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A new play about Wyandot activist Lyda Conley will make its world premiere at KCRep

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Illustration of a woman's side profile. She has long, dark brown hair and her eyes are closed as she looks slightly upward. She's surrounded by a deep purple background and a yellow circle and vines are behind her image.
Iris Cliff, Assiniboine, and Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa
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KCRep
Program art from "Representatives For Those At Peace," the play written by Madeline Easley as a part of the Four Directions Playwright Residency. The play tells the story of Lyda Conley, who was the first Native American woman to argue a case before the U.S. Supreme Court.

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.

  • Madeline Easley, member of the Wyandotte Nation of Oklahoma and Four Directions Resident Playwright
  • Tara Moses, member of the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma and director of "Representatives For Those At Peace"
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