Vickie Ramirez, playwright, and Richard C. Aven, director, of “Smoke”

Smoke, by Vickie Ramirez, directed by Richard C. Aven, presented by Mixed Phoenix Theatre Group

Since its inception five years ago, Mixed Phoenix Theatre Group has been making a name for itself as a company exploring the American identity through theatre, championing new plays from up-and-coming playwrights.

In the company’s first solo, fully-produced play (outside of Muzungu, their collaboration with my company, Co-Op Theatre East), MPTG has brought Vickie Ramirez‘s Smoke to the Studio Theater at Pershing Square Signature Center, directed by the company’s associate artistic director, Richard C. Aven.

As you’ll hear in the interview, the plot of Smoke doesn’t distill down easily into a sound-byte, but suffice it to say that the play is an exploration of who belongs where, and how, and why, told through a tale of family and community tensions (along with a bit of mysticism) on a Haundenosaunee Reservation in upstate New York. And as with any good play, there are no easy answers; only big, complicated questions to wrestle with.

Listen in as Vickie & Richard discuss creating an inclusive cultural piece, identity, and “mystical native stuff.” Continue reading