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Portland Center Stage 031818

Mar 14, 2018|

AN INTERVIEW WITH DELANNA STUDI, AUTHOR AND PERFORMER OF AND SO WE WALKED, AND MICHELLE WEISENBACH, PRESIDENT OF KEYBANK FOR OREGON AND SW WASHINGTON, ABOUT DELANNA’S PERFORMANCE OF HER MEMOIR AND JOURNEY ALONG THE TRAIL OF TEARS AT THE ARMORY AND THE SUPPORT OF KEYBANK IN THE ARTS.

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Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)

This is microscope and Entercom radio Portland public affairs program. I'm Gary blocks and on this show when we can we like to support the arts in and around the Portland metro area. And this time we're joining up with keybank to support a very special performance. Under the scope this time I would like to welcome go on a student Delonte is the author and performer of the plays and so we walked in artist's journey along the trail of tears. And also welcoming Michelle wise mock president of keybank for Oregon and southwest Washington highly these women to show a lot of him. So I'm Michelle we get started with human find out why keybank is sponsoring the show and in what it means to be involved and influence people like this. Their reasons since that day show first. Cut our attention and it and intrigued us about a sponsorship wise. Really looking at the message behind it and seeing that or are always looking for opportunities to. Spot late new and innovative things seen this is play that is being written by a woman and a native American woman at that. And we're really looking for opportunities to shine a spotlight on women's voices being heard I think it's very timely. Given you know all that's going on in that the workplace today. And it also is packed. It being an opportunity to do something in the arts which is something that we are always looking to support. And B Adam to get behind in a way and so when I heard the story of what this was. I was something when we got to get behind it and really see what we can do TU I am shine a spotlight on it. They think for philanthropy. In key is always looking for ways to really help our community strife. And look for how we can support things that too am creative vibrant and am for aviation is. And training community where people can live and work and be productive and have been engaged and I am. Supported life. This keybank have been involved importance in estate before is this for simply do in this. We've been longtime supporters have parlance and her stage I think this may be the first time that we're actually. Sponsoring a production like this. And so it's been a fine tune delve into NC with that means and how we can get involved and being gauged and they said really shine a spotlight on something that we think is a very innovative production and I'm an hour market. Can we talk about the production and London tell me about what's what's the show. So and so we walked so three years ago my father and I decided to retrace my family's footsteps along the northern route vitriol tears. Starting in North Carolina and going all 990 miles Oklahoma. And I wrote a play about people encountered along the way. What's fascinating is when I first or your writing a play and it was an about me or my father is mostly about the people he met along the way. And our first out of workshop that people were asking me what what's your story right humor about who was elected on the ropes your jacket that I didn't really wanna talk about that. And then my producer director query that in. Made me start talking about myself and so now the plays a very personal journey. Which is very terrifying and despite this curious never had to do I mean I'm an actor of course that. I get to hide behind another character in this play I have to be myself and to share personal stories. It's mostly verbatim theater and the fact that the words face and say onstage. Servers are actually spoken to me along the way. And the conversations I have with my doctor actual conversations that I had and it deals this. Historical trauma and intergenerational trauma and how we overcome that and in the trailer tears was a defining point of my people. It doesn't define who we are and so how to read rise above. Tell us about your background and her kids so I'm Cherokee summit document its citizen of the Cherokee Nation from the Oklahoma. My father is what they call old speaker courage of full blood his firstly which was Cherokee until it was into boarding school. And I mother's German Irish so I grew up in between worlds so I would go to ceremony of my dad and go to church my mother. And I learned how to navigate between those well it's in fact my name is Delon and gave us today. Which ensured he means golden gate my father named after a bridge second bridge that gap between his people on my mother's people. That's super cooled he can be while the at a super columned and a jealous right now. The Libyans not on any key chains or pencils they were I McCain anywhere I thought that the. Yeah I'm sure when you're doing gift shop at your name's not super common a what did you this is probably a big question what did you learn on this journey what was what was that like. I'm my goodness it was them. Irish creed it's like a pilgrimage. So for me my family never knew where we had lived there for the treatment tiers know when America and we spoke about it because this is so painful. And so I was able to find our homestead and it's my father back to where we started in North Carolina in the small town cut Murphy. And the house is still there and at certain times you can see it just underwater because the government AM. I was able to my father about your homes and CO for the first time. And it's. You know I group hearing all these stories about. Our creation and we reach terminal these. Stories about sacred places in Oklahoma and those places and there you don't know where they are and being able to go back to Cherokee North Carolina. And go to did you which is the mound the mother town of the Cherokee. We've forgiven Arafat first laws and our first fire. I just if you're just walking out of that little mound just doesn't look like much to people who don't know. All of us and it still every part of my body vibrating. And I realize I'm again as I'm home. I made it home and so. That was the probably most rewarding moment for me and in being able to take my father there. Eggs you're getting what you're hearing is talking about it because you don't realize you're missing until you get to that space and I know. Necessary do you think this is our history these are people on this army of and we still there today for the super powerful it was it was really I was expecting to be so overcome by emotion I. I like to think of it myself as a fairly tough persons. It was that China's rewarding experience of and then to be able to get that. Father. Wonderful while super cool what then what was it like doing that trouble with your dad I and I think of illegal traveling with my parents. May be new wouldn't be so fun. Well it's good he is my father and I are the same person. Which is wonderful I'm so let's not in a I feel so we know how to push each other's buttons and I tell my mother it was going to be a six week journey which is me my father. Hurts her first response was oh my god please until each other right because for the same person and it's great until it's not and so I am. So it was either challenging and also very wonderful at the same time. He'd get really upset because now he's asked him how he was doing everything is UK he knew water and do it on my gosh we kneel on. I'm the happiest he's older he's seventy he is he's diabetic keys as macular degeneration. Congestive heart failure chronic kidney disease your name and my father has and so my job was to keep him alive the joke I had was this is not a reenactment. He has survived the lock and we have to get back to Oklahoma. And you know so that was challenging and also exciting I can only get tired of me always checking in on myself checking on him. But it was wonderful to spend that time with him on the road and two. Here we are always very close when I was younger but this I think this was it really brought us together we had a huge fight at the end it we were able to overcome that. What does he think of the play only can this my brother's very he's he's a reason why we have a stereotype of civic Indians. So he's a man of few words and so he saw a production of it and North Carolina Triad stage and we Cherokee don't normally talk about ourselves or brag about what we do. So. You have to ask the question you want to sponsor information and so our director Craig Matt and so and so Thomas and you think of the production and my husband says. I didn't get sleepy at all. Which is is complement of it was good you know that that's that's that's as close as you get with my father he's just that man and so. You know I play my father and IE share a lot of the fights that we have and a lot of discussions discussions that we had along the way and Corey was like hey I feel like your living thing out of our last argument peace we feel like you're leaving something out of that and him. And think he needs and again and so I. I called my father innocent so pops into Kory wants me to do to fight that we had and she has muted. And Morse a minute musical do you have and he said this line that was remember when we were in heated arguments just cut me to my core rate. And it's a no I don't have done is like. Why don't you have that puzzle recently had to fight and so he guides me on what I am allowed to say and so everything I have is cleared through him and my mother. And so every conversation with my family about my family is that it to my family. So. Even though I'm technically though the writer of the piece. They had a theory there instrumental to the process. Well it it's a 11 person's own comparisons you're doing the whole thing yes I don't play if I ask how was 27 characteristic. And I don't but different people I meet along the way to mostly my family like I did the main church and a piece would probably my father and myself. And so that was always time for me justice which are rich my dad and I find. I mean is delayed a studio and onstage and you start getting nervous which will happen because you know anger on stage in front of hundreds of people cheering every personal story. I'm the most I the most muscles and whenever I switch over into the character my father. And grounded to relaxed just somehow of channeling his energy. Helps me find myself. That super cool yes so I'm hoping he's gonna try to make it out this production has now isn't the best that. I'm delivering to see it here Tony about the new performance when women weren in working we get tickets and I get a says it released in a stage at the armory. Our first previews march 31 we opened April 6 and ran until May thirteenth I believe they're a total of 48 performances both Matt knees evening performances. If you go to the prisoners staged website you can find tickets that are available. And also check your dates because some of the service I can't believe it's happening or selling out until. And limited seating on and I think over seventeen of them so. I would say get tickets as soon as possible. Yes I've been to be very solid up five of the shows which I never dreamed that would happen. So I am this is a very exciting time for me also view your fingers it's like. And monitor oh my god this is going to happen in oh my god this and half a cup huh. We're talking today it would delay in the studio author and performer of the play and so we walked and also Michelle wise mock president of keybank for organ southwest Washington. Michelle about the show what what intrigued you about this particular show that keybank went to support. This show delay is a something that was really unique that we sat coming up in the market and it is really about it celebrating women's voices. I eating it's a proud to telling stories in May real different than our own. And we Yasser really blood of the notion is the fact that there are you know three plays being produced in the state of Oregon letter written by women that I am our native American and I mean how often do you have something like that happen it's just yet incredibly unique. And it's happening here or again so we couldn't Nat. Get behind something that was so compiling. I am also really let this week you know we're thinking about is threatening communities and how would be great partners just that this story of it the inner generational. I'm communication and you know we we all have parents whale who have kids in on how we work together. CU I am ticked communicate that in to come preserve our our history and our legacy is am a wonderful thing to. To support and Ted be able to get behind and share with our communities. Do you think you'd ever doing the jury like that was. Owing on my mother and I would killing each other I'm I guess the humid day in my grandmother also is and and a little bit trailer house and and we shall still of the USS furlong time but it does is 'cause usually get old everything to to think about how you. Reach out tear parents and and here. And their life's journey because it's so important to the fist history of your feeling and then how do you pay it forward and ensure that with your own children. Yeah I'll have a group. The door and and a big undertaking would put them what inspired you to do this I'm making this was something I've always wanted to do and one of the principles. That my people really strives to uphold is this term cog on duty which is the coming together of a community to celebrate. Promote and support each other. And everything I have. Ever done in my careers always been in the spirit of god Dickie how do we give back in your business wire and I love that this partnership is happening in your sponsorships of them do things you. That is how do you get back to the community how can you better serve the communities that your and and so for me. You know during this welcome my father was something I've always religious you are always an easy go back to their old home place I always wanted to. Be back home and you know. My fathers and older there aren't very many. First speakers this language last and so that was very important to me and my father. It's a chance to go back home and speak his language to his people. And to have that conversations a lot of our interviews were done in Cherokee were my father would translate it forests and you'd be speaking to the elders and you know where. Our language is on the verge of extinction in the fact that. Only people above childbearing age can speak it and those. Under the age of ten so we don't have to in between because what happens is. They don't Wenzel Barnett at home than they go to public school for their force is speaking English in the link which dies. And they don't carry on with them past childbearing age and university elders who respect we have for the boarding schools. They're passing on and so how to get those stories down having Keith relinquished knowing how to we keep our culture alive and so for me. You know one of the other undertakings and this was I when it. To tell this story hour as a native actress I never get to play a role that. Showcases who we are is as women as in a powerful resilience strong. It was very important for me to. To do a piece rated like I was sacrificing my gender my culture. And also in the same way I am teaching people about the history of our people which is. And it is should be part of our shared American history that's not being taught completely or fully in any classes preschools and when she purposely take a native studies class. And it's I think it's vital two we are as a people and remember this and we talk about it is we're never gonna overcome amnesty these difficult conversations. When you started. Started this journey did you intend to turn it into performed. I guess originally wanted to to be a performance it's so funny. As my director producer it was all like serendipity to read this happened I was working with her and another play in Los Angeles. And when the actors became ill and had to step out at the last second Scioscia this you know this. This obstacle like to be casting you actor and or this person in that two days before reopening or do we just give. This role is so that's our cast and so she decided to give liberal Khamese I'm doing two girls now. And she's and you have to the challenge and suggests we rehearse the play during the day but the cast mango and rehearse privately with her for liberalized picking up. And when I know over dinner she said what your dream project. And I said I wanna watch the trailer tears my father ran a play about it. Just like you look at that often happens for you and the six months later she gets this job which allows her to do this project. That is something I always wanted to do and I always want to write a play about it just because. As we need a woman I can keep waiting for people write stories for me it's not gonna happen I'll never get to play in. Foley's you know three dimensional woman I'll always be a serial type and for our native women you know it's your exotic type princess or you're the victim. And that's not who Miami has not who I want. The younger generations of native women. To see. That's people file. Tell us about them the production of the show what what Torre UC when we when we come to the play. So I'm I'm very excited about the production of this as just because. I have some of the best designers and the world they're amazing and so. It was very important to me that we doing it the cheery key race of the story is not live there. We Indians series joke and we love circles and so. So present native ways we we do everything in a circle so the stage is actually set up like a seven siting council house of the Cherokee. And so it becomes a sacred spaces is sacred storytelling space and we go in and out of you know modern day history and also the dream world. It was so funny on the trail all I had so many dreams about. Where was when I was doing an awesome Cherokee dreams like about the difference part of our cosmology. And so the dreams are they made on the play. I was visited on my grandmother's Amir's is really interesting about how I happen. And I am I'm a big dork I'm very hopeful for a resurgent oriented type person. And so my father made a rule with me it's and we don't talk about in the Plavix humane liberal with music I will go on this journey with you. You cannot be buried in books the whole time so in fact I invite you to do is rely awesome thing we called blood memory. And that your body will remember if it's meant to be mentioned happens I want you to visit all these places and just see what comes up and right about that. And then later you can research place and see fit responsibly are feeling. An air allowed me to trust my intuition and it was. Very good it helped build my confidence I think the whole part of the play and been just me in general was. I was trying to prove to my father that I was with Cherokee woman. And never really had to prove that it is too I am and so. By having him restrict me on doing my research and just letting me feel feelings I was able to fully embrace for what it was. He knew I guess huh oh that's wonderful while super cool. What are you hoping that the audience takes a look Michelle I'm thinking is I hope they take away that it's a universal story. I mean yes it's a cherry human. Perspective on history and and life in general but I think we all have moments where we relate to it. And I think it's a very important story to be told and I hope it'll influence proper teaching her children schools. Missile bit ago you've movements in the third two other. Performance is going on around the state about the same time people can either one of you talk to an attack about the best. Instead of everything except Adam sender area excited and also little biased. We got creative player rates that are going to be in the state of Oregon and doing three native plays at theaters that don't normally do need a plays and all three have women directors. So. Right now it's organs extra festival we have when my best friends Mary Catherine Eagles she's also Cherokee Nation. I she's doing manna had a and is being direct about Hillary brewery and then we have risen fast horse another good friend of mine actually virtually risen into this actor back in the day. And I've read a lot of her work as well she is Lakota and she's doing the things skipping play which is going to be artistry that's. And it's accurate to my image Wheeler and then there's my play. Which we just talked about it and thought of going to again. The Symbian parlance there's agents and restricted by cream happens. Hey it was a very just. Very unique to have these three stories being told. In or again at the same time and it just flood that they are all these really powerful women voices that we get an opportunity need to hear. In just it within our very own boundaries and boarders here. Do you think it's really embolden and stuff like this complex. Things like TU is support those projects that we think are meaningful and valuable we are I am very supportive. And you plan to PM in our area it's it core value for keybank and looking at how we support its rating communities and driving futures. And you from a full on through the full answer B perspective. It really is round focusing on those things which are. We hear from our clients from our neighbors from our business partners and they think are important to the states who'd use things like education and workforce development affordable housing. And small business. Financial literacy. You all listings say it I think everyone would agree are really important. But we are still like to find those places where we can be supportive of the arts is I think when you think after raiding communities it isn't that if you don't also had some stained. Today it opens your mind allows you to see things in a different way. Brings about creativity. And I think really engages your your heart in your soul and that there is a story that's being told through whatever medium it is. So we are always looking for the right project TT get behind him beset part of van and I think this land is just such and wonderful example. As something that we should all. And take a moment and investigate and learn more about and if we have an opportunity to go to parlance and worst agent and see the production itself. Hello does it mean to have that support from from keybank. It's something I never even dreamed. You know I was. When I wrote the piece I honestly never thought we get produced and then I thought male perhaps I'll do readings of it you know at different universities across Indian Country. And posit the community houses and for reservations I had. No idea that we have this opportunity to be at one of the biggest regional theaters in the country being supported by so many wonderful people. So I have moments very carefully as is happening in my terrified that this is a dream and wake up from. So I'm just Israel I know very great flaw and it's it's. It's very start that the play rusty bigger than what I wanted it to be and I'm being forced to make it bigger and allow it to grow and so this has been such a wonderful opportunity for me. And you know we always like about him being at a solo performance that the truth is there's so many hands that are making it possible that new. And the news is every bit earlier cast of thousands behind the scenes that are making it possible that I'm here and I'm able to share my story ends. So it's wonderful to have these people that are going on this journey with me and I have been so supportive so I'm just beyond grateful so. And Hugo. Senior outcome would have rehearsals been like so far of today's our first ever that's all it is yes nice I'm very excited it's also like the first day of school. I like analytical kids like me. And they will be it'll be fun and it's and it's in the team that we have its airport was or stays team arm our stage manager is the wonderful Merck Tynan. And I worked with him on the straight part one impart to use I feel like we have a really great bond. And of course my directors lying and says she's had to piece for three years now also we've been fine tuning it. So it'll be interesting to do it here in Portland for a different audience does he want to. East between eight to make it more presentable during the last minute we have here give us all the first previous march 31 we opened April 6 and ran until May thirteenth there's a total of forty performances both Matt niece in the evenings and tickets are on so that the Portland since age web site. 48 performances as you say you're in the Michigan guerrilla for an hour I'm going to be okay. That's also congratulations thank you who has been missile go. I know look I'm gonna go and preserve I've got my tick that's already. Been penned ethic thanks apple you've been on sort of finding appealing. The microscope is an Entercom radio Portland public affairs program I'm Gary blocks and if you're involved with the nonprofit. The public affairs organization or do you have an idea for an upcoming show I'd like to hear from you. This is the microscope PDX dot com and submit your ideas you can also go to the station's website and submit your information there. Thanks for listening to metros go and enjoy the rest of your weekend.