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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
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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