Essay, Pages 4 (752 words)
If you believe that you are a “woke” person, you should probably consider going to see the comedy that has been brought to Lyric Stage in Boston because is was written by Larissa Fasthorse, who is a Native American playwright. Even if you don’t consider yourself to be a “woke” person, I think you should still come on by and check out The Thanksgiving Play, because its not something you would expect. The Thanksgiving Play is set in an elementary school classroom where a group is getting together and is trying to come up with a 45-minute play that shows respect to Native American Heritage Month, and the audience will be elementary school children.
Among the group of 4 is Logan (Amanda Collins), who is a drama teacher at the school and also had directed other things plays before; Jaxton (Jesse Hinson), who is Logan’s Boyfriend that also performs, and gives her a water bottle that is “made from broken windows in housing projects”; Caden (Barlow Adamson), who is a history teacher but also his love for theatre, and has his book with him to make sure that this play is accurate; and Alicia (Grace Experience), who is an actress from Los Angeles who was cast in this play only because of her Native American Heritage.
When Jaxton and Alicia meet for the first time in the play, Jaxton tells her “I have always been drawn to your ways.” Unluckily, we find out here that there was a mistake because Alicia wasn’t even Native American at all, but she was “English and French and a little Spanish.
” Then we also find out that she was mistakenly hired for the play because of her “Native American Headshot.” We also notice the play zestfully tries to break down political correctness by plot elements such as how it is Logan’s goal to make a “culturally sensitive” play that is about Native American Heritage Month and how it focuses on “the slaughter of millions of animals,” despite Logan’s veganism, and Jaxton’s persistence to get to the basis of the “Native American gestalt.”
In the play, we notice Caden confidently tries to set the historical record straight about Native American Heritage Month and its beginnings, while Alicia is horrifying the others with her joyful memory of when she would play “frozen turkey bowling” when she was a child. “They call them Butterballs, but they’re really not shaped like balls,” she would explain. Mutual dynamics would also enter into the play when we see that both men end up finding themselves irresistibly drawn to the attractive and appealing but not very bright Alicia. We then see Logan’s become insecure and jealous, but Alicia tells her not to worry about it because Logan could be the same with a little bit of makeup and a lesson on how to do the “hair-flip” What we notice are a scatter with the scenes that are portraying the play’s disorderly creation and some of them are the several holiday skits and musical numbers, which included all of the actors to dress up as pilgrims and a turkey which satire “The Twelve Days of Christmas.”
Also, there were some comical jokes, one of them was about if it was spelled “theater” or “theatre” and another was, what precisely does a dramaturg do? Throughout the play, some of the jokes didn’t seem to land with me, and even though it was a short 90-minute play, it made it seem that most of it just was dragged on. But in the end, the play did provide lots of wild moments, and under the genius direction of Scott Edmiston (who is the recipient of the 2011 Elliot Norton Award for Sustained Excellence for his artistic body of work, also joined the Conservatory in 2019 as the dean of theater and is also said by the Boston Globe to be “one of Boston’s finest directors.”), the performers’ wild turns make the characters seem lovable as they are crazy. Overall, The Thanksgiving Play seems to start off with a strong belief, which is to erase the sometimes violent but also fairly meaning of Native Americans is not only history but also the present of the country. But the play makes that point by the time we come to the end of the play. In the end, we notice that there still has to be some sort of play, but a play, in the darkest of satires, we not only need a target but you also need some heart.