By Bob Evans
American Indians suffered terribly from the actions of European explorers and then White Europeans began settling the United States, pushing farther and farther into Native American lands, while never seeming to care about those residing there first. Such is the backdrop for Crazy Horse: A Dream of Thunder, now playing at the Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre for the Kansas City Fringe Festival.
History buffs will love to hear the story of the famous Lakota chief who defeated Custer at Little Big Horn and brought the U.S. Calvary to its knees. With Sam Wright commanding the stage as the bigger-than-life Indian chief, expect an hour packed with dynamic acting. Wright dominates the stage from his initial entry through his fade-to-black closing. He takes the audience into the life of the famous chief and brings forth knowledge of the humanity within the man.
Though many only know Crazy Horse as the victor of Custer’s Last Stand, his story in Wright’s hands reveals a man who tried desperately to retain Lakota culture against the ongoing onslaught of the White Man, gold explorers, the Iron Horse, and the armies trying to push his people from their land. Crazy Horse’s story shows pieces of the Sioux Culture that he wanted to live and preserve and the terrible consequences of misinterpreting the culture and customs of the invading Whites . .
Crazy Horse: A Dream of Thunder definitely appeals to history buffs and those who are interested in our Native American history and experiences. Wright’s insight into the man behind the image is chilling and believable. Wright wears the character with pride and humility. He shows a range of feelings and emotions that help the audience understand the character and the events of his life.
Much of the story is not generally known, so the audience learns more and more as the performance unfolds. The historic piece is appropriate for all age levels.