Wings of Night Sky, Wings of Morning Light
A play by Joy Harjo
Premiered at the Museum of the American West
Native Voices at The Autry Museum
From musician, poet, and playwright Joy Harjo (Mvskoke) comes a deeply compelling journey of struggle, displacement, self-discovery, and healing. Invoking spoken word, storytelling, and song, Harjo combines character-driven narrative with tales inspired by the traditions of her people—and takes a few turns blowing a mean jazz saxophone. An allegorical work of tremendous power, Wings demonstrates how theater and art can bring life full circle.
This unique and genre-bending one-woman play features Harjo’s original music and a score that has been pushed and molded by Grammy award–winning record producer Larry Mitchell, who recently produced Harjo’s Winding Through the Milky Way album.
Many of the songs are woven throughout the play. “Among Larry’s many gifts,” says Randy Reinholz, Artistic Director of Native Voices and Wings director, “is that he reaches into the story with the music and transports the action in amazing and unusual ways. I think the wide range of sounds he and Joy create together lifts Wings to the point of flight. “Wings is at the heart of theater—it is a heightened ceremony, a broad intersection of art forms, an intimate act that celebrates the beauty and investigates the inherent paradoxes of the human condition. Joy is fearless, bringing all of her many talents to bear in this tour-de-force performance,” continues Reinholz.
Wings was workshopped and performed as a staged reading at the Public Theater’s 2007 Native Theater Festival in New York. Since then, it has received additional workshops in San Diego, Los Angeles, New Mexico, and Hawaii, and a staged reading with Native Voices at the Autry in Los Angeles. —From Autry National Center Of The American West Press Release
Interview with Larry Mitchell
We were thrilled to have Joy Harjo perform at the Tulsa City-County Library. Her blend of music and storytelling made for an exciting evening. Her one-woman show, Wings of Night Sky, Wings of Morning Light, was a perfect showcase for her talents as a poet, writer and musician. The powerful show was simultaneously personal and universal and her connection with the audience was palpable. —Cindy Hulsey, Tulsa City-County Library
Life After 50: For Wings Joy Harjo teams with Grammy Award winning producer, Larry Mitchell to create the sound that helps to bring the entirety of being to the kitchen table.
Invoking spoken word, storytelling, music, and song, Harjo takes us on a wild theatrical ride where she tells it like it is with spirit and a mean jazz sax. An allegorical work of tremendous power, Wings demonstrates how theater and art can bring life full circle.
This unique and genre-bending one-woman play features Harjo’s original music and a score that has been pushed and molded by Grammy award-winning record producer Larry Mitchell, who recently produced Harjo’s Winding Through the Milky Way album. Many of the songs are woven throughout the play. — Broadway World
Joy Harjo’s “Wings of Night Sky, Wings of Morning Light,” begins with a creation myth. Harjo tells us how trickster Rabbit creates a clay man, more out of whimsy than for any real purpose. But Rabbit’s prank backfires. The clay man’s insatiable hunger for game, for women, for all the riches of the Earth, soon throws the universe out of balance. It is only belatedly that Rabbit realizes his fatal mistake: He has fashioned the clay man with no ears.
The symbolism of that heedless, hungry clay man soon becomes apparent in Harjo’s delicately structured narrative. Males, of a particularly capricious and abusive ilk, routinely dominate the unfortunate women in their orbit. Harjo’s precociously sensitive heroine is the mixed-blood child of a Cherokee waitress and an alcoholic Creek father.
From — Indybay.org
That Harjo portrays a character named Redbird, and that the backdrop for the performance is a beautiful, giant horse is not why I came away moved…it did make me feel delightfully welcome into the world she would unfold before us.
In her play Wings of Night Sky, Wings of Morning Light Harjo takes her audience on a journey that begins and ends with healing. If the essence of ceremony can be put on stage, she has done it.
Harjo opens with a story of how we got lost; how we became separated from the beautiful world we were born into, a long time ago. She transitions smoothly into the personal story of Redbird Monawhee, a contemporary character facing challenges all too familiar to us today. — Corina Roberts
World Premier at the Autry National Center of
the American West
March 19-26, 2009
Native Voices at the Autry
4700 Western Heritage Way, Los Angeles, CA 90027
Public Theater/New York City
La Jolla Playhouse/La Jolla
Outpost Performance Space/Albuquerque,NM
Tulsa Central Library