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Northern Vermont University’s Performance, Arts, & Technology Program Presents The Thanksgiving Play

Just in time for Thanksgiving preparations, the NVU-Johnson Performance, Arts & Technology program will present The Thanksgiving Play, offering the community the chance to experience this acclaimed comedy before its scheduled Broadway debut. Performances will run Thursday, November 3 through Sunday, November 6 at the Dibden Theatre on the Johnson campus.

Directed by NVU faculty Laura Roald, the play was written by Larissa FastHorse, a MacArthur fellow and the first Native American playwright to have a work (The Thanksgiving Play) as one of the top ten produced plays in the country.

The Thanksgiving Play is one of my favorite comedies,” says Roald, “because the story pushes good intentions in theatre and artistic practice to the edge of absurdity while keeping the problem of cultural erasure at the center of the laughter. The Polaris Performance Company’s production gives us a chance to laugh at ourselves without forgetting we, too, need to keep working to “do better.’”

When the play debuts on Broadway in spring 2023, Larissa FastHorse will become the first female Native American playwright to have a play produced on Broadway.

“In Larissa FastHorse’s satirical comedy The Thanksgiving Play, a troupe of really well-meaning theater artists dream of creating something revolutionary: a culturally sensitive, totally inoffensive Thanksgiving school pageant that finally gives a voice to Native Americans. Finding said Native Americans…isn’t so simple. And that’s when things start to get absurd,” as described by Playbill (11/1/22).

“This play marks the third production of the Polaris Performance Company (PPC), the performance company of NVU-Johnson’s Performance, Arts & Technology program, where we focus on new multi-disciplinary performance works that are student-driven and often devised ourselves,” said Professor and Program Chair Isaac Eddy. “PPC is a consent-based company that is designed to give students creative autonomy and the collaboration skills that are required for work in contemporary creative sectors.”

Of The Thanksgiving Play, Eddy says, “This show is important for our NVU community and surrounding communities to experience because of how topical and relevant it is. Come and join the discourse!

Performance schedule: Thursday, November 3 – Saturday, November 5, at 7 p.m.; Sunday, November 6, at 2 p.m.
Admission is free for NVU and the Vermont State University community; $10 General Admission.