The Thanksgiving Play

Four well-intentioned but terminally “woke” theatre artists meet in the rehearsal room at an elementary school to create a pageant that will somehow celebrate both Turkey Day and honor Native American Heritage Month.  What could go wrong? The question should probably be a statement of “nothing goes right” in THE THANKSGIVING PLAY by Larissa FastHorse which opens Dezart Performs 16th Season, November 3 – 12. FastHorse (Sicangu Lakota Nation) is the first Native American woman to have a show produced on Broadway.

“Whether you lean blue, red or somewhere closer to purple, you can’t help but see a little of ourselves in this fiercely funny comedy,” says director and Dezart Performs founding artistic director Michael Shaw. “It should leave everyone, at the very least, re-examining our good intentions, but also very sore from all the self-reflective laughter it inspires.”

“If everybody loved my work, I’d be really bummed out because I wouldn’t feel like I’m doing my job right,” said FastHorse in an interview. “To acknowledge indigenous culture and history in this nation, we have to acknowledge complicity. You’re on stolen land, however you got here.”

Working through such “complicity” is at the heart of THE THANKSGIVING PLAY with hilarious, and often very tongue-in-cheek pointed jabs at our current “PC washing” of culture and the preponderous of “wokeness” in the political realm.

“Oh my Goddess,” screams the vegan director Logan (Macy Idzakovich) when she learns of her erroneous assumption about the actress, Alicia (Stepania Gonzales) who has been brought in from LA to perform in the pageant. Logan is already on tender hooks with the school’s parents for her direction of “The Iceman Cometh” with 15-year-olds. Vegan ally and yoga guru street performer Jaxton (Matthew Grondin) – who nonetheless prefers real cheese from a cow on his crackers – and would-be playwright Caden (John Wuchte) do their best in an attempt to create a politically sensitive holiday play They end up with a story that is anything but sensitive and does perhaps more damage than good to the history they are trying to correct.

Thanksgiving Play Cast 2023
Top left: Macy Idzakovich Top right: Matthew Grondin
Bottom left: John Wuchte Bottom right: Stepania Gonzales

All performances take place at the Pearl McManus Theater (at the historic Palm Springs Woman’s Club) 314 S Cahuilla Road, Downtown Palm Springs. Ticket prices are $48 – $55 and may be purchased online at www.dezartperforms.org , or by calling (760) 322-0179. Showtimes are Fridays at 7:30pm; Saturdays at 2pm and 7:30pm; Sundays at 2pm and 7pm.

Dezart Performs, one of the Coachella Valley’s preeminent theatre companies recognizes that the performing arts enrich the life and culture of a community, promote greater understanding and provoke insightful discussion. As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit theatre company, its mission is to provide an artistic home for bold and cutting–edge plays, creating an atmosphere of artistic growth for actors, writers, and directors who uniquely contribute to the diverse theatrical environment in the Coachella Valley.