Satirical Thanksgiving play hits stage


Jim Wood

Pictured are actors Erin-Leigh Moses, Sara Carr, Skyllar Schoening & Grant Taylor.

Brina Sturm, Assistant Lifestyles Editor

This weekend, South Dakota State University’s Theatre & Dance is presenting its second production of the academic year, “The Thanksgiving Play” by Larissa FastHorse.

It’s quick-witted and amusing. This satirical play follows a group of seemingly “woke” white people who are attempting to organize a politically correct First Thanksgiving play for Native American Heritage Month to be performed in schools.

The author of this play, Larissa FastHorse, is a Sicangu Lakota playwright and choreographer.

In a 2019 interview with American Theatre, FastHorse stated “Native theatre, I think, is sometimes seen as the charity slot, but it does better than expected, again and again.  I don’t think audiences sit around at home thinking that they wish their favorite theater would program a Native play, but I think when they see one they’re like, ‘Oh, wow. I can learn something about Indigenous folks.’ Even though my job is not to educate, and I try not to do that.”

“And as an Indigenous human, once I’m in that theatre, then my job is to advocate for the play, advocate for myself as an artist, but then also advocate for my community,” she said. “Because I can’t be the last Native person in that door. So I will fight tooth and nail for the community; I will do whatever I have to do to defend them, and make sure that the access stays open.”

With the play opening this Thursday, Nov. 18 at 7:30 P.M., director Jim Wood and actor Skyllar Schoening are anxious to get the show on the stage.

“I’m obviously excited for the audience to see the hard work that everybody’s done-the students, the designers, the whole team. But, I’m most excited for that car ride or walk home that audience members will have. They’ll look at the people they went to the play with and spark a conversation about it. That’s what I’m most looking forward to-the dialogue that the play is going to prompt,” Wood said.

Sophomore Skyllar Schoening plays an LA actor named “Jaxton” who is “politically correct to a fault.”

“My favorite thing about working on this show is absolutely making a show that has a deep message. I think the show’s main message is for a majority white audience with a new approach to the idea of ‘wokeness,’” Schoening said. “The comedy in this show is just so funny. Looking back on the show, the audience has to get the satire, there’s no way they can’t. It’s a fun play that touches some serious topics.”

The production begins at 7:30 P.M. this Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Then again at 2:00 P.M. Sunday, Nov. 21 in the Oscar Larson Performing Arts Center Theatre. Admission is $16.75 for all Children (under 18), Military, Seniors and SDSU Employees. For all other adults, admission is $18.75.

Tickets for “The Thanksgiving Play” are currently for sale online at The box office is open for in-person or phone sales Monday through Friday from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. 

The box office phone number is 605-688-6045.