Coyote Was Going There

This was a devised production using stories from Native American oral tradition.  The idea came out of a need to find a production to do with a cast of 24.  Musicals were off the menu.  Searches through plays led to nothing that really offered good opportunities for 24 acting students.  One day I was looking through my home library and ran across the wonderful book titled Coyote Was Going There by Jerold Ramsey.  After reading a few of the stories it struck me that there was potential for a play based on the characters in these stories.  This led to further reading in Ramsey’s book and also in Richard Erdoe and Alfonso Ortiz’s books American Indian Myths and Legends and American Indian Trickster Tales.  Marianne took a great interest in the project and read all three books cover to cover!  I picked my way through each one and between me and Marianne we

shortlisted the stories we liked best. There was a very memorable time in a hotel in Rome when we were on the roof of the hotel reading stories to each other with a bottle of wine and some nibbles.  This eventually led to Coyote being the main character and over several wine assisted evenings back in Bournemouth, England, a structure and narrative began to emerge.  Marianne helped me capture the ideas as they tumbled out of me and we soon had an outline from which to build the narrative and twenty-four stories, the same as the number of actors, to draw from in the telling of our tale.  During a four week process the cast, my assistant directors and I built the action of the play.  Coyote’s journey was epic.  It was a magical production that affected cast, crew and audience alike.  I think this production will always be with me in a very special way.  I am hoping, one day, to publish the script. (2011)