Hope to perform 30-minute adaptation of Tlingit story

Posted: Thursday, February 23, 2006

Ishmael Hope will present his one-act, 30-minute adaptation of the Tlingit story "Gunakadeit" during the second installment of the three-part "Storybox" storytelling series Thursday, Feb. 23.

The evening is sponsored by the Juneau Arts and Humanities Council.

Lily Hudson will present "A Frog Story." Eve Dillingham will share "Brer Rabbit" and "The Tar Baby." And Harborview Elementary student Gavin Beasley will tell a dramatic story.

"Gunakadeit" is based on a story told by Katishan, chief of the Kaasx'agweid of Wrangell, to ethnographer John Swanton in 1904. It was published in "Tlingit Myths and Texts" in 1909. The story chronicles a man who turns into a sea monster. Hope used Katishan's story structure for his version but not a line of his text.

"I took complete artistic license and went as far as I could go with just being an artist," Hope said.

"It's a great epic," he said. "I relate it to when I was growing up reading comic books and I always dreamed about being some kind of hero."

Hope, Hudson, Allan Hayton and Victoria Johnson will perform, and Jim Simard will direct. Dave Hunsaker adapted the story a few years ago at the old Naa Kahidi Theater. Hope's version is much different, in part because of composer Stefan Hakenberg's percussive score.


What: "Storybox," part two of three

When: 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 23

Where: Resurrection Lutheran Church, 740 W. 10th St.

Tickets: $8 general admission, available at Hearthside Books or the door.

"I wrote it originally with the idea that it would have to have strong musical components," Hope said. "It's essential just because of the mystery of music and what music can communicate about basic things."

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