BetweenTheLines Theatre and MT + NYC Collaborative have teamed up to present The Buffalo Play. Inspired by real events in Yellowstone National Park during the spring of 2016, The Buffalo Play creates a poetic world in the confluence between wildness and media culture. As a city woman, a rancher, and two bison turn a Montana jail cell into a landscape of personal history, they move from conflicting ideals and grow towards creating and traversing common ground. This satirical, magical realism theatrical event will be devised and performed in Missoula, Montana before moving to New York City for a three-week run co-produced by The Tank.
What is The Buffalo Play?
The Buffalo Play uses magical realism to tell the story of an east coast social justice worker grappling with the consequences of her well-meaning but misguided actions resulting in the death of a bison calf during her trip to Yellowstone National Park. This catalyzes a series of events, both within the cell, and throughout the country, as the incident becomes a part of the 24-hour news cycle. When The Woman finds herself held in a jail cell with a bison cow (the mother of the calf she killed) and local rancher as her cell mates, she must reckon with her worldview and understanding of nature. This unlikely trio bends and sways with the mutability of time and space, delving into their individual ancestral lineages, and together, face the storm of Life. Over the course of the play, the jail cell is slowly overtaken by nature; grass grows up through the floor, a wall is replaced by a stream, and the boundaries of space are redefined.
Why is it important?
This challenging multimedia exploration is a grassroots project with major implications for two very different communities. 100% of funds raised will go toward the creation of the project and transportation of the show in its entirety from The Mountain West to The East Coast. Missoula to NYC. In our attempt to blur the lines between urban and rural stories, we look forward to sharing this story with each audience. The Buffalo Play asks where the divisiveness of the current socio-political climate might end? It shows the limitations of the "talking heads" in media, themes of judgement surrounding motherhood, and the value of understanding both individual and collective history as a means of contextualizing the present moment. It also explores questions of the domestication of the human spirit in the Anthropocene. It intentionally introduces these themes without offering definitive answers in an attempt to spark imagination and conversation. It seeks to open the space between perspectives, exposing the flaws in single-minded world views, and offers the suggestion of at least attempting to widen the scope of perspective to foster a healthier existence.
When can I see it?
The Buffalo Play will be devised, workshopped, and rehearsed during the month of March 2019. Our performance dates in Missoula, MT are mid-April. We then move to The Tank in Midtown Manhattan for three weekends in May.
Who is involved?
Kendra Mylnechuk, Producer/Writer/Actress (Bison)
Kendra is a Native (Lummi) theatre artist and filmmaker. Her film performances screened at Sundance, Tribeca, SXSW, and festivals around the world. In 2013, she won best actor in NBC/Universal Pictures Short Cuts Film Festival. NY theatre includes both off and off-off Broadway venues. Regional work includes a national tour as Shelby in Steel Magnolias for MT Rep, and productions in LA, OR, and MT. She developed a theatre program at N'Kwusm Salish language school on the Blackfeet Reservation with William Yellowrobe, created and implemented 2017 curriculum for MCPS on Native American Studies using theatre in education techniques, and presented work at Thinking Its Presence '15 and '17, a conference on race, creative writing, and literary study. In 2015, she co-founded MT+NYC Collaborative, and directed two of the company's first productions: "The Woodstove," and "Dido of Idaho", and performed in "The Wolf". With BetweentheLines, she directed last year's "In the Snow." Kendra is currently working on a documentary called DAUGHTER OF A LOST BIRD about her adoption and reunion with her biological mother and Native heritage.
Ciara Rose Griffin, Producer/Writer/Actress (Woman)
Ciara Rose Griffin is a multidisciplinary artist whose inspired makeup creations have been seen on Good Morning America, The Late Night Show with David Letterman, Tribeca Film Festival, Fangoria, Vogue Online, Bust Magazine Online, Glamour, Refinery 29, and Comedy Central. Her NYC theatrical work includes FCKNLZ on Broadway (Museum of Art and Design), Three Day Hangover's Twelfth Night, or Sir Toby Belch's Lonely Hearts Club Band, The Hamlet Project, Spem in Alium (MT + NYC Collaborative), and Astronauts Wanted (Dixon Place). Recent Montana credits include Dido of Idaho, and The Woodstove. Film credits include The Triangle, The Case of Josephine H, and Two Guys. In 2005 Ciara became a founding member of The Buttenik Ensemble (Butte Montana, Seattle Washington) and spend several years at Annex Theatre in Seattle as a company and staff member. In 2015 Ciara founded the MT + NYC Collaborative with Kendra Mylnechuk Potter. Since its conception the MT + NYC Collaborative has been an incubator for new works through a works in progress monthly reading series, productions, and writers retreats.
Sukha Belle Potter, Actress (Baby Bison)
Sukha is a 5 year old of Lummi descent born in Brooklyn, currently living in Montana. She had her performing debut in critically acclaimed 2016 film Buster's Mal Heart by Sarah Adina Smith. Her work on that film solidified her desire to play all the time, which she does. She is the daughter of theatre artist Kendra Mylnechuk Potter and playwright Tyler Potter.
Mason Wagner, Director/Producer
Mason is a creator, director, actor, and producer based in Missoula, MT where he serves as the Artistic Director of BetweenTheLines Theatre. His love for Nature and open spaces brought him from his home in Upstate New York to the Mountain West. Mason founded BetweenTheLines in May of 2016, and has since produced ten new and/or critically-acclaimed contemporary scripts. Directing credits: The Flick, Constellations, Stupid F*cking Bird, Danny and the Deep Blue Sea, and AD for In The Snow (BetweenTheLines); 1984 (Pendragon Theatre Regional Tour); and Denmark is a Prison (international collaboration with the Moradokmai Theatre School in Thailand). Mason holds a BFA in Acting from the University of Montana and recently trained with SITI Company during their month-long intensive. Regional acting credits include national tours of The Great Gatsbyand All My Sons (Montana Repertory Theatre); The Aliens, 4000 Miles(BetweenTheLines); Look Back In Anger (Roothead Studio) and PVT. Wars(Montana Rep). Having always envisioned a way to tell stories that heal and confront our perceived dominion over nature, The Buffalo Play, in many ways, is everything he could dream of as a director. He is honored to be a part of the creative team for The Buffalo Play.
Peter Musante, Sound Design
Peter creates interdisciplinary performances with a diverse group of artists. A regular collaborator with Missoula's own Bare Bait Dance - Wonderwomen, Lovesong, Hysteria and the.humanest (director/media design) - Peter spends most of his time in NYC. With Andrew Schneider: AFTER (Ensemble Co-director/Scenic Coordinator/performer), YOUARENOWHERE (Co-creator/performer) and FIELD (treadmill dancer). Also in NYC: Up and Away (Lincoln Center Education; 1-on-1 Experience Director), Martha Clarke’s Angel Reapers, a canary torsi’s The People To Come, Trusty Sidekick Theater Company (Park Ave Armory), and Blue Man Group. As lead artist in the creation of original work, Peter's projects have been presented by Incubator Arts Project (St. Mark's Church), BLDG92/The Brooklyn Navy Yard, The Brick, The Kraine, Galapagos, and The Chocolate Factory's THROW series. www.petermusante.com
Kate Morris, Dramaturg
Kate is a playwright and performance artist born and raised in Western Montana. Her performance work and short plays have been hosted at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Columbia College Chicago, Chicago's Rhinoceros Theatre Festival, the Mid-America Theatre Conference, and at the Old Marquer Theatre in New Orleans. Her writing is published in Present Tense Pamphlets, F Newsmagazine, Infinity's Kitchen, Collected, and Duende. Her plays Fake yr Death in 6 Lonesome Steps, Venn Diagrams (or the Bee Play), Qyou Are Here, Graceful Exits, and most recently In the Snow, have received popular productions in Missoula. She holds an MA in Devised Theatre from the University of Montana and an MFA in Writing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where she received a 2016 Post-Graduate Writing Fellowship and recently served as a faculty lecturer in Liberal Arts.
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