When it comes to Wild Home: An American Odyssey, the project is best-described by its subtitle. The journey began in 2018, when co-creators Notch Theatre Company and Jessica Kahkoska initiated community-engaged artistry in response to the presidential executive order designed to repeal protections from 27 national monuments. With rural and underrepresented communities at risk, the Company began an Odyssey across America, speaking to those impacted and crafting public theatrical work from their stories. The project has found roots in Appalachia, Alaska, and Colorado thus far; on September 13th, these three communities come together at the National Mall to share their experiences of climate injustice, stories interwoven in Wild Home, a play newly-penned by Gwen Kingston.
“This iteration of Wild Home is interesting because it’s bringing together different partnerships,” notes Kambi Gatesha, Producer and Co-Director. DC’s event is a combination of community members and professional actors, mimicking the make-up of its creative team. Gatesha comes from a background of performance; Ashley Teague, Artistic Director of Notch, from one of direction; Community Coordinator Lily Odekirk from arts education; and Communications Lead Raquel Morris from policy. Together, the team has crafted a public event of inquiry, camaraderie, and creation.
In addition to Notch’s team and performers, several of their community partners will be in attendance, including SILA (Sovereign Iñupiat for a Living Arctic), the Center for Coalfield Justice, Clean Air Council, and Citizens for a Healthy Community.
“It’s important to realize that not every place looks like yours,” says Morris. “I hope [this project] moves something. Even if it’s just a few conversations.” And conversations will be had. Following Wild Home’s public reading, accompanied by free food and drink and plenty of comfy blankets, those is attendance will be invited to join in the climate discussion, facilitation provided by the creative team and community partners.
“I always wonder how much artists feel they can get close to policymakers and directly impact it,” continues Gatesha, noting his thrill for exploring just what that may be. Crafting this sense of community in storytelling, in an age where citizenry are feeling ever more willing to speak up, is a true excitement for the team.
Wild Home is open to the public at the National Mall on September 13th, beginning at 5:30pm.
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This post was written by the author in their personal capacity.The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect the view of The Theatre Times, their staff or collaborators.
This post was written by Rhiannon Ling.
The views expressed here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect our views and opinions.