Sarah Ridge Polson, a young Cherokee lawyer fighting to restore her Nation’s jurisdiction, confronts the ever-present ghosts of her grandfathers. With shadows stretching from 1830s Cherokee Nation (now present-day Georgia) through Andrew Jackson’s Oval Office, along the fateful Trail of Tears, to the Cherokee Nation in present-day Oklahoma—Sovereignty travels the powerful intersections of personal and political truths; bridging our country’s distant past and imminent future.

"At a time when the current President of the United States thinks that the Trail of Tears is nothing more than a joke he can use as a political weapon, it is critical that Americans learn about the attempt, and failure, of President Andrew Jackson to completely eradicate my Nation and all Cherokee Nation citizens on the Trail of Tears. We are still here today, and I am so thankful that Marin Theatre Company is giving me the chance to share a story that most Americans have never heard."  — Mary Kathryn Nagle

Run time is approximately 2 hours, plus one 15-minute intermission.

There are no special effects advisories for this production. 

MTC provides advisories for each production regarding special effects that may affect patron health and physical sensitivities as necessary. MTC does not provide advisories relating to content, because content sensitivities vary from patron to patron. If you have questions about content, please contact the box office prior to purchasing your tickets as we do not offer refunds to patrons who choose not to see a show based on subject matter. 

Generous season and program support for Sovereignty provided by The Shubert Foundation, William & Flora Hewlett Foundation, The Harold & Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust, The Sheri and Les Biller Family Foundation, and Relevant Wealth Advisors.

Performance Schedule



Press Opening Night 
Tuesday, Oct 1, 7:30pm. 
Opening nights are not available for sale online.
Seating is extremely limited.   

Questions? Please contact the Box Office directly:
(415) 388-5208 | boxoffice@marintheatre.org 

Evenings
Tue - Sat 7:30pm  
Sunday Oct 6, 7:30pm

Matinees 
Sunday (Preview) Sep 29, 4pm    
Thursday (Perspectives) Oct 17, 1pm    
Saturdays, Oct 5,12 & 19, 2pm    
Sundays Oct 6,13 & 20, 2pm

Ticket Prices

Performance Center
seating
Side
seating
Performance Center seating Side seating
Previews $39 $39
Sat Eve & Weekend Matinees $60 $55
Tue*, Wed, Thu, Fri & Sun Eve $52 $47
Perspectives Matinee $52 $47
Best Deal (see info below) $25 $25

PRICES SUBJECT TO CHANGE. 

Phone & online orders subject to a $6 fee per order.

Tickets are subject to resale starting 5 minutes before curtain. Late seating is based on available seats.

Disabled seating is currently only available through the MTC Box Office (415.388.5208 or in person). We apologize for any inconvenience.

Discounts

  • BEST DEAL: $25 tickets in select seats available for all performances beginning one week before opening night. Available online. Questions? Call the box office at 415-388-5208
  • GROUPS: Bring eight or more people to receive a $7 discount on tickets. The group discount is automatically applied online. Questions? Call the box office at 415-388-5208.
  • SENIORS (65+): $4 off single tickets to all performances, available online.
  • UNDER 35: $25, all performances, available online.
  • TEENS: $10 tickets, all performances, available online.
  • EDUCATOR: $12 tickets, all performances (limit 2). Must teach at a Marin County School. Call the box office to reserve at (415) 388-5208.
  • MILITARY: $6 off all performances. Thank you for your service! Please call the box office to reserve at (415) 388-5208.


    Promo Codes distributed for online redemption subject to availability.
    Only ONE (1) Promo Code will be valid per order.     
    Promo Codes do not apply to Best Deal ($25) tickets.
    Promo Codes do not apply to already discounted tickets (including Senior, Under 35, Teen, and Best Deal).

    Select a Performance

    To begin your ticket purchase, select a performance from the calendar below:

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    MTC Engaged Special Events

    WINDOW ON THE WORK

    WINDOW ON THE WORK

    Thurs., Sept 5 | 7:00 PM

    Window on the Work series focuses on our production; design, casting and rehearsal process. Mill Valley Public Library, 375 Throckmorton Avenue, Mill Valley.

    AFTER WORDS

    AFTER WORDS

    Post-Show

    Post-show question and answer sessions, led by a member of our artistic staff, immediately following most performances (except on Opening and Closing Nights and Saturdays).

    PANEL DISCUSSION

    PANEL DISCUSSION

    Sun. Sept 29 | 6:45 PM*

    Please join MTC for a very special panel, with Sovereignty playwright and practicing attorney Mary Kathryn Nagle; Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians Supreme Court Justice Brenda Toineeta Pipestem; and Justice Abby Abinanti, Chief Judge of the Yurok Tribal Court (in Klamath, California). These esteemed leaders will discuss contemporary issues facing Native Nations and Native women and girls. 

    *The panel will begin shortly after the 4:00 PM preview performance, so start time of this event is approximate. 

    Wednesday Influencers Networking Event

    Wednesday Influencers Networking Event

    Wed, Oct 2 | 6:45 PM

    #beaninfluencer and join us pre-show for a glass (or two) of W.I.N.E. + snax at our Wednesday Influencers Networking Event for Sovereignty! See the best new theatre in the Bay without breaking the bank, and mingle with other top-fan theatre-goers. Get access to the pre-show reception + your ticket to the show for only $10 using promo code: INFLUENCER

    PLUS: if you post about your experience after the show and tag MTC, we’ll give you a complimentary ticket voucher to come back and see the show again, or to bring a friend with you to the next show!

    #winewednesdays #theatreinfluencers #goseeaplay

    WEDNESDAY PRE-SHOW TALK

    WEDNESDAY PRE-SHOW TALK

    Every Wednesday | 7:10 PM

    Join us in the theatre—with a beverage!—for a pre-show talk with a member of our artistic staff prior to every Wednesday evening performance.

    PERSPECTIVES MATINEE

    PERSPECTIVES MATINEE

    Thurs Oct 17 | 12:00 PM

    Topical lecture one hour prior to the 1:00 PM open-captioned performance.

    Cast

    • Scott Coopwood*

      Scott Coopwood*

      White Chorus Man

      Scott Coopwood Regional favorites include:  The title roles in Hamlet, MacBeth, Cymbeline, King John, Edward III and Cyrano De Bergerac, Iago in Othello, Edmund in King Lear, Angelo in Measure for Measure, Carl in Lonely Planet, Charlie in The Scene, Kippy in Take Me Out, Shylock in The Merchant Of Venice, Jacques in As You Like It, Trigorin in The Seagull, Benedick, Don John, and Dogberry in Much Ado About Nothing, Petruchio in The Taming Of The Shrew, Brutus in Julius Caesar, Harry Brock in Born Yesterday, Brennan in Frost/Nixon, Edward in Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me, Johan in Groundswell and Apis in Archduke. Regional Theatres include: Arkansas Rep., Artists Rep., Capital Rep., San Jose Rep., Center Rep., Berkeley Rep., Capital Stage, The Utah, Colorado, Orlando and Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festivals, Arizona Theatre Co., Sacramento Theater Co., Marin Theatre Co., Portland Center Stage.,Theatreworks.,The Seattle and Marin Shakespeare Companies, Profile Theatre Project, Shotgun Players, San Francisco Playhouse, and Jewel Theatre Co., as well as work with the Toronto, Windsor, and Oregon Symphony Orchestra’s. 

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    •  Ella Dershowitz*

      Ella Dershowitz*

      Sarah Bird Northrup / Flora Ridge

      Past MTC: Thomas and Sally. Bay Area: Actually (Aurora), The Wolves (Capital Stage), The Siegel (City Lights).  Off-Broadway/NYC: Can You Forgive Her? (Vineyard Theater), Connected (59E59), Intimacy (The New Group), Card and Gift (Clubbed Thumb), On The Verge (Attic Theater), A Splintered Soul (Theater Three).  Regional: 4,000 Miles (Hudson Stage), You Will Remember Me (Hudson Stage), Visitors (Martha’s Vineyard Playhouse), The Screenwriter’s Daughter (Martha’s Vineyard Playhouse), Twelfth Night (Payomet).  TV/Film: Phil Spector (HBO), The Affair (Showtime), Lie to Me (Fox), Knife FightTwo-Bit Waltz, Addiction: A 60’s Love Story, I Am MichaelPitching Tents.  Training: Yale University and LAMDA.

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    • Elizabeth Frances*

      Elizabeth Frances*

      Sarah Polson

      Elizabeth Frances is a theater, television, and film actress known for her roles as Prairie Flower on AMC’s The Son with Pierce Brosnan, Katrina in Mayans MC, Angela Maryboy in the film Drunktown’s Finest produced by Robert Redford, Bad Penny in the Emmy Nominated and Peabody Award Winning TV series Her Story, and Lily Rowan on Netflix’s Love from producer Judd Apatow. On stage, she has performed with Center Theater Group, La Jolla Playhouse, Los Angeles Theatre Center, Shakespeare Santa Cruz, the Kirk Douglas Theatre, The Fountain Theater, and Native Voices at the Autry where she is a proud Ensemble member. She has a BFA in Acting from CalArts.

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    • Adam Magill*

      Adam Magill*

      Samuel Worcester / Mitch

      Adam Magill last appeared at Marin Theatre Company as Will in Shakespeare in Love. Previously he was in Native Son and , Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley, and The Whale. Bay Area credits include: Macbeth (Berkeley Repertory Theatre), Stupid F**king Bird(San Fransisco Playhouse), The Whale(MTC), The Mousetrap (Shotgun Players), and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (City Lights Theater Company). Mr. Magill is a graduate of the Foothill Theatre Conservatory.

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    • Craig Marker*

      Craig Marker*

      Andrew Jackson / Ben

      Craig Marker returns to Marin Theatre Company having performed as King Henry VIII and James I in Anne Boleyn and Nick Bright in Invisible Hand. Other MTC credits include Bus Stop, Equivocation, 9 Circles, Glass Menagerie, Seagull, and Othello. Recent Bay Area Credits include: Yoga Play and Noises Off at San Francisco Playhouse; Frost/Nixon at TheatreWorks; and Dancing Lessons and The Liar at Center REPertory Company. Marker has performed for California Shakespeare Theater, San Jose Repertory Theatre, Portland Center Stage, La Jolla Playhouse, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, The San Francisco Shakespeare Festival, Aurora Theatre Company, Capital Stage Company, Playground, Shotgun Players, Barbican Theatre (UK), Birmingham Repertory Theatre (UK), Edinburgh Fringe Festival (UK), and the Cyprus International Festival of Greek Drama. Marker is a graduate of Cal State East Bay’s theatre program and is a proud member of Actors’ Equity Association. More information at www.craig-marker.com

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    • Robert I Mesa*

      Robert I Mesa*

      John Ridge

      Robert I Mesa (Navajo/Soboba) Recently in “Crossing Mnisose” at The Armory in Portland, his TV credits include Tecumseh in “The Men Who Built America: The Frontiersman”, produced by Leonardo DiCaprio for the History Channel, “From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series”, and “Gunslingers”. He appears as Al Momaday in “N. Scott Momaday: Words From A Bear”, and as a voice in the game “Red Dead Redemption. Also a filmmaker, photographer and artist, Robert shows in markets at the Autry (LA), The Heard (Phoenix), the Santa Fe Indian Market, and galleries in Santa Fe, Shanghai, China and Bristol, U.K.

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    • Andrew Roa*

      Andrew Roa*

      Major Ridge / Roger Ridge Polson

      Andrew Roa is making  his Marin Theatre Company debut. An award winning actor, director, and filmmaker, his stage credits include the World premiere of Sovereignty (Arena Stage), Black Elk Speaks (Denver Center Theatre/Mark Taper Forum), The Spirit of Pocahontas (Disneyland Theatre), Equus (Nevada Repertory), and Happy (Montana Repertory). Since 1999, he has been a founding Company Member of Native Voices at the Autry, playing roles in Please Do Not Touch the Indians (Outstanding Theatre Performance, First Americans in the Arts) and Kino and Teresa among others, as well as directing and mentoring young playwrights. Film and TV credits include Picking up the Pieces, Fame, Quantum Leap, The Ellen Burstyn Show and The Iceman Chronicles.  Andrew is also a film producer, director, screenwriter with five features and several shorts to his credit.  

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    • Kholan Studi*

      Kholan Studi*

      Elias Boudinot / Watie

      Kholan Studi was born and raised in Santa Fe, NM. A graduate of the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in Los Angeles, he is a company member of Native Voices at the Autry, where he opened “Bingo Hall” and “They Don’t Talk Back”. Kholan would like to give a special thanks to his parents Maura and Wes, all of his friends and mentors for their guidance, support and love. “I wouldn’t be standing on this stage if it wasn’t for you.” And a very special thanks to Marin Theater and Mary Katherine Nagle for the amazing opportunity to help tell this story. Anything worth doing, is hard.

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    • Jake Waid*

      Jake Waid*

      John Ross / Jim Ross

      Jake Waid (John Ross / Jim Ross) is making his MTC debut. He was last seen in this role at Arena Stage. Other credits include Twelfth Night (Shakespeare and Company); Cymbeline (Notre Dame Shakespeare Festival); Hamlet (Fairbanks Shakespeare Theatre); George Bonga: Black Voyageur (History Theatre); the road weeps, the well runs dry (Pillsbury House); Raven Odyssey, The Crucible, Moby Dick, and Genesis (Perseverance Theatre). He has also worked with La Jolla Playhouse, Native Voices at the Autry, and Working Class Theatre. He studied at Cornish College and Freehold Actors Studio.

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    Creative Team

    • Mary Kathryn Nagle

      Mary Kathryn Nagle

      Playwright

      Mary Kathryn Nagle (playwright) is an enrolled citizen of the Cherokee Nation. She currently serves as the Executive Director of the Yale Indigenous Performing Arts Program. She is also a partner at Pipestem Law, P.C., where she works to protect tribal sovereignty and the inherent right of Indian Nations to protect their women and children from domestic violence and sexual assault. Nagle has authored numerous briefs in federal appellate courts, including the United States Supreme Court. Nagle studied theater and social justice at Georgetown University as an undergraduate student, and received her J.D. from Tulane Law School where she graduated summe cum laude and received the John Minor Wisdom Award. She is a frequent speaker at law schools and symposia across the country. Her articles have been published in law review journals including the Harvard Journal of Law and Gender, Yale Law Journal (online forum), Tulsa Law Review, and Tulane Law Review, among others.

      Nagle is an alumn of the 2012 PUBLIC THEATER Emerging Writers Group, where she developed her play Manahatta in PUBLIC STUDIO (May 2014). Productions include Miss Lead (Amerinda, 59E59, January 2014), and Fairly Traceable (Native Voices at the Autry, March 2017), Sovereignty (Arena Stage), Manahatta (Oregon Shakespeare Festival), and Return to Niobrara (Rose Theater). In 2019, Portland Center Stage will produce the world premiere of Crossing Mnisose.

      Nagle has received commissions from Arena Stage (Sovereignty), the Rose Theater (Return to Niobrara, Omaha, Nebraska), Portland Center Stage (Mnisose), Denver Center for the Performing Arts, Yale Repertory Theatre (A Pipe for February), and Round House Theater.

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    • Jasson Minadakis

      Jasson Minadakis

      Director

      Jasson Minadakis (director) is in his 14th season as artistic director of Marin Theatre Company, where he has directed Oslo, Shakespeare in Love, Thomas and Sally, Guards at the Taj, August: Osage County, The Invisible Hand, Anne Boleyn, The Convert, The Whale, Failure: A Love Story, the world premiere of Lasso of Truth, The Whipping Man (San Francisco Bay Area Critics Circle Awards for Best Production and Best Acting Ensemble), Waiting for Godot, Othello: the Moor of Venice, The Glass Menagerie, Edward Albee’s Tiny Alice, the world premiere of Libby Appel’s adaptation of Chekhov’s Seagull, Happy Now?, Equivocation (SFBATCC Award, Best Director), the world premiere of Sunlight, Lydia, The Seafarer, Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune, A Streetcar Named Desire, said Saïd, Love Song, and The Subject Tonight is Love. As artistic director of Actor’s Express Theatre Company, he directed The Pillowman; Bug; The Love Song of J. Robert Oppenheimer; Echoes of Another Man; Killer Joe; Burn This; The Goat or, Who is Sylvia?; Blue/Orange; and Bel Canto. As producing artistic director of Cincinnati Shakespeare Festival, he directed Jesus Hopped the ’A’ Train, Chagrin Falls (2002 Cincinnati Entertainment Award for Best Production), and numerous others, including 19 productions of Shakespeare. Regional credits include The Whipping Man at Virginia Stage Company, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and Hamlet at Georgia Shakespeare, Copenhagen at Playhouse on the Square (2003 Ostrander Theatre Award for Best Dramatic Production), and Bedroom Farce at Wayside Theatre.

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    • Brenda Pipestem

      Brenda Pipestem

      Cultural Consultant

      Brenda Toineeta Pipestem, a citizen of the Eastern Band of Cherokee raised in the Tribe’s homelands in Cherokee, North Carolina, has dedicated her life to empowering tribal communities and protecting the sovereignty of American Indian Tribes through law, policy, education and support of the arts. 

      Pipestem continues to serve as an Appellate Justice on the Supreme Courts of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, having been appointed to consecutive four-year terms on the Cherokee Court since 2000 and consecutive two-year terms on the Mississippi Choctaw Court since 2010. Brenda previously worked for the White House Commission on Race under President Bill Clinton, and the U.S. Department of Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs working with Tribes on national and local policy issues, and serving a legislative detail to the U.S. Senate Interior Appropriations Subcommittee on the Interior and Related Agencies. Prior to law school, Brenda worked with a national not-for-profit educational consulting firm whose work focused on helping Tribal schools and public schools develop culture based curriculum and evaluation tools to meet the needs of Native students.

      Brenda currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors for the American Indian College Fund, the Tulsa Area United Way, the Booker T. Washington Foundation for Excellence, and the Board of Advisors for the University of Tulsa Center for the Humanities, and the Columbia Law School Public Interest/Public Service Fellows Program. Brenda previously served on the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) Board of Trustees, serving as Chair of the Board and Chair of the Repatriation Committee.

      Brenda is an alumna of Duke University (Public Policy Studies, BA ‘90) and Columbia Law (JD ’99). Brenda and Wilson Pipestem parent four wonderfully strong-minded children.

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    • Annie Smart+

      Scenic Designer

      MTC show designs: Guards at the Taj (awarded Best Set Design 2017 by the Bay Area Critics Circle) and The Lasso of Truth. Originally from London, she designed sets and costumes for Joint Stock, the National Theatre, the Royal Court, and many others. Her US premieres include Passing Strange, Big Love, Wintertime, Rita Moreno: Life Without Makeup, Danny Hoch’s Taking Over, Tiny Kushners, In the Next Room (or the vibrator play) on Broadway, and Quixote Nuevo. Local productions include Measure for Measure, The Glass Menagerie, Blithe Spirit, Candida, The Tempest, Man and Superman (Cal Shakes), A Doll’s House, Night and Day, and The Threepenny Opera (ACT) and 16 shows for Berkeley Rep. Ms. Smart has also designed for The Public Theater, Arena Stage, BAM, Steppenwolf, The Guthrie Theater, La Jolla Playhouse, Long Wharf Theatre, Magic Theater, TheatreWorks, Actors Theatre of Louisville, and more. She teaches performance design at UC Berkeley.

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    • E.B. Brooks+

      E.B. Brooks+

      Costume Designer

      E.B. Brooks  Oregon Shakespeare Festival:  Manahatta written by Mary Kathryn Nagle and Off The Rails.  Geffen Playhouse: The Legend of Georgia McBride (2018 Ovation Award Large Theater,  Drama Critic Circle Award, and NAACP Nomination), Mysterious Circumstances, Bad JewsWait Until Dark, and Good People.   Perseverance Theatre:  Winter Bear Project 2019 Tour, Franklin, Will Inc. and They Don't Talk Back.  Los Angeles Theater:  Hit The Wall (L.A. LGBT Center 2016 Best Costume Design Nominee), Invisible Cities (The Industry L.A.) Native Voices at The Autry: Pure Native, Bingo Hall, Stand Off at Highway #37, Birdhouse, and has been the design respondent for over 21 new original works by Native American, Alaska Native, and First Nations Playwrights. In addition to Theater,  E.B. also designs for film, television, commercial, music video, and events.   She received her M.F.A.from California Institute of the Arts and has taught at USC, CalTech, and Willamette University. She is a member of United Scenic Artists 829 and Costume Designers Guild 892.

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    • Danny Osburn

      Danny Osburn

      Lighting Designer

      Danny is a lighting designer and electrician native to the East Bay. He has designed the lights for various shows around the Bay Area, most notably Keith Moon: The Real Me. He has also done a number of designs in Chicago, for companies including Lifeline Theatre. Additionally, he has served as the Assistant Lighting Designer for several productions at MTC. For the past five years, Danny has been the Master Electrician at MTC. Since the Fall of 2018, he has been the Electrics Guest Instructor at Tamalpais High School. Prior to joining MTC, he spent several summers as the Assistant Master Electrician for Northwestern University's Cherubs program. He cut his teeth as an entertainment electrician as an intern for MTC in 2010. He earned a BA in Theatre and Philosophy from Northwestern in 2011.

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    • Sara	Huddleston

      Sara Huddleston

      Sound Designer

      Sara previously designed sound for MTC for OsloStraight White MenShakespeare in LoveMiss Bennett: Christmas at Pemberley, and Gem of the Ocean. Other favorite Bay Area sound design credits include In Old Age, The Gangster of Love, Reel to Reel, Fool for Love, Dogeaters, And I And Silence, Every Five Minutes, Hir, Terminus, Se Llama Cristina, Any Given Day, Mrs. Whitney and Goldfish (Magic Theatre), Octopus (Magic Theatre and Encore Theatre Company), I Call My Brothers, 410 [Gone], and Invasion! (Crowded Fire Theater), We Swim, We Talk, We Go To War and Autobiography of a Terrorist (Golden Thread Productions) , T.I.C. and In On It (Encore Theatre Company), The Shaker Chair (Encore Theatre Company and Shotgun Players), Kiss and Macbeth (Shotgun Players), and Ripped (Z Space). Next up: The Chinese Lady at Magic Theatre. 

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    • Mike Post

      Mike Post

      Projection Designer

      Mike is happy to be working with Marin Theatre Company where he designed projections for Skeleton CrewOslo and Lighting for Guards at the Taj.  He has also worked at other theatres in the Bay area including Sound for Cardboard Piano at New Conservatory Theatre Company, and Lighting for The View Upstairs  Recently in the Atlanta area he designed and animated projections for Harold and the Purple Crayon at the Center for Puppetry Arts, and lit Men with Money at The Aurora and Pitmen Painters at Theatrical Outfit.  Mike is now starting a new position as the Assistant Professor of Lighting/Projection at The University of Montana.

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    • Cirby Hatano

      Rehearsal Stage Manager

    • Kimily Conkle

      Kimily Conkle

      Dialect Coach

      Kimily Conkle is delighted to join the creative team for Sovereignty. Kimily has coached extensively throughout the Bay area, including 20 shows for TheatreWorks (notably the world premiere of Memphis). Other theatres include San Jose Stage, Broadway by the Bay, The Mountain Play, Sierra Repertory Theatre, Foothill Music Theatre, Palo Alto Players, Tabard Theatre, Dragon Productions, Pear Theatre, Woodside Community Theatre, Hillbarn Theatre, Ross Valley Players, and Stanford University. Kimily has performed with TheatreWorks, San Jose Stage, PCPA Theaterfest, Western Stage, Empire Plush Room, and at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. She is a former member of the Theatre Arts faculty at Foothill College and received her training from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, American Conservatory Theater, and Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Arts. She is a graduate of the Georgia Institute of Technology.

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    • ​Laura A. Brueckner

      ​Laura A. Brueckner

      Lliterary Manager & Resident Dramaturg

      Laura A. Brueckner has been supporting productions and playwrights with her dramaturgical work for over 20 years, with an emphasis on digital dramaturgy, world premieres, and commissions. During this time, she has been proud to count among her collaborators artists such as Marin Theatre Company’s playwright in residence, Lauren Gunderson; Christopher Chen; Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig; Mina Morita; Marissa Wolf; Idris Goodwin; Lachlan Philpott; and Dominique Serrand, as well as groundbreaking companies Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Crowded Fire Theater, The New Harmony Project, Playwrights Foundation, and, now, MTC. As an artist, she is committed to theatre as a path of social action, critical inquiry, discovery, and delight. Her journalistic writing on artistic process and audience engagement has been published by HowlRound and Theatre Bay Area; her dramaturgical writing has been published by Berkeley Rep, California Shakespeare Theater, and Crowded Fire. A member of Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas, she holds a B.A. in English Dramatic Literature (magna cum laude) from U.C. Berkeley and a Ph.D. in Dramaturgy from U.C. San Diego.

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    • Trevor Scott Floyd

      Trevor Scott Floyd

      Artistic Producer

      Trevor Scott Floyd (he/him/his) started as an Artistic Direction intern with MTC in 2015 and, prior to his current role as Artistic Producer, spent two seasons as Director of Ticketing, Artistic Associate, and Company Manager. As Artistic Producer, Trevor serves as MTC's local Casting Director. Originally from the beaches of South Carolina, he graduated with a dual major in Theatre and Political Science from Clemson University before trading in the Palmetto trees for the Redwoods. In addition to his role at MTC he is a freelance director and writer. You can read his latest work on the New Play Exchange.

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    • Apollonia

      Apollonia

      Production Assistant

      Apollonia started out as a Shakespearean actor then moved to stage managing ten years ago. Hailing from New England, they have worked on theatre in the U.S. of A., Italy, and South Korea, where they started and managed their own theatre troupe of expats (Busan English Theatre Association); they put on plays such as the English premiere of CLOWNS. They are currently living and working as a stage manager and theatre technician in the Bay Area with various companies. They also consult on shows, using their knowledge of Korean culture and their knowledge of the queer and BDSM communities. They would like to thank MTC for allowing them to work on this show.

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    • Goñi Montes

      Goñi Montes

      Graphic Illustrator (promotional artwork)

      Goñi was born in Ponce, Puerto Rico, got a BA from the UPR at Mayagüez, and an MFA from SCAD Atlanta. I began working as a scientific illustrator for the Puerto Rico Sea Grant. Now I mostly do editorial illustrations & comics with some fantasy here and there.

      Adobe // Adweek // American Way // Architectural Review // Arena Stage // BOOM! Studios // Canadian Business Magazine // Chicago Tribune // Draft FCB // Dwell // Entertainment Weekly // ESPN // Euroman // Field & Stream // Golf Magazine // Guideposts // Guitar World // Intel // Label Mag // Ladies’ Home Journal // Leo Burnett // Lighthouse Catholic Media // Macmillan // McDonald’s // The New Republic // The New York Times // The New Yorker // Oz Magazine // Pearson Education // Playboy // Puerto Rico Sea Grant // Rolling Stone // San Francisco Magazine // San Francisco Chronicle // Simon & Schuster // Scientific American // Skiing Magazine // Society of Illustrators LA // Spin Master // Tor.com // The Village Voice // The Wall Street Journal // The Washington Post // Wired // Wizards of the Coast // The Work Style Magazine // Young & Rubicam

      http://www.goniart.com

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    * Denotes member of Actors Equity Association
    + Member, United Scenic Artists
    ^ Member, Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers

    Reviews

    • “MUST SEE”, —Theatre Eddys

      Beginning in the 1830s, Native Peoples were forced to leave their ancestral lands in the Southeastern United States and walk thousands of miles to resettle on barren lands in the West, with many thousands dying along the way.  This “Trail of Tears” began with President Jackson refusing to enforce a ruling by the Supreme Court protecting Indian sovereignty of their lands against invading whites; and that immoral trail continues to this day with Native Americans still fighting for their legal rights to prosecute crimes of non-Natives committed in their legal territories.  The result for women especially has been catastrophic with Native women facing higher rates of domestic violence and sexual assault – most often by non-Indian offenders – than any other population in the country.

      Indian-rights lawyer and a member of the Cherokee Nation, Mary Kathryn Nagle, is also an accomplished playwright.  She has written an extremely powerful and educating play, Sovereignty, that connects the history of her own ancestors and their legal battles for Native rights with present-day congressional and court challenges that still threaten those constitutional rights.  With a cast and creative team that include a number of Native American members from various tribes, Marin Theatre Company presents the West Coast premiere of Mary Kathryn Nagle’s Sovereignty in a production that is nothing short than a must-see.

      The playwright’s own great-great-great-great grandfather, Major Ridge, was speaker of the Cherokee Nation Tribal Council in the 1820s and ‘30s and was awarded that rank by Andrew Jackson himself after helping the U.S. win the Creek and Seminole Wars.  His story and that of his lawyer son, John, and his first-friend, then-rival John Ross – Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation – constitutes the historical core of Ms. Nagle’s Sovereignty, as well as their roles for and against the relocation of the Native Peoples.

      Coupled with those monumental and catastrophic events of the early nineteenth century is the story of modern-day (and fictional) lawyer, Sarah Ridge Polson (Elizabeth Frances) – also in this play a direct descendent of Major Ridge – who takes on the present-day Supreme Court to argue for reinstatement of Native People’s rights to govern their own territories, especially including the right to prosecute non-Native criminals for acts committed (including rape, murder, and child molestation) that can occur today in their territories, with the accused never being charged or convicted.

      Two stories blend seamlessly back-and-forth under the magical direction of Jasson Minadakis, with a half-dozen actors who play different roles in both time periods often switching persona, eras, and thus scenes in a split second before our eyes.  The director and playwright ensure that a complicated history is related clearly and with much impact even though its telling involves multiple court cases, presidential manipulation, and intra-tribal disagreements while also introducing blossoming romances and domestic strife in both time periods.

      A key scene that shapes so much of the historical and the modern-day rest of the play occurs when Major Ridge (played with near-majestic pride and strength by Andrew Roa) and his son, John (a focused, well-spoken, and courageous Robert I. Mesa) meet with President Andrew Jackson (a Tennessee drawling, ego-centered, good-ol’-boy Craig Marker).  Jackson begins by heaping praise on his long-time friend, the elderly Major Ridge (who only speaks Cherokee although he understands quite well English).  Jackson talks in big but false smiles while beginning his demands that the Cherokees must move from their native Georgia because of the pressure he is receiving from the cotton growers who want the land and are already taking over farms that were guaranteed by treaty to the Cherokees.  The revered Cherokee leader reminds the President, “Friendship forged in danger should not be forgotten,” with the now-viperous President hissing, “If you do not go ... you will disappear.”

      When the Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall rules in 1832 that in fact the Cherokee Nation is the one and only sovereign over their own lands, we hear Jackson respond hatefully and defiantly, “John Marshall made the decision; let him enforce it.”  The president’s refusal to uphold the law of the land (Sound familiar?) leads in the end to Father and Son Ridge – as white Georgians are taking Cherokee-owned lands and killing Native families – to reluctantly advocate and sign a new treaty to abdicate their lands and to relocate into new, western territories. 

      That move, as we see playing out in the scenes unfolding before us, is highly opposed by Cherokee Chief John Ross (a strong-willed, firm-jawed Jake Waid), setting up a huge division between the Ridge and Ross families that leads to disastrous and deadly ends in the 1800s.  That family feud carries into the modern-day story of Sarah Ridge Polson.  She takes a job in the U.S. Attorney General’s office, working for Jim Ross – a descendent of John Ross, with both Rosses played convincingly by Jake Waid – who tells Sarah before knowing her family background, “Never ever talk to me about that treaty, you hear?” (“that treaty” meaning what became known as the “Trail of Tears” Treaty signed by Sarah’s two, ‘multiple-great’ grandfathers).  With her middle name remaining unknown to her new boss, the two partners prepare to take the Native People’s modern sovereignty rights case to the Supreme Court.

      As intriguing and intense as both the 1830s and present-day, legal strategy and execution scenes are – and in this interwoven telling they are indeed attention-grabbing-and-holding throughout – Mary Kathryn Nagle brings further nuance to both time periods by introducing love interests for the young lawyer of the 1830s, John Ridge, and for the young, modern-day lawyer, Sarah Ridge Polson.  Both of their potential spouses are themselves white, and both are at first met with resistance by the Cherokee fathers (each played by Andrew Roa).  Ella Dershowitz is the aspiring fiancé and then wife of John, Sarah Bird Northrup – a woman strong in her own constitution and a firm believer and supporter of her husband’s battles for Cherokee survival.  (She also plays the modern-day, oft-funny, always loving, and Oklahoma-twanged aunt of Sarah Ridge Polson, Flora Ridge.)

      Craig Marker alternates his Southern-polite but clearly disingenuous President Jackson role to become Special Victim’s Unit detective, Ben O’Connor, who falls for the modern Sarah.  Ben from the beginning trips over himself in his ignorance and faux pas concerning Native peoples (even using the word “Injun” at one point).  His naivite is too quickly forgiven by Sarah and even her initially doubtful family.  The title of his position becomes cruel irony as Craig Marker gives a chilling performance that is even more upsetting than the one he gives as the notorious Jackson.

      Also taking on important and meaningful roles in both time periods are Kholan Studi (playing the Ridge family’s supporter, friend, and newspaper writer, Elias Boudinot, as well as modern Sarah’s brother and casino security officer, Watie) and Adam Magill (playing Reverend Samuel Worchester, a white missionary to the Cherokees who founds and edits the nationally read and influential The Cherokee Phoenix, first Native American newspaper in the U.S. and also playing the role of Mitch, a lawyer friend of Ben).  We watch as Elias and Samuel become important players in the Ridge/Ross rivalry and in the Nation’s decision whether to migrate or not.

      Finally, Scott Coopwood takes on a number of mostly repulsive roles in both eras, his role being noted in the program as “White Chorus Man.”  Whether a modern drunk in the casino hollering at Officer Watie, “Redskin, out of my way,”  or threatening with his gun as a white soldier the in 1830s the Christian-observant Elias (“Let me hear you pray, Boy, for that heathen soul of yours”), Mr. Coopwood is exceptional in being the worst of the white race – historical and modern.

      Annie Smart’s scenic design is elegantly simple with an ever-present scrim that lets us see but keeps us purposefully separated from an idyllic, noble sky and landscape that are created by projections designer Mike Post and lit with morning and evening grandeur by Danny Osburn.  E.B. Smart deserves big kudos for the two time periods’ dresses, uniforms, suits, and outfits that often switch even as a character says one sentence in one era and then switches to the next era and sentence of a new role, now in a new costume.  The excellent creative team is rounded out by the habitually stellar work of Sara Huddleston as sound designer.

      Sovereign is a gripping, emotional, awareness-awakening history lesson that has present-day implications for what we as Americans need to be paying more attention to and advocating to our current U.S. Senators, in particular, for needed legislation.  A 25-year-old bill known as Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) that permits the tribal nations to prosecute anyone (i.e., Native Americans and those not) who violates women on tribal lands has run its time-limited course and must be renewed by Congress.  The House has done so; but the bill is stalled in the Senate.  For this reason and many more, Marin Theatre’s Sovereignty is not only a must-see production for its theatrical excellence and script brilliance, it is a have-to-see for its implicit call for us as audience members to join the Sarah’s of the world to fight for the constitutional rights of all Native Americans – most critically in the present, Native women.

      — Eddie Reynolds, Theatre Eddys Read full review
    • Review: Talkin’ Broadway

      Is it possible to escape the past? Or do the sins of prior generations cascade down through the years, infecting the descendants? This is a question at the heart of Sovereignty by Mary Kathryn Nagle, receiving its West Coast premiere at Marin Theatre Company. Fittingly for a play about the effects of one generation's actions on their progeny, the action shifts between the present day and the early 19th century, when the young United States was expanding westward and coming into conflict with the indigenous residents.

      The present day story focuses on Sarah Ridge Polson (Elizabeth Frances), a crusading young Cherokee attorney who has returned to tribal lands in Oklahoma to join the fight in restoring full sovereignty for her people, working with tribal District Attorney Jim Ross (Jake Waid). For, despite the nation status granted to certain tribes, loopholes in the law prevent native law enforcement from punishing non-Indian people who commit crimes on tribal lands—a fact made apparent when Sarah's brother Watie (Kholan Studi), a tribal police officer working security at an Indian casino, is assaulted by a drunk white patron. His friend Ben (Craig Marker), a cop himself, subdues the offender, but is told nothing can be done and the drunk is sent on his way. Perhaps because of the way Ben steps up to help her brother, he catches the eye of Sarah, and they begin a relationship.

      To illustrate the genesis of this strange situation, Nagle takes us back in time to the early 1800s, when the Cherokee still lived in parts of what is now Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee. We see the ancestors of Sarah—fourth great-grandfather Major Ridge (Andrew Roa) and his son John (Robert I. Mesa)—and Jim Ross's fourth great-grandfather, John Ross (Jake Waid). These two Cherokee leaders are fighting tremendous odds—a young country expanding outward, into their territory, and division in their own ranks. Ross vows to stay on Cherokee land until the last man, while Ridge thinks the tribe should accept the inevitable and move west before they are slaughtered entirely. As we know from history, neither option is a good one, as the United States government, led by the racist and self-serving Andrew Jackson (Craig Marker), will renege on its promises, resulting in the deaths of thousands of Cherokee, and the forced resettlement of thousands more. This rift will echo through the years, becoming almost a Hatfields vs. McCoys rivalry between the two clans such that Sarah Ridge Polson won't reveal her middle name to her boss Jim Ross out of fear of possible reprisals.

      Sovereignty is solidly constructed, if a bit didactic at times. Playwright Nagle is an attorney herself, and the play occasionally dives a bit too deeply into legal arguments, telling us things it ought to be showing us. But given the complex history being presented here, it's hard to fault her for wanting to make sure we in the audience understand the forces at play as completely as possible. Fortunately, director Jasson Minadakis is a more than able helmsman, guiding us smoothly between the two time periods, and keeping the pace sprightly. He sometimes keeps characters from both eras on stage at the same time, but we are never confused about who's who or when's when.

      Elizabeth Frances plays Sarah Ridge Polson with tremendous focus and elegant grace. Both she and her character seem to be on a mission of bringing greater understanding of the threats faced by native communities, especially native women. As her father and her fourth great-grandfather, Andrew Roa exhibits a gravitas perfectly in keeping with a patriarch and tribal chief. Although there may be anger and resentment and suspicion all around him, he serves as a calming influence and solid source of wisdom. Craig Marker gets to be villainous in both his roles, but never overplays either. He knows from whence comes the power (and weakness) of his characters, and shows it to us without ever having to baldly point it out.

      This is a fascinating and too often ignored aspect of American history, and Marin Theatre Company is to be congratulated for taking the risk of bringing diverse voices to a community (Marin County) which is remarkably un-diverse. And while Nagle's play resolves in a lovely moment that harkens back to the very first scene in a family graveyard, Sovereignty could benefit from a somewhat more restrained approach to its storytelling.

      — Patrick Thomas, Talkin’ Broadway Read full review

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