January 31, 2019: Nelwat Ishkamewe’s 2018–19 season continues with the announcement of the cast and creative team for the reprisal of Xemiyulu Manibusan Tapepechul’s musical adaptation of The Popol Vuh, in honor of International Commedia dell’Arte Day. Directed by Tapepechul, The Cosmic Twins will run for three performances on Monday, February 25, 2019, at 11:00 a.m, at 1:00 p.m., and at 8:00 p.m.
Reviews of the original production of The Cosmic Twins: The Melanin Collective Guest Blogger Reign Beaux Cuahuitl says "Nelwat Ishkamewe presents a beautiful story centering queer trans bodies that truly amplifies the spirit of queer Indigenous identity, as well as the true power of and need for Two-Spirit Theatre." MD Theatre Guide’s Jeannette Mulherin says "with a lively score, colorful masks and a handful of simple props, the talented cast transformed an intimate setting into a land where wild creatures roam free, the gods’ reign supreme, and in the end, good wins out over evil."
The cast for the International Commedia dell’Arte Day production features Two-Spirit Transgender/Intersex/Gender Non-Conforming Native American artists: Ahanu (Kainai) as X’balanke, Kariwarse Duprey (Mohawk) as the Narrator, Ricky Rosé (Taino) as Tepeu/Jun-Kame, and Xemiyulu Manibusan Tapepechul (Nawat) as Kukumatz/Junajpu.
The creative team includes Ahanu (Costume Design), Xemiyulu Manibusan Tapepechul (Music Direction, Choreography, Properties Design, Set Design, Sound Design), and Zayn Nehan (Stage Manager).
Produced by Trans-Latinx DMV, a chapter of the national TransLatin@ Coalition, The Cosmic Twins is funded in part by grants from the Campaign for Southern Equality, Trans Justice Funding Project, and Southern Vision Alliance's Queer Mobilization Fund.
“I am so proud to be the Producer of this historic production in DC Theatre,” says Alexa Rodriguez, Director of Trans-Latinx DMV. “The FIRST professional play produced by Transgender Native American Theatre Artists, featuring Transgender Native American Theatre Artists, with stories for and by a Transgender Native American Theatre Artist. We are here to prove to the DC Theatre community that Two-Spirit Transgender Native American Theatre Artists Belong Here, and that we will always be here, producing works that empower our communities, and uplift the Seventh Generation.”
“The Cosmic Twin is based off of the tale known as the Popol Vuh, known by the Maya K'iche people as the Pop Wuj.” says Xemiyulu Manibusan Tapepechul, Nelwat Ishkamewe’s Artistic & Development Director. “This story has been told on this continent for thousands of years, and is taught today in elementary schools across Central America. It is my hope that Central American youth can be inspired to learn more about their ancestral heritage, and to participate in the arts; and that all youth can learn from our community.” The Cosmic Twins is a Nominee for "Bisexual Play Script" for the Bi Writers Association’s Seventh Annual Bisexual Book Award. This is Nelwat Ishkamewe’s 5th season performing on unceded Piscataway territory known as Washington, DC.
The 11:00 am and 1:00 pm performances will be open to DC elementary schools, and the 8:00 pm will be an ASL-Interpreted Industry Night performance.