A WHITE WOMAN ON THE RED ROAD
"It just kept going ..."
"....like an orgasm ..."
PROGRAM NOTES for “ A WHITE WOMAN on the RED ROAD”
Several years ago I did a Native American Vision Quest ceremony. The ceremony involved spending 4 days & 3 nights in total solitude on a mountain with no shelter, fire, food or water – and confined to a 6x6 ft. space.
Afterwards I was asked to speak about it, write about it, and, in general, answer a lot of questions about this incredible experience. People wanted to know why I did it, what I got from it, and how I ever came to know about it in the first place.
This is that story (--albeit the ‘Reader’s Digest condensed version.’) It includes everything from telling my mother what I was going to do – to dealing with a maddening thirst & animal visitors while up ‘on the hill.’
I poke fun at my own experience while honoring this powerful spiritual path. I recount this extraordinary experience due to requests, and my own desire to share my newly discovered ‘secret.”
Hope you enjoy this hour’s walk down The Red Road.
‘Ho Mitakuye Oyasin
(“"For All My Relations"”=a blessing for all living things)
"You don't mean it!"
"Yes, Mike ... ?"
"You become so intimate with it - you become part of it."
She won that argument.
REVIEW by Dan Wood, Writer for Christian Science Monitor
There only two things you need to know about Stephanie Nash's "A White Woman on The Red Road." 1) You should see it. 2) You probably don't know you should see it. (How WOULD you know? except by the sizzling word-of-mouth that is fizzing through the insider theater world here like flash powder headed toward a powder keg.)
Okay, three things. It's a one-woman show that is rare enough in dramatic form - minimalist, serious and funny and important all at the same time - that it stands out satisfyingly from all the other dramatic dregs out there which spend a lot on splash and flash but end up having no soul.
Okay, four things. Stephanie Nash has the kind of eyes and ears that the best standup, observational humorists have. She knows how to mine the universal from the particular. That means its not just about her, that there is going to be a point, and it's going to move you, it's going to challenge you, it's going to expand you. And you are going to laugh while its happening.
The humor is funny, but its funny in a way that is satisfying. I think of Dave Barry -- whose prose and imagery can leave the reader in stitches for a few minutes but feeling empty -- and a master like James Thurber or E. B. White, whose writing helps ratchet up one's understanding of the human condition. Hers is of this latter, more distinguished school. (For comparison, I think also, of Lily Tomlin's "Search for Intelligent Life in the Universe")
Okay five. Stephanie Nash is also a great storyteller and an engaging performer. There is lots of gold and no dross in "White Woman …" At one-hour, this is a distilled piece, with nothing crammed in that is not essential, and all that is essential pieced together like a master work. It moves fast, delivers fast, and often.
What's it about? It's about spirituality and growth, sweat lodges and vision quests. Its about thirst and fulfillment. It's about darkness and rain and dreams. Its about NOT taking a four-day luxury cruise. It's about prayer, meditation, self-realization and a bear with a telegram.
It's addressed to her, but its message is for all of us.
"There was Time inside of Time."
"Yeah. It rained."
"I felt like a kid at Christmas!"
"That can't be good for your organs," her mom said.
For everyone who is interested in knowing more
about Native American ceremonies:
There are many sweatlodges in the Los Angeles area. I sweat with Wolf & Lisa Wahpepah in Malibu & Oxnard. Their non-profit organization is Descendants of the Earth, which was founded to help them secure a land-base. They are now in the process of collecting pledges for the recently found land that is now in escrow. With enough tax-deductible donations, these devoted people -- who travel to bring spiritual ceremonies to others, will finally have a place to put their 'church' (fire). For more information and/or to make a contribution: www.descendantsoftheearth.org
If you, at some point, find out about a specific sweatlodge ceremony & decide to go -- make sure that you have a sponsor. A sponsor is someone who has sweat before at that lodge -- who is taking you as their guest. They will tell you important information about that particular ceremony, as well as for your physical well being (i.e. bring towel, drink lots of water before & after, etc.) You can get more out of the ceremony if you understand & are prepared for what's involved, and if you show respect for the ways you are being invited to experience.
Many people come up to me after seeing my show & tell me that they want to do a vision quest.
If you just want to go camp in nature for 4 days to experience a taste of the connection I refer to in A White Woman on the Red Road, I highly encourage you to do so.
But if you are intending to follow the stricter ceremonial standards of the Native American vision quest (i.e. no water or shelter), I highly recommend starting with sweatlodge ceremonies first. You have to go to church for a while, before you can live 4 days as a high priest, so to speak. Then a vision quest will be a natural extension of your spiritual journey, and you'll have the invaluable support of the sweat community & the ceremony.
Whichever Road you follow -- Hozho Naninaado (Dineh/Navajo = "Walk in Beauty")