WORDS BY Tiffany Lukk
As one of eight children, spending one-on-one time with her father in evenings under the stars was precious to Dovie Thomason. “It was wonderfully precious and intensely focused on our connection and his sharing what was important to him to share,” she says.
He told her stories that taught her that we’re made of stars and are a part of nature. Thomason reflects on these stories as part of her performance, TO BOLDLY GO … Adventures of an Indigenous Space Cadet.
The performance was inspired by Thomason being invited to be one of the first Native artists to speak at the first TEDx in Pittsburgh, and to create an original story for a late night adult story event. “Both of these invitations provoked me to create something that was not what was ‘expected’ that also gave me space to explore how traditional Indigenous values as shared in stories could have significance in both science fiction and science, going forward.”
Attendees can expect stories featuring robots from the past and present day, growing up during the first Space Race, and the relationship between science, technology, and storytelling.
Thomason’s stories draw attention to the importance of multiple themes. “I’m concerned that humans can too often hold ourselves as somehow outside of nature, or worse still, exploit it as a resource, rather than as interdependent relationships,” she says. “Also a need to underscore, in these times, the old lesson of so many stories: ‘Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.’”
Thomason has performed at Open Eye Theatre before, drawing so much praise she was invited back. “Dovie is one of the best storytellers on our planet,￼ people will never look at the stars the same again,” says host Kevin Kling of MPR. “She also has an incredible sense of humor and perspective that makes science fiction seem more like science maybe.”
Depending on the night of the performance, there will be refreshments created from The Sioux Chef’s Indigenous Kitchen’s recipes; a Q&A with Thomason, Kling, and special guests; and a conversation on Indigenous lore and cosmology with Pebaami-bines (Dennis Jones), Bemidji State University associate professor of indigenous studies.
WHEN YOU GO
TO BOLDLY GO … Adventures of an Indigenous Space Cadet, Nov. 17-20
Open Eye Theatre, 506 E 24th St #3732, Mpls