“Patterns of Wind” Challenges Systems and Centers Intentional Storytelling
Boston University College of Fine Arts School of Theatre is thrilled to present the world premiere of a new devised work in the Joan & Edgar Booth Theatre. Interweaving Indigenous oral storytelling traditions and contemporary multimedia performance, Patterns of Wind is a part of Boston University Arts Initiative’s Indigenous Voices in the Americas series. The production is free for BU students, faculty, and staff with BU ID (at the door only, subject to availability).
This convergence of stories of lineage, legacy, and land was conceived and facilitated by School of Theatre resident guest artist Ty Defoe, who is an actor, writer, and interdisciplinary artist of the Ojibwe and Oneida Nations, along with multimedia artist, filmmaker, and organizer Katherine Freer, and performer, writer, and advocate Siobhan Growing Elm Brown. Drawing from personal narrative and blood memory, the ensemble devised an experience that uplifts the interconnectedness of all living things.
Some of the show’s creators shared their thoughts on the process of this production, and discuss the ripple effects of their experience of devising this piece.
One of the devisors, Jayna Shoda Meyer (CFA’23), a current BFA Theatre Arts student with a Minor in Arts Leadership, reflected on the process of building this devised theatrical work with the creative team. “Patterns of Wind is the first rehearsal room I approached as an Indigenous artist. Being a Pacific Islander raised in the states, I wasn’t in touch with my full identity for most of my life. Being in the rehearsal room for Patterns, I was encouraged to write about my culture and family and to connect with land and ancestors. I’m so grateful to have worked with Ty Defoe and Siobhan Growing Elm Brown, who are the first Indigenous mentors I’ve had in western education, and Kate Freer, the most radical ally. They helped me to embrace my identity as a Pasifika Indigenous artist and to see all the opportunities for merging my art and my culture.”
According to School of Theatre Director Susan Mickey, “as theatremakers and storytellers, we have become very steeped in old traditions and ways of making work. As artists, it is our duty to always examine, investigate, and change the paradigms in order to shape the future. Devising Patterns of Wind helped us with that process.”
In the collaborative artists’ note in the Patterns of Wind program, the team of devisors examined the motivations that inspired the production, and chimed in with their own answers to the question: “Why Patterns of Wind?” Read their responses below.
Claire Gardner: Because my history, and that of many others, has been hidden purposefully and revealing it challenges the dominant narrative of what the past was and what the future can and should be. Taking theater out of its traditionally colonial structure has the ability to change the way theater is done and connect it back to the original practices of this land and of creation. We can stop the cycle and share our decolonization of self, life, and art.
Katie McRae: Indigenous oral practice is important. Devised work is important and deserves to be treated as such.
Raymond Vasco: It is important for this school to be introduced to a form of theatre and a form of creating theatre that de-centers harmful colonial and capitalist practices. That centers voices and methods that are often unheard and silenced – specifically original ways of the land and the Indigenous people of this land. This is a way to challenge this institution and for us to be heard.
Arianne Banda: I needed a space like this to be able to fully express my ideas and radical thoughts with the trust of full support in actuality, not theory.
Caila Katz: Because our community is tired of harm and we demand the rebuilding of our theatre practice.
Jayna Shoda Meyer: Incorporating Indigeneity – original practice, acknowledgement, respect – into education feels crucial. That means active decolonization, looking at the structures we adhere to, how they function, how they hurt or benefit us, and our role in structures of power that exist. This process is showing me how to be aware of those structures and how to BREAK! THEM! DOWN! My art does not have to sacrifice my culture! I can stop the cycle of colonization and use my art to decolonize and indigenize my mind, body, and soul. My culture and values (and I believe they can go hand in hand) walk into every room with me.
Julia Hertzberg: To challenge the rest of the School of Theatre season. To connect us to each other, the School of Theatre community, and community outside of Boston University.
Nderitu Gatere: To see what students can create as different people coming together as an ensemble and working together.
Check out more in the program book.
Patterns of Wind
Joan & Edgar Booth Theatre
820 Commonwealth Ave.
December 2 – 5, 2021
Thursday, Dec. 2 • 7:30pm
Friday, Dec. 3 • 7:30pm
Saturday, Dec. 4 • 2:00pm & 7:30pm
Sunday, Dec. 5 • 2:00pm
- $20, general admission
- FREE with BU ID, at the door, subject to availability
Patterns of Wind
Directed by: Ty Defoe, Siobhan Growing Elm Brown, Dayna Cousins, Katherine Freer
Created by: Arianne Banda, Caila Katz, Claire Gardner, Jayna Shoda Meyer, Julia Hertzberg, Katie McRae, Nderitu Gatere, Raymond Vasco, Ty Defoe, Siobhan Growing Elm Brown, Katherine Freer, Dayna Cousins, Sierra Hoss, Sienna Siciliano
Alyssa Jewell & Marc Andrea Vento, Scenic Designers • Danielle Bazan, Costume Designer • Daniel Vigil, Assistant Costume Designer • Eduardo Ramírez Kortright, Lighting Designer • Mackenzie Adamick, Sound Designer • Patrick Meade, Assistant Sound Designer • Katherine Freer, Projection Designer • McKenna Ebert, Assistant Projection Designer • Sarah Lloyd, Props Master
More at bu.edu/cfa/season.