April 4, 2023

Pangea World Theater and Intermedia Arts present, “Curiosities”, by Heid E. Erdrich and directed by Pangea World Theater’s Artistic Director Dipankar Mukherjee. Performances run November

Curiosities moves between centuries to reveal how much contemporary American Indian identity is determined by history from the 1800’s. The performance features dance, visual art, Ojibwe Hymn singing, contemporary and traditional American Indian music, and media to show how much the images of nearly 200 years ago haunt us today.

This work is in honor of the Ojibwe men and women who died in Europe while traveling as “curiosities” on display and for American Indian artists and intellectuals who struggle with “performing Indian,” still today.

“Heid Erdrich’s play Curiosities is a powerful and poetic critique of the politics of gaze and perception of and by the Native community,” states Dipankar Mukherjee. “Curiosities was commissioned by Pangea a few years ago and has been in development since that time. We invite artists like Heid with unique visions who are rephrasing the boundaries of theater and creating a new nomenclature responsive to current times.”

Curiosities features Heidi Berg, Marisa Carr, Andrea Fairbanks, Devery Fairbanks, Garry Geiken, Armando Gutierrez G., Valley Hintzen, R. Vincent Moniz Jr., Stuart Perkins, Landon Randolph, Margaret Reid, Sophia Sarenpa with Lighting Designer Mike Wangen, Set Designer Dan Rein, Costume Designer Carolann Winther, Traditional Consultant Ona Knoxsah, Video/Media Artist Pallas Erdich, and Assistant Director Andrea Assaf.

“Maungwudas, the main character of Curiosities, is my co-narrator and inspiration for this play,” states Heid Erdrich. “His voice struck me as at once amused, amazed, and aware of great loss. His commentary on European attitudes in the 1840’s still resonates with me today, especially on days when I cannot comprehend things like Capitol Punishment, the study of indigenous bodies and bones–even kindness to strangers as a universal human urge.”

Erdrich is the winner of the 2009 Minnesota Book Award and has authored three books of poetry: Fishing for Myth, New Rivers Press; The Mother’s Tongue, Salt Publishing; National Monuments, Michigan State University Press. She also co-edited Sister Nations: Native American Women on Community from Minnesota Historical Society Press.

A member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Ojibway, Heid grew up in Wahpeton, North Dakota.  Since 2007, Heid has served as Curator and Director for All My Relations Arts a contemporary American Indian fines arts initiative of the Native American Community Development Institute. Curiosities, first work shopped by Pangea in 2005, is her first play.

The Indigenous Voices Series was created in 2001 by Pangea World Theater to explore issues in the indigenous agenda, focusing not only on internal details but also wider global and national contexts. In this series, local, national and international indigenous performers raise issues that affect their community – issues of identity, rights, struggles and experiences through the performing arts.

Mukherjee is the Artistic Director of Pangea World Theater, an international theater in Minneapolis that is a progressive space for arts and dialogue. He is a professional director originally from Calcutta, India and has a 25-year history of directing. His foundation of aesthetics in collaborative and creative projects have been shaped by the intersection of art, politics and human rights. He has collaborated with playwrights, poets, visual artists, performance artists, dancers, theater and media artists in India, England, Canada and the US. He joined the artistic community of the Twin Cities as the Resident Director at the Guthrie Theater.

Curiosities showtimes are Thursday, November 18, 7:30 p.m., Friday, November 19, 10 a.m. and 7:30 p.m., Saturday, November 20, 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., and Sunday November 21, 4:00 p.m. Post-performance discussions on Friday and Saturday.

All shows take place at Intermedia Arts, 2822 Lyndale Avenue South, Minneapolis. Tickets are $12 with discounts for students, seniors and groups of 10 or more. Call Intermedia Arts Box Office at 612-871-4444 or visit www.intermediaarts.org.

Pangea World Theater (www.pangeaworldtheater.org) illuminates the human condition, celebrates cultural differences, and promotes human rights by creating and presenting international, multi-disciplinary theater.

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