See below for upcoming performances.
EVERYTHING IS A CIRCLE
INDIGENOUS YOUTH AND ELDERS COLLABORATE TO PERFORM
A REMARKABLE PLAY.
Illusion Theater, in partnership with the Iikidowin Acting Ensemble, the Indigenous People’s Task Force and the Ogitchidakwe Council, present EVERYTHING IS A CIRCLE, performed by ten Ikidowin teens and three Native grandmothers.
Everything is a Circle began as an adaptation of Illusion’s award-winning sexual abuse prevention play, Touch.
Bonnie Morris from Illusion and Sharon Day of the Indigenous Peoples' Task Force spoke about working together, which led to Bonnie, Karen Gundlach and Kathy Anlauf partnering with the Ikidowin Youth Theater Troupe, under the direction of Sir Curtis Kirby III, to develop a piece for the Native American community .
The Ikidowin invited members of the Grandmothers of the Ogitchidakwe Council to share their stories and experiences with us. As we heard their stories, the play grew to include the legacy of historical trauma. Everything is a Circle was warmly received by the Minnesota Indian Woman Sexual Assault Coalition Conference at the Grand Casino in Onamia. We performed again at the Minnesota Tribal Youth Gathering; the Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College; Indigenous Roots; AMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) Native Connections Regional Grantee Meeting of the Great Lakes and Northern Plains Site; and at The Spirit Survives: A National Movement Toward Healing —the first conference of the National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition.
Under the direction of Curtis Kirby III and Illusion Theater staff, the youth in the Ikidowin Acting Ensemble program were trained in the issues surrounding sexual abuse, rehearsed scenes from the original play and began to create improvisations.
Native Grandmothers from the Ogitchidakwe Council of Elders, whose mission is to help victims of physical and sexual violence in the Native community visited the group to share their stories with the Ikidowin youth.The teens developed improvisations based on the stories told by the grandmothers and some from their own experiences.
As the youth began to rehearse the play, Kirby and Morris wanted to include the Ogitchidakwe Grandmothers in the piece to tell their truths on the stage as the youth performed their scenes. The Grandmothers’ stories recount what happened in the Boarding schools –where their language, their clothes, their names were taken away, and where they were physically and sexually abused leading to the inter-generational historical trauma that the Native community continues to struggle with.
Everything is a Circle was performed at the Minnesota Indian Women Sexual Assault Coalition (MIWSAC) at their conference at the Grand Casino in Onamia in early April. The response was a standing ovation with many invitations to perform the piece in other Native communities. Many attendees remarked how important it was to have the youth break the silence about physical and sexual abuse and about the abuse that occurred in the Boarding Schools.
Illusion and Ikidowin are planning more performances of Everything is a Circle.
Details to follow.
Read more about The Ikidowin Peer Education Program