The Laboratory Theater of Florida will present the Southwest Florida premiere of Larissa FastHorse’s The Thanksgiving Play on Nov. 4. The comedy runs until Nov. 20.
Playwright Larissa FastHorse (Sicangu Lakota Nation) is a 2020 MacArthur Fellow, and The Thanksgiving Play will open at the Hayes Theater on Broadway in spring 2023.
The Thanksgiving Play explores a group of white teachers who enthusiastically plan to create a respectful and politically correct Thanksgiving play for their schoolchildren. After winning a grant to hire a Native American actress, mayhem and hilarity ensue when the actress turns out to be a white lady with a tan.
Artistic director Annette Trossbach says, “this satire is razor-sharp, serving up comedic moment after moment about traditional elementary school Thanksgiving plays and the whitewashed United States history that informs them, as well as the well-meaning but terribly lost teachers behind the whole endeavor. Audiences young and old will laugh along because, at its heart, it’s all true.”
Director Madelaine Weymouth says, “I love when I have no idea where a play will go next. The Thanksgiving Play is full of those surprises. You widen your eyes at Larissa FastHorse’s audacity, and then you’re giggling behind your hand, not sure if you should be laughing at all, until you’re laughing out loud. Everyone gets lampooned in The Thanksgiving Play. FastHorse shows us the politics of teachers and small-time theater through a fun house mirror and makes it feel ridiculous and natural at the same time. It’s got it all: Physical gags, strong jokes, sleeper lines that you only realize are funny after you’ve thought about it for a second. It’s one of those shows that leaves you guessing how it could possibly end… and when FastHorse delivers you there, you think, oh, of course! in a way that’s true to satire.”
The Thanksgiving Play features Stacy Stauffer (Logan), Ryan Adair (Jaxton), Kassidy Renee (Alicia) and Andrew Sarkozy (Caden).
Performance dates are Nov. 4, 5, 10, 11, 12, 17, 18 and 19 at 8 p.m. and Nov. 6, 13, 19 and 20 at 2 p.m. Half-priced previews are on Nov. 2 and 3 at 8 p.m. For tickets, call 239-218-0481 or online at www.laboratorytheaterflorida.com. The Laboratory Theater is located at 1634 Woodford Ave. in downtown Fort Myers.