This website is a space of reflection, insight, sharing and learning for those interested in recent productions mounted by the Department of Theater, Dance and Performance Studies at UC Berkeley. Specifically, a play entitled "Ishi: The Last of the Yahi" has generated a great deal of controversy and discussion, yet much of that discussion has been decentralized and non-public. This is an open site, hosted by the Townsend Center for the Humanities. To become a member, first create an account with the Townsend Humanities Lab (see button on the right) and then request membership in the "TDPSreflections" group. The site is moderated by Prof. Catherine Cole, who can be reached at colecat (at) berkeley.edu.
"The wages of genocide are manifest in the stories of survivors. Their testimonies shine a light on our collective conscience. Artists who allow themselves to be transformed by these stories may find themselves on a difficult creative path. But [playwright Erik] Ehn believes it is worth the effort. He says life (like art) 'is at essence a dialogue.' The place to begin is to embrace survivors with tender silence."--from Lydia Breen, "Making Art in Troubled Times": http://quartierlibre.wordpress.com/tag/erik-ehn/
“Silence is the most perfect gesture of inclusion. It is like the darkness of the theatre.” -Erik Ehn
Some Recent Public Discourse about the play "Ishi: The Last of the Yahi"
John Fisher Writes & Directs “Ishi: The Last of the Yahi”, press release, February 16, 2012
Review by Tria Andrews, first appeared on Facebook, March 4, 2012
--Republished March 7, 2012: http://nativeappropriations.blogspot.com/2012/03/ishi-last-of-yahi-uc-be...
Petition to cancel the production:
Cutcha Rising Baldy, “I went to see ‘Ishi: Last of the Yahi’ at UC Berkeley and all I got was this blog entry”, March 11, 2012
Tria Andrews, Kayla Carpenter, and Peter Nelson, “American Indian Graduate Student Association calls for art with ethics,” Daily Cal, March 13, 2012
Peter Glazer, “Theater department apologizes for ‘Ishi’ production,” Daily Cal, March 13, 2012
Intae Kim, Ishi cast member’s Facebook posting, March 14, 2012
--Later published in Daily Cal: Intae Kim, Ishi cast member reflects on the play and its criticisms http://www.dailycal.org/2012/03/20/ishi-cast-member-reflects-on-the-play...
Prof. Kim Tallbear on ethics and art, March 14, 2012
Emma Nicolls, actress from play, Facebook post, March 15, 2012
Nancy Martinez, actress from play, Facebook post, March 15, 2012
Provocative, Misleading Play about Ishi Opens Wounds From California Genocide, April 25, 2012
Principles & Accountability
UC Berkeley's Principles of Community
United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
TDPS Departmental mission statement for undergraduate education:
"Within the Department of Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies, we understand performance to be a mode of critical inquiry, a means of a creative expression, and a vehicle for public engagement. Our goal is to produce 'the whole artist;' as such, our classes, workshops, and productions challenge students to expand their critical and creative capacities." Source: http://tdps.berkeley.edu/programs-courses/undergraduate-program/