CSUSM Theatre presents: The Thanksgiving Play


Angelina Parra

CSUSM Theatre students perform “The Thanksgiving Play.”

Natalie Navarro, Opinion Editor

From Nov. 17-20, the CSUSM School of Arts produced The Thanksgiving Play in room Arts 111. Written by Larissa Fasthorse, The Thanksgiving Play is a satire about good intentions and insensitive actions. 

After receiving multiple grants to honor Native American Heritage month, Logan (theatre teacher/director) gathers local educators and actors to help devise a play regarding a politically correct and accurate retelling of the first Thanksgiving. Believing she hired an Indigenous actor to provide cultural insight Logan’s expectations start high and hopeful.

However, once the group learns that their Indigenous holy grail is actually Caucasian, the production meeting gradually implodes. Innocent ideas quickly develop and become outlandish. The group questions their willingness to convey a story they cannot relate to.

After several attempts, the group decides to abandon the issue and leave. They understand that no matter how good-intentioned they are, Indigenous Americans do not deserve to be left out of the conversation. Continuing to pursue the play perpetuates America’s ignorance toward them.

The Thanksgiving Play highlights how sometimes we contribute to societal problems by attempting to address or fix them. Ignorance is as strong as ignoring the issues; opening discourse with the parties involved is a start towards progress. 

Representation matters even when it is not necessarily required. While many may not notice the lack of authenticity, there are always people who do.

The Thanksgiving Play does a swell job expressing its message about inclusivity. Satire is a difficult genre to distinguish the central message from its humor. Although when done well, the message is brilliantly conveyed.