(Photo by UAA Dept. Theatre & Dance. Used with permission.)
Can a man live in two worlds?
This play was suggested by the life of Tlingit Native American Louis Shotridge (born Klukwan, Alaska, around 1886; died Sitka, Alaska, 1937). Shotridge was the son of the last traditional chief of the Whale House Clan. To this day he is a controversial figure among the Tlingit people.
Louis Shotridge, an ambitious, high-caste Tlingit, thinks he can reconcile his traditional Tlingit upbringing and his Western education by becoming an anthropologist. He tries to collect the last pieces of ceremonial value to his own culture for the University Museum in Philadelphia. He believes he is doing the right thing, but when his wife takes sick, he is forced to steal powerful sacred objects from his ancestral clan house in order to pay for the best western-style medical care for her. When she dies, he must steal a sacred object from the Museum in order to bury her properly. Like the man in the Tlingit myth who marries a bear, Louis Shotridge learns that when a man tries to live in two worlds, he becomes an outscast in both.
Cast: Nine men; five women
Produced by the University of Alaska Anchorage, 1995. Directed by Michael Hood.
Staged reading by Perseverance Theatre, Juneau, Alaska