Passing down culture is an important value of the Chickasaw Nation and that expression can be experienced through East Central University’s rendition of ‘Chickasaw Tales’ on Oct. 12 at 7:30 p.m. and Oct. 13 at 2:30 p.m. at the Ataloa Theatre of the Hallie Brown Ford Fine Arts Center.
Around the world, key components of cultures are passed down from generations in a number of ways. One of the most important avenues to transmit lessons to posterity is through indigenous stories. Humans have told stories all the way back through recorded history.
‘Chickasaw Tales’ attempts to capture the important values of the Chickasaw culture by portraying several stories through a venue categorized as ‘trickster’ tales. In other words, each of the stories have been passed down by the Chickasaw elders with the dual intentions of No. 1 explaining how certain animals were created by the Great Spirit and No. 2 instructing Chickasaw children about inappropriate behaviors.
In ‘Chickasaw Tales’, co-authored by ECU’s Dr. Steve Phillips and the Chickasaw Nation’s Lorie Robins, the authors use an over-arching story of Granny teaching three Chickasaw children lessons by taking them on a journey through the forest. As Granny slyly latches onto teachable moments, she tells the stories of “How Owl Came to Look the Way He Does”, “How Rabbit Lost Her Tail”, “How Opossum Came to Look the Way She Does”, and “What Happened When Alligator Met Trouble”.
Each of these tales, each entertaining in its own respect, demonstrates a lesson for the children about what is and what isn’t acceptable Chickasaw behavior. As the play concludes, Granny (who also plays the Great Spirit) is pleased to see positive changes in each of the children.
“This is the first year to do this and it’s exciting to get to team with the Chickasaw Nation. This is a great way for our (ECU) students to get involved with children’s theatre. This is not only theatrical, but it helps us understand local cultures,” said Dr. Kurt A. Edwards, Assistant Professor of Performance Studies at ECU and Manager of the ECU Theatre Box Office.
Tickets are $10, but for a Pontotoc County Discount Price, patrons can purchase tickets at $5 for adults and $3 for children and senior citizens.
For more information or to get tickets contact the Hallie Brown Ford Fine Arts Center Box Office by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 580-559-5751.