Our set is up and lighting, sound, props, and costumes are being added and tweaked with each rehearsal. Victoria Kneubuhl's play is coming to life thanks to the hard work of some very talented people:
Vincent P. Scott, a Cultural Arts Program Specialist here at the NMAI’s Mall museum, has been a director and stage manager for over twenty years. Vincent has worked in many types of theater, including Native theater, classical repertory, summer stock, musical theater, opera, and touring theater, from regional tours that included Moose lodges and Elks Clubs in rural Montana, to international festivals in Edinburgh, Scotland, and Hong Kong. He has even directed at the Amundson-Scott South Pole Station in Antarctica! Here at the NMAI, Vincent has most recently directed a reading of Drew Hayden Taylor’s Toronto at Dreamer’s Rock. Mr. Scott has a BA in Theater and Speech from DeSales University, an MFA in Directing for the Theater from Wayne State University, and an MA in Christianity and Culture from Gonzaga University. Articles and book chapter contributions by Mr. Scott appear in Baylor Journal of Theater and Performance (Spring 2007), Insights (Winter 2007), The Soul of the American Actor (Summer 2008), and Performing Worlds into Being: Native American Women’s Theater (2009). Vincent dedicates this production to the many Native cultural guides that have warmly welcomed him into their cultures and have helped him “steer the canoe:” Jim Shanley and the Fort Peck Community College in Poplar, MT, the Cup’ik people of Chevak, AK, the Native Ministry Training Program in St. Mary’s, AK, and the Alaska Native Heritage Center in Anchorage, AK.
David Dwyer is delighted to be working with a fabulous production team on The Conversion of Ka‘ahumanu. He holds a Bachelor's degree in theater and an Oral Communication Certificate with distinction from Marietta College, and a Master of Fine Arts in production design from Michigan State University. As a free-lance scenic and lighting designer he works and travels throughout the Eastern United States. His designs have been seen at The Boarshead Theatre, Theatre Winterhaven, Dance Ocala, Gemstone Productions, The Gorilla Theatre, and LiveArts Theatre. He has served as technical director for the Showboat Becky Thatcher, and Northern Michigan University. He is an Associate Professor of theatre at Southern Virginia University, where he is the principal theater designer and technical director, teaches theater classes, and directs theater productions. He resides in Buena Vista, Virginia with his wife and five children.
Valerie St. Pierre Smith (Anishnaabe) received her MFA in Costume Design and Technology from San Diego State University. Valerie has worked as a costume designer and artisan for clients on both coasts including Warner Brothers Studio; Universal Studios, Hollywood; The Old Globe Theatre; La Jolla Playhouse and Sea World, San Diego. Most recently her designs have been seen on stage in DC in The Other Room for The Kennedy Center/VSA and Antebellum for Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company. Some of her favorite show credits include She Loves Me, The Skriker, The Tempest, A Doll House and Tartuffe. Valerie also currently serves on the design faculty at The George Washington University's Department of Theatre and Dance.
Sam Kitchel is currently a Kenan Fellow at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. As a fellow he has been assisting at Theatre J, Synetic Theater, Wooly Mammoth, and the Kennedy Center among others. He holds a Bachelor's in Fine Arts from North Carolina School of the Arts. His next design will be Rorschach Theatre's Brain People.
Carmen Gomez is new to the D.C. area and has just completed her first year as a design professor and the technical director for the Theatre and Dance Department at The George Washington University. While she grew up and received her education in Texas, Carmen has spent the last five years teaching and designing at Gulf Coast Community College in Panama City, Florida. She is excited to be involved with NMAI and looks forward to more new experiences.
Edward Moser is a regional audio veteran whose recent theatrical credits include Native Son for the American Century Theatre, A Bad Friend for the Silver Spring Stage, Long Days Journey Into Night for the Quotidian Theatre, Rounding Third for the Accokeekcreek Theatre, and both As You Like It and 1984 for the National Players Tour 60. As a front of house engineer his work has been heard in the musicals Urinetown at the Clarice Smith Center, Godspell at Olney Theatre Center, and the world premiere of David at Theater J; and in concert for Grammy holders Walt Egan and Bill Danoff. He is a graduate of the Phoenix Conservatory and a member of AES.
Percussionist: 'olapa, Halau Mohala 'Ilima
Melissa Mokihana Scalph is a professional educator and duly graduated dancer of Halau Mohala `Ilima, a traditional hula school in Kailua, Hawai`i, under the direction of respected Kumu Hula (master) Mapuana de Silva. Mokihana’s family roots go back to the garden island of Kaua`i. She has been studying, performing and teaching hula in the D.C. area for over 30 years. Venues include Wolf Trap Theater-in-the-Woods, the Kirov Academy of Ballet, the Smithsonian Museum of American History, the Historical Society of Washington D.C. and the Taste of D.C. Festival. A former Fairfax County school teacher and experienced performer, Mokihana combines her skills to help dispel the stereotypical ideas about hula, and to replace them with am educated awareness of the dignity and respect due to Hawaiian dance and culture, while encouraging the same for cultures of all peoples.
Christy Stanlake is an associate professor of English at the US Naval Academy, where she runs the Navy theater program. She is active in Native American theater through both scholarship and practical theater work. Stanlake dramaturged JudyLee Oliva’s Te Ata World Premiere and directed a staged reading of Victoria Nalani Kneubuhl’s Fanny and Belle. Her publications in the field of Native theater include articles in Modern Drama and Performing Worlds into Being: Native American Women’s Theater; she also guest-edited BJTP’s special edition of Nation’s Speaking: Indigenous Performances Across the Americas. This summer, Cambridge UP will release her first book, Native American Drama: A Critical Perspective.
Janet M. Clark has been stage managing professionally in theater in Washington, D.C. and New York for over 25 years. Here in Washington she has worked extensively at Folger Theatre, Arena Stage, and Theatre of the First Amendment. She also works in dance, opera, and special events, and is a proud member of Actors Equity Association.
Meghan Williams is interning in the Cultural Arts department at NMAI this spring, working primarily on The Conversion of Ka‘ahumanu. She has been involved in many theater productions both onstage, in plays such as Much Ado About Nothing and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and as a stage manager for Oklahoma and Romeo and Juliet. In June, Meghan will graduate with a master’s in Museum Studies from the University of Toronto. She hopes to continue working in programming or museum education.