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Works by Mary Sue Price and Rhianna Yazzie Set for Readings Series at William Inge Center for the Arts, 11/8

Playwrights Mary Sue Price and Rhianna Yazzie, the current Playwrights-in-Residence for the William Inge Center for the Arts, at Independence Community College (ICC), will each have a play presented as part of our New Play Readings program on Saturday, November 8th at 2pm & 7pm.

Matachanna, by Rhianna Yazzie, is a co-commission with the Public Theater in New York City and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. The play will be part of OSF's United States History Cycle. Matachanna details a partly true, partly fictional account of a Powhatan woman named Matachanna. Lost to the retellings of history, in the play we learn she is a key player in the story of the founding of Jamestown and a close confidant of Pocahontas. Matachanna's story spans thirty years, and near the latter part of her life she takes residency in Massachusetts with a group of praying Indians and the famed Apostle to the Indians, John Elliot, whom she helps with the very first translation of the Bible on American soil, into the Natick Native American language. Matachanna will be presented Saturday, November 8th, at 2pm in the William Inge Theatre.

Mary Sue's brand-new piece, Chat Rats: Oronogo, is a full-length play set in Picher, Oklahoma, and in other parts of the Tri-State Mining District. It's about the Quapaw tribe, miners, and outsiders; generations poisoned by lead, and how the mines affected the lives of women in the area. Why was the Tri-State Mining District allowed to get polluted in the first place? How could this happen? And what gets left behind? Only the ghosts remain. That's where Chat Rats: Oronogo begins. Chat Rats: Oronogo will be presented Saturday, November 8th, at 7pm in the William Inge Theatre.

Both readings are free and open to the public.

In addition to bringing new plays to Independence, the readings will feature new and familiar faces including Adrienne Thompson, Cindy Long, Kim Gleason, Shawna Sunrise, Kenneth Ruthardt, James Shubinski, Quinlan Corbett, J.R. Matthews, Jennifer Bobiwash, Elizabeth Frances, and local actors from Independence: Don Farthing, Cherryvale: Megan Moore, along with ICC students Brad Gray, Miguel Rodriguez, Ben Groh and ICC faculty member Heather Mydosh.

Jane Unger returns to Independence to direct Chat Rats: Oronogo; and Lauren Keating is coming for the first time, to direct Matachanna.

Price grew up in Cassville, Missouri, and graduated from high school in Miami, Oklahoma. In high school, Mary Sue and her friends partied at the chat piles in Picher, Oklahoma. Her grandfather, like many small farmers in the Ozarks, worked in the lead and zinc mines to generate cash. He developed tuberculosis and spent months in the sanitarium in Mount Vernon, Missouri, and later died of emphysema.

Yazzie founded a theatre company dedicated to telling stories from a Native American perspective, New Native Theater in Minneapolis. In its four years, her company has been a sanctuary for a community that is still actively dealing with trauma. Her theater has given work to and mentored recovering and active drug/alcohol users, women fleeing domestic abuse, people who have been homeless, Native language speakers revitalizing their cultures, elders, students, and even a few native celebrities.

Since its inception in 2002, the Inge House residency program has brought nearly 50 professional playwrights to live and work in Independence, and teach high school students in local area schools.

Major funding for the Playwright Residency program is provided by The National Endowment for the Arts, which believes a great country should have great art.


Mary Sue Price's play, 'Billy the Bomber,' which originated at the 2012 Boston Theater Marathon, was a semi-finalist for the 2014 O'Neill Playwrights Conference. A staged reading of 'Billy the Bomber' was presented by the F.U.D.G.E. Theater Company at Boston Playwrights Theater in August 2014.

Ms. Price has won two Emmy Awards (2003, 2009) and a 2012 WGA Award as a member of the 'General Hospital' writing team. Her play, 'That Midnight Rodeo', is published in 'Take Ten,' a collection of ten-minute plays. It is frequently produced throughout the United States. Other plays include 'Back in Jesus Days,' 'Running Quarter Horses' and 'White River'. Her musical, 'Streets of Gold,' with music and lyrics by Robin and Linda Williams, was produced by Lost Nation Theater in Montpelier, Vermont in 2007. Several of her plays were produced in the Lab at the Circle Repertory Company where she was a member of the Playwrights Unit and the Circle Rep Lab.

A fifth-generation native of the Missouri Ozarks, Ms. Price has won the Berilla Kerr Foundation award, completed a residency at the Millay Colony and holds an MFA in Dramatic Writing from Tisch School of the Arts, New York University. She is a member of the Dramatists Guild and a Lifetime Member of the Writers Guild of America. After living in New York City for over 20 years, she now resides in Vermont.

Rhiana Yazzie is a Navajo playwright, director, and actor based in Minnesota. She is a two-time Playwrights' Center Jerome Fellow (2010/2011 and 2006/2007) and was a Playwrights' Center Core Member for three years. Her most recent projects include a joint commission from the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and the New York Public Theater to write a play for American Revolutions: the United States History Cycle. Rhiana also writes for young audiences, her play CHILE POD, commissioned by the La Jolla Playhouse, toured to 18,000 youth in Southern California schools and communities. She has been a resident at the biennial Bonderman National Theatre for Youth Symposium and The Kennedy Center's New Visions/New Voices. She created New Native Theatre in 2009, a company based in the Twin Cities; it is a new of looking at, thinking about, and staging Native American stories, Notable recent productions include Native Man the Musical and 2012: The Musical! She is working on a new radio comedy-drama series, Little Apple Big Apple about the highs and lows of being Native and living in the Twin Cities, a book of short stories, and a new musical comedy among other plays. Some of her work is published online in university libraries across the country through Alexander Street Press.

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