Taxpayer-funded play imagines time travelers going back and assassinating Columbus

Taxpayer-funded play imagines time travelers going back and assassinating Columbus

One of the advantages of keeping an historical record is that it enables us — ideally — to learn from our mistakes. Toward this end, people in the arts sometimes engage in thought experiments that try to gauge how world events might have turned out if, say, Adolf Hitler had been assassinated.

Now a troupe that calls itself the Borderlands Theater has announced production of a similarly themed play, funded by the National Endowment for the Arts (read: you, the taxpayer), in which indigenous scientists build a time machine and travel back to the fifteenth century to assassinate Christopher Columbus.

That sound you heard as you read the clause indigenous scientists build a time machine, it was me likely failing to suppress a chortle over that ridiculous image.

The play, titled “Shooting Columbus,” is, according to the grant:

A collaborative effort between Indigenous and nonIndigenous Arizona artists [who] will combine elements from interviews with tribal elders and community members with movement, media, and traditional theater for a site-based, immersive, interactive performance. The guest artists are members of the Shooting Columbus Collective, a group of artists of diverse ethnic backgrounds. Following development of this new theater work, the artists will be joined by traditional Indigenous dancers and musicians from the Tohono O’odham and Pascua-Yaqui nations for a public performance.

They managed to work in all the right buzz words required for a grant: Think ethnic, indigenous, plus a few actual tribe names.

Not surprisingly, the company hopes its work will bring about discussion of a “radically different” future for the United States. You can have two guesses as to what radical diference they are after.

Naturally, as history has taught us, there is no way of knowing whether altering the past would ensure a better future.

(h/t Elizabeth Harrington, WFB)

Ben Bowles

Ben Bowles

Ben Bowles is a freelance writer.

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