Hanay Geiogamah
b. 1945

The play Foghorn is comprised of eleven acts, each one depicting a scene relevant to contemporary Native people’s experiences in the lands that now constitute the United States. As it were, these acts retell “Native” history as it pertains to American governmental policy and military incursions. However, Geiogamah also pays attention to the representations of Native people in popular culture. These acts are, in some ways, snapshots. What kind?

What is role of technology in this play? As you learn from the stage-directions? As it affects that movement/plot of the play?

Geiogamah says of the play Foghorn that it was intended to be “staged as a lobotomy of the projected head.” Ultimately, his vision to present the play content, emerging out of a giant head, set on Alcatraz island, ended up a mere reference (“Interview: Hanay Geiogamah," MELUS 1990). Originally, the scenes that do exist in the play came out of a this huge head that existed on the stage. Geiogamah abandoned this device, and the play was finished and performed as you read it today.

According to the interview, the German theater people (as you know, Foghorn was originally performed in Germany) exclaimed that Foghorn seemed influenced by Bertolt Brecht. Take a look into Brecht on the internet (even quickly on Wikipedia, if you wish). In what ways might there be parallels? Is Geiogamah’s play nuanced? Is it spare? Does it present a story of a people, unembellished, with a propensity toward ultimate socialist equality? Is Geiogamah’s intention, as we discussed in class, to entertain, or, like Brecht, to educate? Does he call, or alert, his viewer back to the un-reality of the play with any distractions or inassimilable movements, songs, or shocking images?

Reflect on Geiogamah’s introductory comments about the jokiness of the play: “the basic seriousness of the play will emerge all the more effectively if the heavy hand is avoided” (339). What do you make of this? How does the humor belie a more serious commentary/critique?

The essay by Adorno that I referenced in class was “A Social Critique of Radio Music.”