Muriel Miguel and Native American bohemianism in Brownstone Brooklyn

The performers, who have their roots in a dozen indigenous nations within the borders of the United States, Canada and the Philippines, c...

The performers, who have their roots in a dozen indigenous nations within the borders of the United States, Canada and the Philippines, created the piece using the “weaving of stories” method. The Spiderwoman Theater developed the technique in the 1970s, when the group was an integral part of the downtown theater scene. Over the years, society has used it to interweave narratives about everything from domestic violence to cultural appropriation with pop songs, bawdy jokes and dreamlike imagery.

“It’s important to tell these stories, but they have to be done in a way where people don’t feel like they’re being hit over the head,” Ms Miguel said. “You can tell a painful story and then tell a horrible, disgusting joke and give a raspberry. You can take things and return them.

On a recent Monday, Ms. Miguel took a break from her rehearsal schedule to tour her neighborhood telling stories about her own childhood. She sat in the back of a 2012 Toyota Matrix, a red leather hat trimmed with wolf fur slung on the seat next to her, while his wife, Deborah Ratelle, took care of the driving. Mrs. Miguel has short, silver hair and a cascading, shoulder-shaking laugh. She wore turquoise rings on most of her fingers and had mismatched earrings – one turquoise, the other oyster shell. “I don’t like the sameness,” she says.

As she walked down Court Street, she pointed to Cobble Hill Cinema, a long-running cinema once called the Lido. “It was one of the places where my dad would stand outside in his outfit filming all these movies,” she recalled. His father, a Kuna from Panama, supplemented the money he earned as a dockworker by donning the war bonnet of a Plains Indian chief and inviting people into the theater to see John’s last picture. Wayne. He had plenty of jobs like that: playing a generic Indian at Thanksgiving pageants, performing at ceremonies commemorating the supposed Manhattan sale to the Dutch.

In the summer, he took Mrs. Miguel’s older sisters city ​​of gold, a long-forgotten amusement park in Brooklyn’s Canarsie neighborhood, where they danced and sang and sat in teepees. Gloria, who plays The Elder in “Misdemeanor Dream”, dreaded these outings. “People would come up and say, ‘Oh look at the Indians, they’re eating spaghetti,'” she recalls. This kept her from doing any theatrical work involving her heritage until, as a divorced mother of two in her late 40s, she joined her sisters in creating the Spiderwoman Theatre. “We have to tell our stories in our own way,” she said.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Muriel Miguel and Native American bohemianism in Brownstone Brooklyn
Muriel Miguel and Native American bohemianism in Brownstone Brooklyn
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