The Indian Removal Act of 1830 was the legal displacement of 60,000 natives from their homelands to the Oklahoma Territory. During the removal, thousands of lives were lost along the journey from Southeastern regions because of the brutal conditions involving harsh weather, starvation, and the spread of diseases. This act was only the beginning of the injustices that Native Americans faced over time. These injustices include the continuation of land removal, economic hardships, health disparities, the removal of children from native communities, and racial segregation. In the play “On the Far End,” the playwright and actress, Mary Kathryn Nagle, narrates the story of activist Ella Jean Hill Chaudhuri also known as Jean, a Muscogee leader who actively fights to protect her identity and the native community.
…beautiful and noteworthy…reminds America how diversity should be treasured and the importance of preserving history.
“On the Far End” is a beautiful and noteworthy one-woman play directed by Margot Bordelon. Nagle’s writing and Bordelon’s directing acknowledge the generational effects of the Indian Removal Act on Native American communities. Nagle depicts the emotional and physical turmoil that community members face through the character Jean. Her performance is enlightening and powerful as she plays a character passionate about making her voice heard to initiate change and preservation of her community. Bordelon’s compelling direction allows the audience to engage and sympathize with the story on stage while being able to reflect on the history of America. This play calls attention to the importance of fighting for what is right.
The play highlights the significance of the environment on native culture through the sound designs by Emily Duncan Wilson and the scenic designs by Paige Hathaway. These elements align with the beauty of the story and the legacy of land. The lovely colors and the sound of nature allow for a spiritual connection and sacredness to be experienced. The idea of legacy is continued as the play pays homage to the language of the Muscogee with the projection of terms from the Muscogee Creek Nation. Connecting land and language the play is a reminder of the extensiveness of culture.
“On the Far End” is an unfiltered and unapologetic portrayal and legacy of Ella Jean Hill Chaudhuri whose name should be remembered across America. It is the story that reminds America how diversity should be treasured and the importance of preserving history.
Running time: One hour and 30 minutes with no intermission.
Advisory: Derogatory terms and mentions of violence.
“On the Far End” runs through May 7, 2023 at Round House Theatre Company, 4545 East-West Hwy, Bethesda, MD 20814. (A Round House Theatre Equal Play Commission. Part of the National Capital New Play Festival.) For more information and purchase tickets, click here. Masks are required at the following performances: April 2, 7, 15, 22, 29, and May 3.