According To Coyote
May 12 - 14
Playwright John Kauffman was a former Seattle Rep company member who was set to perform According to Coyote in 1990, but the planned production was canceled due to his untimely passing. John was a major part of the Native theater group Red Earth, and his inspiration and legacy among his friends and colleagues led directly to the formation of Red Eagle Soaring in Seattle. Now, According to Coyote is being revived with performer Kellen Trenal and will play in the PONCHO Forum at Seattle Rep.
From Kauffman's niece, Josephine Keefe:
"According to Coyote is an anthology of stories from the Plateau tribes presented in monodramatic form; a single actor bringing together in confluence music, dance, and performance. First performed at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in 1987 by my late uncle John Kauffman, playwright of this timeless piece, I was two years old at the time and would never have the opportunity to see my uncle perform Coyote live before his passing in 1990. That didn't keep me from watching a grainy recording of his performance however, as it remains one of my earliest childhood memories.
John understood the vital importance of not only keeping our cultural stories alive, but also sharing our stories through dramatic play and performance; creating a visual life of Coyote that would live long in the memories of young and old alike as they share in and celebrate intergenerational storytelling.
This current production of According to Coyote is touring regionally across tribal communities and continuing to transcend the imaginations of young and old alike and celebrate the vitality of Native American history, lore, and heritage."
Cast & Creative
Kellen Trenal (pronounced like “Chanel”) is a visual artist, performer, small business owner, alumnus of the University of Notre Dame, and holistic wellness practitioner, born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. Proudly representing both African (Black American) and Niimíipuu (Nez Perce) ancestry, Kellen embraces these multiple identities to empower their work in all its manifestations. niimiipuuwítki (káa ‘iceyeeyenéewit) híiwes waqíiswit--The People’s way of living (and Coyote- knowledge) equals life.
Josephine Keefe (Director, she/her) is an enrolled member of the Nez Perce tribe, and theatre artist residing in the Pacific Northwest. She has worked professionally as an actor for both stage and film, director, and professor of theatre arts for over a decade. Directing credits include: Hedwig and the Angry Inch (Bing Crosby Theatre), Antigone (Gonzaga University), Venus In Fur (StageLeft), The Misanthrope (Spokane Falls Community College), The Crucible (Spokane Falls Community College), and Lysistrata (Hollywood Fringe). She received her MFA from UCLA School of Theatre, Film, & Television, and her BFA from The Theatre School at DePaul University. Josephine is honored to be directing her late uncle John Kauffman's play According to Coyote and sharing his words once again with the Seattle community. She dedicates this production to John, the true Iceye’ye. www.josephinekeefe.com
Kauffman won many honors for his theatrical work, including an Emmy Award for the televised version of the one-man show, ``The Indian Experience.'' He also performed that play at A Contemporary Theatre in Seattle, at an Off Broadway theater in New York and in Washington, D.C., at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, with which he had an association for many years.
He was in his sixth year as artistic director of the Honolulu Theatre for Youth, the only resident professional theater in Hawaii. In 1988 the Hawaii State Theatre Council presented him two Po'O Kela Awards for his play ``According to Coyote.'' In 1988 he also was named the outstanding artistic educator in Hawaii.
Kauffman was born June 24, 1947, in Lewiston, Idaho. His mother, Josephine Moody Kauffman, was a full-blooded Nez Perce Indian; his father, John Kauffman Sr., was of German ancestry.
A graduate of Seattle's Cleveland High School, he won a city-wide competition for a drama scholarship at the University of Washington. In 1970, he received a master of fine arts degree from the UW, as a member of the first class in the UW's prestigious Professional Actor Training Program.
Kauffman worked as an actor and/or director with most of Seattle's major theater companies, including the Empty Space Theatre (with which he was associate artistic director for several years), the Seattle Repertory Theatre, A Contemporary Theatre, Seattle Group Theatre, Pioneer Square Theatre and the Seattle Children's Theatre.
His play, "According to Coyote,'' was presented last spring by the SCT. Kauffman had been scheduled to perform the one-man play, but his illness prevented that. He passed away on January 16, 1990 in Seattle.
The Legacy of John Kauffman
Produced by Red Eagle Soaring, Spokane Ensemble Theatre & One Heart Native Arts & Film Festival in partnership with Seattle Rep.