Between Two Knees @ Seattle Rep
Performances are selling quickly ‼️
Published March 9, 2023
March 3rd – 26th
FX/Hulu’s Reservation Dogs is one of the strongest new shows of this new decade. Focusing on four Indigenous teens living on an Oklahoma reservation, it’s hilarious, heartbreaking, completely lived in, and boasts a killer ensemble. Its bonafides also carry over behind the scenes thanks to an entirely Indigenous writing staff led by series co-creator Sterlin Harjo, also known for his intertribal sketch comedy troupe The 1491s. (Get it?)
Which brings us to Between Two Knees, a play created by The 1491s that bows at Seattle Rep this month. Originally premiering at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in 2019, it’s a vignette-based chronicle of Native American life and one family’s journey through American history, starting at the Wounded Knee Massacre of 1890 and covering most of the following century.
The tone of Between Two Knees is fascinating, a perfect example of the thin line between comedy and tragedy. The ensemble laughs through the pain without losing sight of the seriousness and extremity of the situations, and the consistently shifting framework, pop cultural references, and theatre games keep the audience on its toes. It’s not so much that “serious stories” need a vaudevillian sheen to be palatable but that this show doesn’t feel like homework. If anything, The 1491s are a dramatic guiding light, figuring out an exquisite balance of gutbusting gags, well-earned emotions, and some truly searing lacerations.
The performances are selling quickly, so it should be noted that all self-identifying Native individuals can get free tickets to the show. Just hit up the Seattle Rep’s box office.
📸: Courtesy Seattle Rep | Rachel Crowl and Shaun Taylor-Corbett in Between Two Knees | Photo by T. Charles Erickson.