Saturday, April 18, 2015


Surprising gypsies who feel the earth running under their feet


This play goes a lot farther than what Diane Glancy says in her introduction:

“An American Gypsy is a Native American who knows migrations and restlessness.”

In America Indians are rootless because they have been uprooted. They have been deculturized by the genocide and the exclusion locking them up in reservations and strangely enough it put most of them on the roads with no roots but with bikes to perambulate aimlessly and endlessly.

They have been acculturated into Christianity and they become white, hence chickens under Jesus the chicken herder. They did not even have to grow the feathers they were already wearing.

Then they have to live with mortgages and banks that repossess their houses when they can’t pay putting them back on the road. It is a constant story of migration. You marry a sailor and you have to move to the East Coast and you’re parked in a military base.

Migrations that bring you to places where you are tied up till you have to move again though you do not decide. It comes to you. It’s fate.

Like Titomo killed by his own bullet that falls back onto and into his skull punishing him for shooting in the sky like the old western proverb says about spitting up in the air and always getting it back on your face. Even the cemetery is not final since then you move to the next world.

But that’s the surface. The play is also a strong satire of the American and Christian society they have to live in and integrate into.

The chickens (white Indians as well as the birds you eat fried or not, southern or whatever in restaurants) are a metaphor or are submitted to a metaphor, one way or the other. The chickens are the white Christianized Indians and they are equated to angels, those Christian flying winged beings who don’t wear underwear and under whose skirts you can look between their legs. The dream of all dreams: to make love to angels.

The metaphor is developed in all kinds of ways.

But when you add the pain of deculturation to this artificial acculturation Indians are gypsies because the land under their feet is pulled away, the environment is constantly changing by man’s own doing, they are constantly on their bikes escaping some fear or menace, and they are reaching for someone or something they can’t have. But above all they are left in their gypsy state with their stubbornness, their determination and their selfishness. The author only forgets their loss of their Indian reality has made them aimless: they reach out for something that does not even exist.

Then and only then, the conclusion is clear. The Indian chickens are like angels looking for a place to land. But they can’t see. They speak meaningless words and they can’t hear because their ears are stuck in their feathers as if these feathers were a biker’s cap, these feathers they used to wear when they were still Indians. Hence their ears are locked up in their traditions themselves locked up in the biker’s helmet they have to wear on their gypsy bikes to more or less go around unnoticed in that sort of conformity. And then they have visions, and we, the whites, the Americans, the masters of this world, just as much as all Indians, should dread these goggles that give Indians visions of another world since they are blind to this one. They are dangerous, the goggles and the Indians who wear them. They can bring a vengeance to the surface, or a change of fate and lot.

That’s the only touch of possible regeneration for the chickenized Indians. When the lightning strikes, now the chicken coop of the locked up reservation has been dismantled, Indian chicken will rise, or at least may rise.


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