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Indian Midsummer

April 27 @ 7:30 pm  |  Experimental Theater


In May of 2014, celebrated writer Ursula K. Le Guin gave a reading of her work in Santa Cruz as a keynote to a conference on the question of the Anthropocene. She was joined on stage by professors at UCSC, James Clifford and Donna Haraway, also celebrated for their philosophical thinking in anthropology and the sciences. That event provided a journey from Clifford’s critical essays on the story of anthropologist Alfred Kroeber and Ishi, the last Yahi, who emerged from the California forest in 1911 and Le Guin’s familial past as the daughter the Kroebers — her speculative writing founded in the California landscape, to Le Guin’s influence on Haraway’s seminal feminist work in animal-human relationships.

What emerges in this retelling is a story of our past into the future, presented here in three short plays: the emergence of Ishi, his tribal extinction and brief friendship with Alfred Kroeber; the struggle of the utopian vision of Ursula Le Guin; and the speculative future of Haraway’s story, “Camille.” The stories are layered one upon the other in the backdrop of the Shakespearean narrative, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, a dream induced by fairy powder in the redwood forest of Santa Cruz, and retold by Ishi himself, along with Puck and Mowgli. (K.Y.)

The musical context layers represent Mother Nature’s dislike of disruptive delays in harmonic resonance and lack of organic empathy. Saturn is symbolic of a karmic imprint that emerges within consciousness relating to the natural world and the impact of human activity on its condition resulting from individually and collectively evolved experiences. It represents challenges carried from past incarnations from which our destiny evolves. Thus, “Saturn’s Return” is an astrological time of reckoning where we take responsibility for entire life cycles. It is a period of great transformation and enhanced awareness of who we are, our inherent goals, and our evolution patterns. (K.H.)

Emeritus Professor Karen Tei Yamashita, librettist (UCSC Literature Department)
Professor Karlton Hester, composer (“Santa Cruz Balledrama”, Music Department and DANM)
Professor Marianne Weems, Theatrical Consultant (Theater Arts Department)
Professor Yangxi, choreographer (& MUC students, Taotao Huang, and Yaxuan Xu)
Mandjou Kone, choreographer
Steph Layton, cinematographer
Heeyoung Choi, music stage manager
Ronaldo Lopes de Oliveira, artist
Amaya Walsh Saldivar, theatrical stage manager
Dramaturgy by Lucy Mae S.P. Burns

This event is part of UC Santa Cruz American Indian Resource Center’s IndigeFest 2024: Celebrating Indigenous Cultures of the Americas. An afternoon of performances, music, food, and fun with a raffle and opportunities to learn about the Indigenous communities on campus, in Santa Cruz, and beyond! Food & refreshments from Cowell Coffee Shop will be served for all who attend, this event is open to the public!

Indigefest: A Celebration of Indigenous Cultures from Across Turtle Island, also known as Drum Feast! IndigeFest is an annual event hosted by the AIRC to share the cultures, songs, dances, and arts of Indigenous people in a pan-tribal celebration of fellowship, respect, and empowerment. This year, Indigefest will take place on April 27th, 2024 from 12:00-4:00 PM at UC Santa Cruz’s Quarry Amphitheater.

The UCSC Digital Arts and New Media Program, Arts Division, Chancellor’s Office, Humanities Division, the Humanities Institute, and Music Department are co-sponsoring the “April in Santa Cruz Annual Festival”: a month-long series of free concerts featuring works by UC Santa Cruz faculty and graduate students.


April 27
7:30 pm


Experimental Theater
Experimental Theater
Santa Cruz, CA 95064 United States
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