Performance Tells the Crazy Horse Monument Story
The Crazy Horse Memorial in the Black Hills of South Dakota is not your typical sculpture.
The 641-foot-wide by 563-foot high mountain monument is considered the largest sculpture in the world in honor of Native American people. It takes the form of Crazy Horse, a respected 19th century Oglala Lakota leader who fought against the U.S. federal government in an effort to preserve the traditions and values of the Lakota way of life.
Alma College students plan to advocate for the memorial in a theatrical performance scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 12, in the Remick Heritage Center. Admission is free and open to the public.
Crazy Horse Memorial
“The audience can expect to experience two intertwining stories,” says faculty director Joanne Gilbert. “First, it tells the story of Korczak Ziolkowski and his family who for more than 60 years have been creating the Crazy Horse Memorial sculpture. Secondly, it tells the story of contemporary Lakota who grew up on the Pine Ridge Reservation.”
Korczak Ziolkowski spent a large portion of his life prior to his death in 1982 sculpting the memorial. His family members continue to work on the memorial, which is intended to honor the culture, tradition and living heritage of North American Indians.
The 11 Alma College students involved in the theatrical production will use an original script based on interviews with the late sculptor’s family and Lakota both on and off of the Pine Ridge Reservation in the Black Hills of South Dakota.
“Instead of the actors interacting with each other in costume and on sets, they will address the audience directly,” says Gilbert. “The performers face the audience and use a technique called ‘everyday life performance’ in which they replicate the speech and mannerisms of the individuals interviewed.”
Gilbert conducted the interviews in 2007 and found the stories fascinating.
“Once I visited, I became incredibly moved and inspired by the dream of Korczak Ziolkowski,” says Gilbert. “What's amazing is that here is someone who knew his vision would never be complete in his lifetime, yet he did it anyway."
Following the Alma performance, the students travel to South Dakota with two presentations May 14 at the Red Cloud Indian School on the Pine Ridge Reservation and two additional performances at the Crazy Horse Memorial May 17.
Collaborating with Gilbert and her students will be Jan Howard, executive director of the Michigan Cable Consortium, and Joe Sowmick, public relations director of the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe.
Howard plans to videotape the performance and air it nationally via Webcasting from Mac3TV. Sowmick also will accompany the group to South Dakota, where he will present Ruth Ziolkowski, Korczak’s widow and CEO of Crazy Horse Memorial, with a donation from the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe.
“We are delighted to be collaborating with both Jan Howard and the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe on this project,” says Gilbert. “Joe has been to Crazy Horse several times and is thrilled to be able to participate with Alma College. He also will be serving as one of the videographers with Jan Howard.
“The Crazy Horse Memorial is funded completely by private donations, so the only way for progress to continue is for people to know about it,” says Gilbert. “The national rebroadcast of our performance will ensure that advocacy for the memorial will continue.”
For more information about the memorial, visit the Website at:
Posted: Fri, May 1st, 2009 at 9:32AM