Essex County News

Nikkole Salter's 'Indian Head' Premieres Play at Luna Stage

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Credits: Christopher Drukker
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Credits: Christopher Drukker
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Credits: Christopher Drukker
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WEST ORANGE, NJ -- Bloomfield playwright Nikkole Salter’s “Indian Head” – which focuses on the misuse of the word Indian and Native American images – is being performed at Luna Stage until March 5.

The production – which opened at the West Orange theater Friday -- takes place in a fictional New Jersey town during the two weeks before a high school championship football game. The high school’s mascot is a Native American Warrior, much like the NFL’s Washington Redskins mascot. The play follows four characters, who each hold different opinions about the mascot.

“I was inspired to write this play by the dichotomy between the evidence of Native American culture all around New Jersey and the relative lack of presence of their contemporary voice,” Salter told TAPinto Bloomfield.

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Although she has Native American ancestry and is intrigued by Indian culture, the Los Angeles native does not know as much about the race’s history as she would like to.

“I couldn't be me without it,” Salter said. “Regrettably, I don't know a whole lot about my Native American heritage. So while I don't identify as Narragansett, I am glad to have it as a part of my ancestry.”

The OBIE Award-winning and Pulitzer Prize nominated playwright and actress moved to Bloomfield with her husband in 2008 and has since become very involved in New Jersey theatre, working with Luna Stage, NJPAC and New Brunswick’s Crossroads Theatre.

“Initially it took me some time to find my place as a New Jerseyan, but upon connecting with the artistic community, I found an access point that has allowed me to develop a great appreciation for all New Jersey has to offer,” the dramatist told TAPinto Bloomfield.

Her first play at Luna was “Lines in the Dust,” a performance centering around Brown vs. Board of Education, the 1954 case that ruled segregated public schools unconstitutional.

After the successful performance, Luna Artistic Director Cheryl Katz decided that the theatre should produce another play by Salter.

The show will be performed Thursdays at 7:30 PM, Fridays and Sundays at 8 PM and Sundays at 3 PM. Tickets can be purchased at lunastage.org. Luna Stage is at 555 Valley Road, West Orange NJ. 

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Millburn Free Public Library, Millburn

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