Larissa Fasthorse. Photo credit: Conor Horgan

Author: Newsroom

PLACERVILLE, S.D. – Wicoun is the third in a series of collaborations between Cornerstone Theater Company, playwright Larissa FastHorse (Sicangu Lakota Nation) and Indigenous people of this continent. Following Urban Rez, with and about Native people of the Los Angeles Basin, and Native Nation, a collaboration with representatives of over 20 tribes in/from the Phoenix, Arizona area, this new production, begun in 2019, builds on those earlier projects and explores the strength, beauty, humor, and perseverance of the Indigenous culture, language and identity of the Northern Plains.

In Wicoun, Áya, a Lakota teen, and their brother Kȟoškálaka have their hands full raising siblings and cousins, dealing with zombies on the prowl, and trying to graduate high school. After Áya summons a traditional superhero in a moment of bravery, the pair must embark on a journey across the lands of the Oceti Sakowin to find answers in the old stories, within themselves, and in the Black Hills. Wicoun’s cast features six community actors from D/N/Lakota tribes, two Cornerstone ensemble members, and dozens of puppets. Performed in Lakota, Dakota and English, the production has been designed in collaboration with Oceti Sakowin artists, including storyteller, scholar and translator, Jerome Kills Small; sound designer Talon Bazille Ducheneaux; designer Tosa Two Heart and graffiti muralist Focus. Cornerstone also commissioned Lakota recording artist Tiana Spotted Thunder to create a song for the opening and closing of the show. 

Wicoun is a homecoming for Larissa FastHorse, one of the country’s leading playwrights and the first Native American woman dramatist to be produced on Broadway. She has called this work the most meaningful of her career, a chance to bring her talents to working on her Native land, in collaboration with her own people in telling their stories: 

“Growing up as a Lakota woman in South Dakota I believed that I had to leave to be a professional performing artist,” she explains. “That is why doing this production at home is important to me. We are employing so many local Native American artists and production people. We are creating a model for touring both rural and urban tribal centers. We are showing my people as contemporary artists while still using our language and traditional concepts.”

Together with her long-time director/collaborator, Cornerstone’s outgoing Artistic Director Michael John Garcés, Larissa’s community-driven playwriting practice differs from traditional playwriting. With Wicoun and her earlier Cornerstone projects, she has worked to serve the stories and aspirations of the community, which is, in this case, a network of interrelated rural communities with great distances between them. She and Cornerstone have visited eight of the nine reservations in the state and a wide range of such cultural centers as the Heritage Center at Red Cloud Indian School, the South Dakota Urban Indian Health in Sioux Falls and the Oglala Lakota Artspace in Kyle. They have taught workshops at the Lakota Nation Education Conference, at the Cheyenne River Youth Project and the Waterlily Storytelling Institute, and led summer camp programs at Milks Camp with Lakota Youth Development, and the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Title One Program. Other partners include First Peoples Fund, Racing Magpie, Black Hills Playhouse, Black Hills Community Theatre, the City of Rapid City, Brave Heart Society (Lake Andes) and individual Lakota culture bearers.   

Wicoun is an outdoor theatrical experience. While some of the show’s venues provide seating, audiences are encouraged to bring chairs or blankets of their own. The play runs approximately 75 minutes.

Wicoun is made possible in part by grants from Creative Capital, Doris Duke Foundation, First Peoples Fund, the Map Fund, the Mellon Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, Native Arts & Cultures Foundation, New England Foundation for the Arts, Network of Ensemble Theaters, Playwrights’ Center, The City of Rapid City, Shubert Foundation, Venturous Theater Fund and the Kathryn Wanlass Charitable Foundation. 


Playwright: Larissa FastHorse

Director: Michael John Garcés*

Set and Prop Designer: Nephelie Andonyadis*

Puppet Designer: Lynn Jeffries*

Costume Designer: Jeanette Godoy

Sound Designer: Talon Bazille Ducheneaux

Stage Managers: Michael Garcia,* Maria V. Oliveira

Assistant Stage Manager: Trinity Dietrich

Assistant Director: Sapphire Tiger


9a (nee-nuh)

Rosetta Bandhand-Walker

Peter Howard*

Gina Mallory

Victoria Picotte-SunBear

Christopher Alexander Piña

Kenny Ramos*

Brandon J. Sazue Sr.

Cornerstone ensemble member


Thursday, May 25 at 2 pm

Black Hills Playhouse

24834 S Playhouse Rd

Custer, SD 57730

Friday, May 26 at 6 pm

Racing Magpie

801 East Saint Andrew St. 

Rapid City, SD 57701

Performance will be outdoors in the parking lot

Saturday, May 27 at 7 pm

Main Street Square

512 Main Street

Rapid City, SD 57701

Tuesday, May 30 at 5 pm

Great Plains Crow Creek Office

225 Sam Boy Drive

Fort Thompson, SD  57339

Performance will be outdoors behind the Great Plains Crow Creek Office

Friday, June 2 at 7 pm

St. Francis Indian School

502 Warrior Dr.

St. Francis, SD 57572

Saturday, June 3 at 5 pm

Memorial Park Bandshell

301 N. 5th St.

Rapid City, SD 57701

Monday, June 5 at 7 pm

Little Wound School Auditorium

438 Main Street

Kyle, SD 57752

Thursday, June 8 at 6:30 pm

Lakota Youth Development

30122 352nd Ave

Herrick, SD 57538

Saturday, 6/10 at 1 pm

The Coliseum of Sioux Falls

515 N. Main Avenue

Sioux Falls, SD 57104

Thursday, June 15 at 7 pm

Steamboat Park Amphitheater

Popular Ave/W Missouri Ave

Pierre, SD 57501

Friday, June 16 at 7 pm

Cheyenne River Youth Project

702 4th St.

Eagle Butte, SD 57625

Additional tour stops are still in formation and include the following locations: Mission (June 1), Hermosa (June 5),  Pine Ridge (June 6), Yankton (June 12) and Yates (June 14).

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