“Sovereignty” World Premiere History-Based Drama Performed by Marin Theatre Company

History buffs are likely to find this dramatic production more interesting than entertaining, and general audiences may find it more informational than entertaining.  But for the fine performances, it cannot be considered entertaining inasmuch as its story line is mostly dark and violent.  Indeed, playwright Mary Kathryn Nagle has combined history and pathos with a family dynamic in this script.

Director Jasson Minadakis and Cultural Consultant Brenda Toineeta Pipestem have joined forces to present a glimpse into the intense preamble to treaty negotiations between the Cherokee nation in the State of Georgia and the US government of President Andrew Jackson (1828) for Cherokee tribal land to be declared sovereign. It was the intention of the Georgia State Legislature to remove the Cherokee nation from its tribal land in Georgia “at will.”

Except in the volatile scenes, the dialogue at the October 6th Sunday Matinee was difficult to comprehend, in part because the actors were not wearing microphones and did not project their voices. (Heads up: it will be easier to follow if, just prior to the opening curtain, one takes the time to read the excellent “Time Line of Historical Events” written by the playwright, as presented in the MTC production program.)

The excellent minimalist set design (carpentry by Mike Ferrell, scenic design by Annie Smart, and stage management by Cirby Hatano) allowed for quick and smooth scene changes and therefor greater focus on the standout performances. Those included Ella Dershowitz (as Sarah Bird Northrup and Flora Ridge); Elizabeth Frances (as Sarah Ridge Polson); Andrew Roa (as Major Ridge and Roger Ridge Polson); Craig Marker (as Andrew Jackson and Ben O’Connor); Jake Waid (as John Ross and Jim Ross); Robert I. Mesa (as John Ridge); Kholan Studi (as Elias Boudinot and Watie Polson); Scott Coopwood (as White Chorus Man); and Adam Magill (as Samuel Worcester and Mitch). Kudos also go to Dialect Coach Kimily Conkle and Props Artisans, Rachel Hurado-Osburn and Liam Rudisill.

Review by Elle Simon with Flora Lynn Isaacson, Critic SFBACC

Remaining performances of Sovereignty continue through October 20, 2019: Tuesday through Saturday at 7:30pm and Matinees at 2:00pm on Saturdays and Sundays at the Boyer Theater, 397 Miller Avenue, Mill Valley. (There is a 15-minute intermission during the 2-hour performance.) Tickets can be purchased at the box office an hour before the performance or online at: https://www.marintheatre.org/productions/sovereignty#schedule-and-prices

Coming up next at MTC will be the West Coast Premiere of Mother of the Maid by Jane Anderson and Directed by Jasson Minadakis, opening November 14 and running through December 8, 2019.