Not One More Foot of Land! Tells of Injustice

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From l, Cynthia Bryant, Joseph Runningfox, and Ayanery Reyes in “Not One More Foot of Land!”

Moving and powerful, Not One More Foot of Land! documents the tragic unknown history of how the Cherokee nation saw their land stolen from them by the patronizing government. Strong acting and writing help sell this thoughtful production that remains true to the native people.

The play focuses on Cherokee warrior Major Ridge (Joseph Runningfox), viewed as either savior or traitor by his tribe as he attempts to set them free to live a peaceful existence. Should the tribe fight to defend their land, or move to a safer, protected area?

Writer Art Shulman’s passion for the subject shows in his well-documented story. While a little long, the script examines the pragmatic choices made by Ridge and his people.

Director Kristina Lloyd crafts strong visual images and emotion. She brings symbolism to spirits, both of the past and future, by employing giant wings made of hundreds of bird feathers. At times, though, too many actors and too much plot crowd the story.

Runningfox brings a forceful, righteous passion to Ridge. Donell Morgan as Sehoya is the emotional core of the piece: thoughtful, wise, and steady. Brian Wescott (John Ross) and Randy Vasquez (John Ridge) also give good performances.

Production work is detailed and seemingly spot-on. Steve Shaw’s sound adds fine nuance, while Ali Funes’ costumes bring color and naturalism to the story. Nicholas “Doc” Leland’s lighting adds definition.

Not One More Foot of Land! strongly reveals a painful, unknown episode in our nation’s history, and one man’s quest to save his people.

Not One More Foot of Land! plays Friday and Saturday nights at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. through April 1 at the Secret Rose Theatre located at 11246 Magnolia Blvd. in North Hollywood. Tickets cost $22, $17 for seniors, and $10 for students with IDs. Visit www.secretrose.com or call (818) 782-4254 to make reservations.

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