Arts & Entertainment

Review: 'Informed Consent' shares Havasupai Tribe blood story






Informed Consent, a play by Deborah Zoe Laufer

A review of Informed Consent, a play about a controversial blood study involving the Havasupai Tribe of Arizona:
In order to expand the issue of genetic predisposition beyond the personal purview of one individual and explore the ethical implications of modern science, the playwright tells Jillian’s story against a broader backdrop.

Jillian has been brought in to conduct a study on the isolated Havasupai Indian tribe that lives on the floor of the Grand Canyon. The tribe has a high rate of type 2 diabetes and is dying out. After getting the tribe’s reluctant consent to sample the blood of each member, Jillian runs and reports additional and unauthorized studies on schizophrenia, inbreeding and migration patterns that undermine the tribe’s trust, their sense of cultural identity and their long-held sacred stories.

Informed Consent – co-produced with Geva Theatre Center in Rochester, N.Y., and currently on stage at Cleveland Play House – raises many intriguing and timely questions. Among them: Are we defined by our DNA? Does scientific discovery trump invasion of privacy? Will knowledge of our biological predispositions change how we live our lives?

The one-act 105-minute play is very well researched, grounded in an actual court case between the Havasupai Indian tribe and genetic researchers at Arizona State University, and informed by panel discussions with experts, interviews with members of various native tribes, and time spent in libraries and DNA laboratories.

Get the Story:
Brilliant, beautiful ‘Informed Consent’ explores genetics drama (The Cleveland Jewish News 4/29)

Another Review:
'Informed Consent': Engrossing new play brimming with big ideas and cutting-edge science (The Cleveland Plain Dealer 4/29)

Related Stories:
NPR: Havasupai Tribe celebrates victory in blood study dispute (4/25)
NAM: Havasupai Tribe takes control of genetic material (04/18)
Opinion: Havasupai blood case marks a loss for science (4/23)
Researcher denies wrongdoing in Havasupai blood case (4/22)
Havasupai Tribe resolves suit over use of blood samples (4/21)
Arizona court to hear appeal in Havasupai blood case (4/21)
New Times: Good news for Havasupai blood case (12/16)
Editorial: Cultures collide in Havasupai lawsuit (12/5)
Havasupai Tribe seeks justice in research lawsuit (12/2)
Higher Ed: In Havasupai suit, whose blood is it? (12/1)
Suit over Havasupai blood research dismissed (05/04)
Havasupai Tribe presses suit over misuse of blood (11/21)
Havasupai Tribe sees support for research lawsuit (11/01)
Lawsuit over Havasupai blood moved to state court (5/5)
Scientist not sorry for using tribal members' blood (03/24)
ASU refutes claims of misuse of tribal members' blood (03/18)
Havasupai Tribe files $50M suit over misuse of blood (3/16)
Havasupai tribal members sue over use of blood (3/1)