USAO News Bureau

TeAta World Premiere Offers Opportunity for Oklahoma Actors

Thursday, January 19, 2006

 

Actors across Oklahoma and the nation are invited to audition for the world premiere of Te Ata, A Play With Music. The groundbreaking production, set to debut in the fall, showcases the life of world-renowned storyteller and actress Te Ata Thompson Fisher (1895-1995).

 

Playwright and artistic director JudyLee Oliva sees the world premiere as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Oklahoma actors to audition for the production slated for national audiences.

 

Auditions are scheduled Feb. 25 at the Rose State College H.B. Atkinson Theatre on the campus of Rose State College in Midwest City. Oliva said there are 13 roles to cast in a “dialogue-driven production with exciting elements of song and dance.”

 

The open roles include: Dr. Fisher, a Caucasian between 50-70 years old, preferably with shocking white hair; Miss Davis, a Caucasian of about 30-40 years; Young Te Ata, aged between 16-25, Native American or mixed race; Old Te Ata, a Native American or mixed race woman between ages 50-70; Margaret, A Caucasian woman between age 16-25, preference given to actress who plays violin; Kuruks, a Native American aged 16-25, preferably a Native flute player; Ataloa, a Native American or person of mixed race, age 16-25, who must be an accomplished singer.

 

“We also need six chorus members – three male and three female. We need actors, singers, dancers, a female violin player who can also act; we need American Indian actors and we need people from all cultures and ethnic backgrounds, and all ages,” Oliva said. "There are many opportunities for talented actors to win a coveted role in this pioneering and diverse production."

Oliva, a citizen of the Chickasaw Nation, said this production offers a tremendous opportunity for the theater arts community in Oklahoma to produce a never-before-seen work of national importance. Prospective actors are encouraged to prepare a one-minute monologue and 16 bars of a song. An accompanist will be provided. As audition times are limited, the play’s author encourages pre-registration. Interested actors should send an e-mail indicating interest and requesting a time slot to Oliva at JLOLIVA@aol.com. Auditioners should bring a photo and short resume.

“Our goal is make this a real Oklahoma event and cast as many Oklahomans as possible,” Oliva said. “This truly is an epic event. The potential for this production is unlimited. What better way to usher in Oklahoma’s Centennial celebrations than to capture and tell the story of an American Indian woman from Oklahoma who helped deliver the Native culture to audiences around the world?”

In a career that spanned eight decades, Te Ata showcased her enormous talents in a one-woman show as she performed before presidents, kings and queens and peoples from all walks of life. The famed storyteller earned international acclaim for her talents during her lifetime, including being named as Oklahoma's first State Treasure.

Oliva said the play dramatizes Te Ata’s life, transporting the audience back to her life as a young girl to her triumphant career on Broadway and the return to her home and roots in the red soils of Oklahoma. Characters are based, in part, on Te Ata’s real-life friends and family. It is a love story -- the love of her husband, her art, her home, and her tribal heritage. It is a story of conflicting and dynamic worlds, both Indian and non-Indian cultures, shaping the performer. Finally, it is a story of perseverance, deliverance, and poetic resolve for one of Oklahoma’s most beloved historic figures.

More information about the show and the auditions is available online at www.TeAtaWorldPremiere.com

Opening night is scheduled in August 2006 on the stage in Chickasha where Te Ata learned her craft. The Te Ata World Premiere is funded in part by the Chickasaw Nation, the USAO Foundation and East Central University. Additional funding has been provided by the Inasmuch Foundation, the Kirkpatrick Foundation and the Craig Foundation.