Spiderwoman Theater combines social commentary with drama

Drama combined with social commentary comes to Tennessee Tech University's Backdoor Playhouse on Thursday, March 22, when the renowned Spiderwoman Theater takes on the stereotypes of Native Americans.

The play, "Winnetou's Snake Oil Show from Wigwam City," begins at 8 p.m. and is free and open to the public. This is a Center Stage event in cooperation with Lizz Dunn Productions/Management.

"Winnetou's Snake Oil Show From Wigwam City" rains irreverent spitballs on American stereotypes of "Indians" and is based loosely on a German turn-of-the-century book by Carl May entitled The Legend of Winnetou. This piece deals with mysticism, healing, ecological knowledge and stereotypes.

Making up Spiderwoman Theater are Native Americans Lisa Mayo and her sisters, Muriel and Gloria Miguel. The three women are from Brooklyn, N.Y., and write and perform their own scripts.

Spiderwoman performs a bonafide snake oil show, complete with miracle result. It satirizes New Age "plastic shamans" and how they project a completely untrue view of Native American culture while also delving into the issue of the medicine man and of phony mysticism.

Spiderwoman Theater is the oldest continually performing woman's theatre company in North America, beginning in 1975. The ensemble takes it name from the Hopi goddess who speaks all languages and taught people to weave, to possess insight and is always present to give and guide.

The women of Spiderwoman Theater weave stories with words and movement, creating interlocking tales where fantasy and power are comically intertwined, according to published reviews.

A reception will follow the performance, sponsored by the TTU Commission on the Status of Women.

For more information, call the Backdoor Playhouse at (931) 372-3478.