Post image for A Mixed-Blood Message

(This post is a part of the Diversity & Inclusion blog salon led by Online Curator Jacqueline E. Lawton for the 2013 TCG National Conference: Learn Do Teach in Dallas. Check out further Diversity & Inclusion interviews on Jacqueline’s blog.)

TCG Online Conference Salon: Diversity and Inclusion Program Arc–Native Theatre series

JACQUELINE LAWTON: First, tell me about the work you do as a theatre artist or administrator.

DIANE GLANCY: I write plays.  My latest, The Bird House, was produced by Native Voices at the Autry in LA, March 1-17, 2013.  It concerns native themes such as loss.  Reverend Hawk faces the downsizing of his congregation in a small Texas town.  He also has two sisters to provide for.  The subject of the play is fracking, and the different ways the land and the people have been affected by it.  I wanted to stretch the boundaries of native theater.  I wanted a native play that didn’t look native, but was.

JL: How do you identify in terms of race, ethnicity, culture, and heritage? How has this identity influenced the work that you do?

DG: My mother was English / German, and my father, mixed- blood Cherokee.  The heritage, of course, has left me with a mixed-blood message.  I feel a part of differences that don’t really mix.

JL: How has this identity impacted your ability to work in the American Theatre? Have certain opportunities been made available to you owing to “who” you are? Have certain doors been closed to you?

DG: I’m not sure.  I have worked with Native Voices at the Autry on four different plays, so that door definitely has been open.

JL: Do we need racial, ethnic and gender based culturally specific theaters? What is gained by having stories of a certain community told by artists of that community?
DG: Yes.  I think we’re still at the stage of explaining ourselves.  There are so many facets to race and culture.  Especially multi-heritages.  There are so many stories that need to be told.

JL: What is the current state of Native Theatre? (This can address recent offences and/or great accomplishments.)

DG: I think the state of native theater is good.  The Eagle Project in New York City and Native Voices at the Autry anchor the coasts.  I had a play produced by Oklahoma City Theater Company, though they produce non-native plays also.

JL: What can theatres do to better serve a larger and more inclusive community?

DG: Develop and produce more of their plays.

Playwright Diane Glancy is a professor at Azusa Pacific University in Azusa, California.  Native Voices at the Autry has previously produced three of her plays, Jump KissStone Heart and Salvage, which was featured in the Origins Festival, Riverside Studios, London, England.  In 2010, Glancy made her first independent film, The Dome of Heaven, which won Best Native American Film at the 2011 Trail Dance Film Festival in Duncan, Oklahoma.  A book of her essays, The Dream of a Broken Field, was published in 2011 by the University of Nebraska Press.  Two collections of her poems, Stories of the Driven World andIt Was Then, were published by Mammoth Press in 2010 and 2012.

Jacqueline E. Lawton received her MFA in Playwriting from the University of Texas at Austin, where she was a James A. Michener fellow. Her plays include Anna K; Blood-bound and Tongue-tied; Deep Belly Beautiful; The Devil’s Sweet Water; The Hampton Years; Ira Aldridge: Love Brothers Serenade, Mad Breed and Our Man Beverly Snow. She has received commissions from Active Cultures Theater, Discovery Theater, National Portrait Gallery, National Museum of American History, Round House Theatre and Theater J. A 2012 TCG Young Leaders of Color, she has been nominated for the Wendy Wasserstein Prize and a PONY Fellowship from the Lark New Play Development Center. She resides in Washington DC and is a member of Arena Stage’s Playwrights’ Arena.