Geoff's Notes

Sun, 23 Jan 2005

The first meeting of our troupe is scheduled for 4:00 at the Alaska Native Heritage Center (ANHC). We discover that Charlie Hugo, representing the Iñupiac Native Heritage Center in Barrow, will be arriving later in the evening, so the rest of us begin the process of offering the stories and songs we have in mind, so Steven Alvarez, our Director, can work with us to fit the pieces together. The troupe consists of myself, Tobias Vanderhoop of the Wampanoag tribe on Matha's Vinyard, Jack Dalton, a Yupik storyteller from here, and two Hawaiians, Hi'ilani Shibata and Kealoha Kelekolio, along with our missing Charlie. The collaborating institutions are the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA, The New Bedford Whaling Museum, the Bishop Museum in Honolulu, the ANHC and the Iñupiac Center mentioned above.

In about four hours of work, with a dinner break on-site, we manage to lay out all the pieces we want to include, and put them in a possible order. This has meant for several of us the tearing apart of what we had in mind into smaller segments in order to create more interaction. In fact, the process is feeling more like deconstruction than putting something together. This project started five years ago as a three part presentation of stories and song from New England, Hawai'i and Alaska. Two years ago, when I first was involved, there was a desire to create a single performance piece, which we accomplished largely through my using songs as segues between storytelling segments from Martha's Vineyard, Hawai'i and Alaska. Last year, with the inclusion of another Yankee (Mark Lovewell from Martha's Vineyard) and stories from two areas of Alaska, we developed a more interactive program that was quite a success. Steven, who was our director last year as well, clearly likes that evolution, and is pushing us to shape this year's production with that in mind.

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