Rainbow Theatre held auditions on Mar. 30 and 31 for its four multicultural spring productions, welcoming artists from UC Santa Cruz, Cabrillo College, and the greater Santa Cruz community. 

One of the productions is a collaboration between Rainbow Theatre, the American Indian Resource Center (AIRC), and the Student Alliance of Native American/Indigenous Peoples (SANAI). “The Fry Bread Queen” will open May 28, marking the first Indigenous production at UCSC.

Featuring the first mostly Native cast, Indigenous lead actor, plot, and director, “The Fry Bread Queen” is opening doors for the Indigenous community on campus and representing the underrepresented voices of Indigenous youth.

“The whole goal with Rainbow Theater is to highlight and uplift the voices of these groups that aren’t really represented on campus,” said assistant producer of the Cultural Arts and Diversity Resource Center (CADrc) August Stevens. “It’s this medium that people can come together and learn about other cultures or political issues without necessarily having to be a political environment.” 

After taking Don Williams’ Rainbow Theatre class last quarter, Amanda Collins, lead intern of the AIRC and student director of “The Fry Bread Queen,” sparked a conversation with Williams about doing an Indigenous production for the spring annual productions.

With the help of the AIRC and SANAI, Collins dug through the archives to find Native plays and discovered “The Fry Bread Queen.” 

“It’s not just going to be a token Native play, there’s going to be flesh and bones to these folks. They’re going to have personality, they’re going to have truth to them, [that] any audience member can connect to [them] in some way,” said Collins. “I’m very proud of my actors and just how conscious and enthusiastic they’ve been about the whole process.”

Below are all of the shows that will be done by Rainbow Theatre this season and their directors.

“The Fry Bread Queen” (May 28 to 30)

Written by the former AIRC director Carolyn Dunn and directed by Collins, the play is about a family living on the Navajo reservation in Arizona, grieving the loss of their son. “The Fry Bread Queen” will make Rainbow Theatre history, featuring the first mostly Native cast, along with featuring the first Indigenous director and playwright.

“Facing Our Truth”  (May 21 to 23)

Directed by UCSC alum Antonio Glass, “Facing Our Truth” is a series of 10-minute plays that focus on the aftermath of Trayvon Martin’s death and police brutality in America. The aim of “Facing Our Truth” is to spark serious conversations in our society about pressing problems, such as holding white supremacists accountable. 

Odysseus Cruz”  (May 21 to 23)

Co-directed by UCSC students Angel Cardenas Montalvo and Rebecca Hall, the story takes place at the U.S.-Mexico border. In this modern-day adaptation of the Greek classic “The Odyssey,” the main character Odysseus Cruz works as a coyote, someone who brings large groups of immigrants across the border. The play explores themes of divine justice, the advantage of intelligence over strength, and more.

“Poet’s Corner” (May 28 to 30)

Remotely co-directing the “Poet’s Corner” show, students B’enet Benton and Yazlin Juarez are working together with other UCSC students to share perspectives of this group of UCSC students that are very intimate and touch on different topics affecting not only Rainbow Theatre students but also cultures all over the world. 

Live talkbacks with the casts and directors will be held each weekend on Saturday at 8:45 p.m.

The virtual productions will be streaming here. To listen to the 2020 Rainbow Theatre podcast, click here.

CHP is publishing this story during the week of May 25 as part of a backlog on unpublished content from spring 2021. The article was originally written on April 21.