NAWPA: Ghost Dance Synopsis

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Ghost Dance: A Play in Two Acts
by Carolyn Dunn

Stone Mother: an ageless spirit of the Paiute tribe.
Wovoka: Paiute Messiah, mid 50s.
Alexander Berryhill: 30 years old , Muskogee journalist and editor in Oklahoma early part of the 20th century. Educated at Yale, very traditional upbringing, very modern life.
Azelie Ridge Berryhill: 25-30 years old, Alex’s wife, mixed blood Cherokee, a teacher. Highly educated, highly ambitious.
Sally Hummingbird: an Indian domestic in the home of the Berryhills, played by Stone Mother.
Cvti (pronounced “Jah-di”) Day: 30 years old, a Creek Indian who works for the Indian agency as a land broker.
The Ancestors: can either be actors who watch silently, played by the other actors who play Azelie and Day, or representations of ancestor spirits, achieved through lighting or scene paintings.

There are four songs that occur within the play. The first is a Grand Entry song (“Hapiya Mishmiki”) that occurs in Scene 1; the Grandmother’s song, a woman’s honor song that Stone Mother sings in Scene 3; Snow Dancers, an honor song that serves as the Ghost Dance song for the play (in Scenes 3, 4, and 7). These songs are by Carolyn Dunn and James Anderson and Maggie Escobedo Steele and should be notated musically in production notes.