Nalua Garcia
Selena Nalua Garcia (Lighting Designer) is a senior at Cal State L.A., majoring in Theatre with an option in Design and Production. She is a transfer student from Northern California, where she graduated with an A.A. in Theatre Production from San Joaquin Delta College. Her credits for SJDC productions include lighting for The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Uncle Vanya, and Noises Off, as well as scenic construction for 1984. She is also credited with light design in a student directed production of A Few of Our Favorite Scenes.
Emily Moreno (Dramaturgy/Sound Designer) is a senior earning her B.A. degree in Theatre Arts with an emphasis in playwriting. Emily plans to make a career in playwriting, scriptwriting, screenwriting, and storytelling. Her goal is to educate her audience on certain situations that are occurring all over the world and are standing here to present her Latino community. Emily would like to thank her professor, Dr. Carolyn Dunn, for mentoring her throughout the process and for helping her to find her calling.