Arts & Entertainment

Review: Engaging and surprising narrative in 'Frybread Queen'

"Native Voices at the Autry presents the world premiere of “The Frybread Queen” this month, and it tells quite a story. From the relationships between the four women on stage to the elements of the supernatural, each discovery that is made throughout the play is clever and unexpected. Carolyn Dunn has written an interesting story filled with rich, beautiful characters that are performed excellently by the actors. They have the comedic timing to contrast the incredible pain and suffering they all experience throughout the play.

While it is a distinctly Native American story, the themes that it explores are ones that we can all relate to. Losing a loved one is difficult for everyone, and it affects each of the characters differently. We see these four women bare their hearts and souls to each other, learning that none of them really understands the next. Each one has a secret that changes the story dramatically, and Dunn makes sure that we don’t see those changes coming. To make matters more interesting, the element of the supernatural leaves its mark on the production in very effective ways.

Including ghosts and spirits on stage can be a tricky business. The director, Robert Caisley, and his cast do a masterful job of making the audience believe in this ghost, and force us to fear it. The physicality of the actors, especially Shyla Marlin and Elizabeth Frances, is spot-on and terrifying. Pair that with the dynamic acting by Jane Lind and Kimberly Norris Guerrero and you have a cast that pushes each other beyond what is comfortable for the audience to watch. The audience must witness them tear each other’s beliefs and values apart, which is both difficult and engaging."

Get the Story:
Theater Review: ‘The Frybread Queen’ at the Autry (Culture Spot LA 3/14)

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