A new play about Wyandot activist Lyda Conley will make its world premiere at KCRep
Lyda Conley became the first Indigenous woman to argue a case before the U.S. Supreme Court in her efforts to protect a sacred Native cemetery in Kansas City, Kansas. A new play by Wyandotte playwright Madeline Easley is bringing Conley's story to the stage.
A new play about Wyandot activist Lyda Conley's fight to protect the Wyandot National Burying Ground in Kansas City, Kansas, is making its world premiere in a staged reading at KCRep this weekend.
The new play, "Representatives For Those At Peace," was written by Madeline Easley, the inaugural recipient of the Four Directions Playwright Residency, a collaboration between KCRep and three other arts organizations.
The commission was especially meaningful for Easley, who grew up in the Kansas City metro and is a member of the Wyandotte Nation of Oklahoma.
The story of Conley — who went to law school, conducted an armed occupation, and took a lawsuit all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court — was reported in a 2020 episode of the KCUR Studios podcast A People's History of Kansas City.
According to Easley, the program is among the first of its kind specifically for Indigenous playwrights. It also reflects a growing desire for Native stories in the theater world.
Tara Moses, the play's director and a member of the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma, said she hadn't seen her own identity reflected on stage until 2017.
"Now I see Native youth going to the theater and they're like, 'oh, yeah, I know all these Native plays. I've seen all this stuff,'" Moses said. "Thinking back to whenever I was a youth … that was just never an opportunity."
A staged reading of "Representatives For Those At Peace" will take place Saturday, Dec. 2 at 5 p.m. at KCRep's Copaken Stage. For more information, contact the KCRep box office.