“I have such great admiration for Tom and Zilah. I feel like they just keep giving kids from my community a chance to grow and just see themselves in a different light.”

Imani Antone – MAPP Young Playwright/ Mentor Alumni, Coeur d’Alene Tribal Member, graduate of Eastern Washington University

Sarah Hennessey, Nez Perce tribal member, poet, and veteran MAPP mentor, interviewed Imani Antone, Coeur d’Alene Tribal member, recent graduate of Eastern Washington University, and playwright alumni of the Mentor Artists Playwrights Project – MAPP. Imani is doing her internship with Marimn Health-Behavioral Health Division. She has plans to work in the new youth and family recreation center that has just been approved by the Coeur d’Alene tribe.


Excerpt of the interview:

Sarah: I Understand that you did the MAPP program twice. What was it like your first time as a young playwright?

Imani: I was actually really scared. I didn’t know what I was there for. Then we started playing different games and activities. Thomas had us close our eyes and think of an animal and you are that animal or an object, and how do you feel as that object, and then the mentors would write down, however, we felt, or whatever we thought of. In that moment I didn’t realize we were in the process of creating the play. After a while, I realized I already had a character and I already had a whole backstory. I really enjoyed it.

When they came back to actually read them. I felt empowered. I was so nervous sitting in the chair, I was one of those people who was like “No please don’t do this, I can’t” but once it started the positive feedback and response to what I made. It just felt like I’d really accomplished something.

Sarah: The second time?

Imani: The second time going through I was a little more excited., I was ready. I remember my mentor was Navajo and I really connected with her. Sometimes I would talk about Arizona, so she had a connection to that, that’s where the other side of my family is from. And I told her my favorite food and when she came back she made some. I remember it just made me so happy. I felt so cared for. It stuck with me, even years later. Her making me that stuck with me. I felt so connected to her, and it made me feel so supported. Our mentors have a huge impact on us as young writers and more specifically my mentor had a huge impact on me.

Below is an excerpt of Imani Antone’s play written in 8th grade during her 2nd round with MAPP.

Revenge Gots Butters by Imani Antone

TIME: 3 HOURS BEFORE GRAND ENTRY

PLACE: THE CLOSET IN THE MOTEL-6 2 (TWO) DOOR CLOSET, LIGHT PEEKING THROUGH UNDER THE DOOR AND IN BETWEEN. LIGHT REFLECTS OFF MATERIALS AND JUNGLES. 4 (FOUR) EMPTY HANGERS, EMBROIDERY ON VEST- INFR (INFR – INDIAN NATIONAL FINALS RODEO). SUITCASE ON THE GROUND, A FAN ON THE SHELF ABOVE US. WITH ROUGH WHITE WALLS AND IT FEELS LIKE ITS 90 (NINETY) DEGREES.

AT RISE: PINKS (THE JINGLE DRESS) IS HANGING ON A HANGER AND BLURPLE THE JINGLE DRESS IS ON THE GROUND.

PINK
HEY! What are you doing down there!?
BLURPLE
Oh, nothing just thought I’d check out the floor… (SARCASTICALLY RESPONDING) WHAT DOES IT LOOK LIKE I’M DOING! I FELL!
PINK
Well sorry! “DRAMA-MAMA”, I just now noticed! How did you fall?
BLURPLE
I don’t know I just falled! (STRANGE LOOK ON HER FACE)
PINK
I think you collar is too big.
BLURPLE
Ah’ now, that’s jacked up
PINK How?
BLURPLE
No, not you. I landed in some fry-bread and it’s gots butters on it!
(LOOKING VERY GROSSED OUT)
PINK
(LAUGHING)
BLURPLE
Hey! It’s not funny! It’s disgusting!
PINK
No, I want’ laughing at you. Well not really. I was laughing at how you said it!
BLURPLE
What, “disgusting”?
PINK
No, when you said – “It’s gots butters on it”!
(LAUGHING AGAIN)
BLURPLE
Well I don’t find that very funny.
PINK
Well you might not, but I do.
BLURPLE
Of course you do now make some noise, so they can come and put me back on the hanger!
PINK
Why you’re not enjoying the dust bunnies?
(LAUGHING SARCASTICALLY)
BLURPLE
Of course not! Now make some racket!
PINK
I didn’t hear a please…!
BLURPLE
Fine then! Please, make some of that obnoxious noise that you always make.
PINK
Fine then! Oh wait, how rude! I’m not obnoxious, well not that obnoxious.
BLURPLE
Oh-can you just do it! ‘Cause, if I stay down here they might not see me. They will leave me behind and I won’t be able to dance at the powwow.

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