Ah, Thanksgiving, that most American of holidays: when families gather to bask in the bounty of the harvest, football, giant balloons — and a legacy of genocide and violent colonial expansion. Good intentions collide with absurd assumptions in this wickedly funny satire as a troupe of terminally “woke” teaching artists trip all over themselves to create a politically correct, yet historically accurate, yet dramatically revolutionary, yet accurately represented and responsibly cast Thanksgiving play for elementary schools…all the while navigating aspirations to be successful actors – but not commercially successful – and overall unproblematic white people.

Dates & Times

DateTimeAdditional Information

Isabelle Clark
Ann Corrigan and Kent Rice
Michael Potts

Lynne and Jon Montague-Clouse
Jay Seller, PhD and Paul Ferraressi

Gary and Kathryn Dudley
Jim and Elizabeth Neid
Patricia Kingsbury Simpson

Go Deeper: The Thanksgiving Play
Topics: Indigenous Peoples and Cultures, Representation and History (especially in schools.) Thanksgiving myths and history. The Play and Playwright.

A curated collection of resources about the play The Thanksgiving Play by Larissa FastHorse and about issues facing indigenous peoples and communities.  The Curious team developed these resources in conjunction with local allies and advocates on the front lines of social change.  To suggest additions, provide feedback, or get involved in our social justice efforts, please contact Community Engagement Organizer Jeannene Bragg at jeannene@curioustheatre.org.

 The Thanksgiving Play playbill: Click here for PDF.

Action Steps you can take right now: 

Educate yourself. Seek perspectives of Native peoples. Read books, listen to podcasts, and watch films created by Native artists and documentarians. Attend events and festivals that are open to the public locally we have many Friendship Powwows, an Indigenous Film Series and many other great events. An excellent resource is: An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States  by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz.

For local native student voices, check out the student podcast produced at Denver Public Schools http://indianeducation.dpsk12.org/students-on-the-radio/  Here’s a recent article from The Sun: Our Fellow Americans: Paul Chaat Smith on the complex truth of Native American history.

Check in with the schools in your area. See how they teach about Native Peoples and Thanksgiving. If needed, ask them to use historically accurate and culturally sensitive resources and activities. 

Change up your holiday traditions to acknowledge and respect Native peoples.  Here are a few ideas:  

  • Recognize that the traditional Thanksgiving holiday is not a day of thanksgiving for all Americans and include that acknowledgment in your family traditions.  
  • Use the day to learn more about Native history. Remove and replace images that stereotype or negate the sacred nature of indigenous people.

  • November is Native American Heritage Month. The month is a time to celebrate rich and diverse cultures, traditions, and histories and to acknowledge the important contributions of Native people; partake in this celebration.  
  • Some choose to skip the Thanksgiving holiday as a form of activism and call to action. Consider gathering at a site that acknowledges atrocities committed against Native people such as the site of the Sand Creek Massacre here in Colorado.  
  • We were all indigenous somewhere; learn about your own cultural history and consider incorporating practices of the harvest, gratitude, and giving thanks from your own heritage in place of the dominant culture holiday.  
  • Invest your time, talent, or treasure to support indigenous peoples and cultures. Get involved with a local organization that supports Native peoples. Here are a few ideas to get started:

Four Winds American Indian Council
City of Denver American Indian Commission 
Indigenous Pop X Denver
Indigenous Film Festival
Herbal Gardens Wellness
DPS Native American Student Support
Colorado Indian Education Foundatio
Denver March Powwow Inc.
Denver American Indian Festival
American Indian Academy of Denver

About the Play and Playwright

Native American playwright Larissa FastHorse is taking down white wokeness.
Nov. 6, 2017 Interview with Larissa FastHorse in LATimes

Larissa FastHorse’s ‘The Thanksgiving Play’: It’s OK to Laugh
February 2019, American Theatre

Larissa FastHorse on The Thanksgiving Play and More
October 25, 2018, The Interval

Other Resources

Our Fellow Americans: Paul Chaat Smith on the Complex Truth of Native American History.
August 2019, The Sun

Denver American Indian Commission Local Resource Guide

Indian Voices Radio Show and Newsletter

InDigitNess Voice Radio Show

American Indian Reporter

The Native American Resource Fund 

Indian Country Today – National and regional news from Indian Country 

alterNativeVoices – syndicated radio program produced and broadcast from Denver

What is the runtime of this show?
The Thanksgiving Play runs approximately 1 hour, 30 minutes.

Is there an intermission?
There is no intermission.

Are there any advisories I should know about?

Curious offers an advisory about any stage effect of potential concern to patrons’ health. We typically don’t offer advisories about subject matter, as sensitivities vary from person to person. If you have any concerns about content or language, please contact the box office.

Can I bring my kids?
We require that audience members find alternative activities for children under 6 years of age. In addition, our material may not be appropriate for young people under 14 years of age. We will gladly discuss subject matter with parents or guardians before the performance in order to make an informed decision for you and your child. Before purchasing tickets, please email or call our Box Office at 303.623.0524.

Where can I park?
Curious is pleased to offer various options for complimentary parking on performance days: the Denver Community Credit Union parking lot directly across the street; the lot directly adjacent to our theatre; on-street parking along Acoma. Please make sure to pick up a parking permit from our Box Office if you wish to park in either lot. Note that these lots are only available for the two hours before a performance and one hour following; Curious does not own either lot and the owners will tow vehicles.

Is Curious wheelchair accessible?
Yes. However, due to the age of our building (1890s!), there are a few quirks to our accessibility. When buying tickets, know that Rows F & G are fully wheelchair accessible and all seats are removable. All seats on the orchestra level of the theatre are accessible to those with mobility concerns, however, the other rows of the orchestra do involve a small step up and the seats are fixed. The balcony of Curious is only accessible by stairs. Know that the bar for Curious is located in the balcony; however, Curious staff are eager to assist you by serving you from your seat should you have mobility concerns that prevent you from stairs.

The front entry of Curious is stairs-only, so those with mobility concerns or in a wheelchair may enter the building through the double red doors on the south side of the building (where you will also find accessible parking spaces) beginning 30 minutes before the show. Please let the ushers or staff know that you have arrived so we may greet you if we miss you slipping in.

May I eat/drink in the theatre?
You bet! Our bar is on the balcony level and carries wine, beer, and bourbon in addition to treats, chips, coffee, water, and soft drinks. All are permitted in your seats, although we ask that you unwrap any candy before the show begins.

Where do I pick up my tickets?
If you have selected Will Call for your tickets, they will be available at the Box Office one hour prior to the show. If you selected Print-at-Home, simply print out the PDF that was emailed to you or show that attachment on your phone to the ushers when you arrive, no need to see the box office.

Can I change my tickets to another performance?
Usually, yes. If you know your dates have changed, do contact us as soon as possible to ensure comparable seats are available for your new date. Sometimes our shows do sell out and occasionally an entire run will sell out. So it is always best to call early with a change.

What if I arrive late?
Patrons who arrive late will be seated at the discretion of the House Manager, and may not be seated in their assigned seats until intermiss

While we make every attempt to ensure our patrons and performers are comfortable in our space, Curious is in a church built in the 1890s; we have no A/C or central air (although we do have two swamp coolers and radiant heat). Temperature control can be a challenge in the extreme cold or extreme heat of Colorado. We encourage you to wear layers to ensure your comfort.

Do you offer group discounts?
Yes! Call the box office to get a quote for the performance you would like to attend. Discounts vary by performance. As a general rule, bigger discounts are given for Thursday/Friday evening performances early in the run of a show.

How can I become a volunteer?
Call or email the box office for information on joining our volunteer corps.

Can I get the program ahead of time?
Yes. About one week before the show opens, you can find our full program in the Go Deeper section.

In Media

  • REVIEW: Extreme PC in The Thanksgiving Play

    In all honesty, The Thanksgiving Play may be serving Americans exactly what we need this holiday season: a dose of realness in a climate that is so sensitive.

  • REVIEW: Thanksgiving Play Parodies Woke White Theater

    There’s a lot to enjoy here, particularly given Dee Covington’s deft direction and the talent of her actors: John Jurcheck's wonderfully annoying Jaxton; Emily Ebertz who portrays every harassed, anxious, insecure elementary school teacher you’ve ever met; and Matthew Schneck’s egotistical, fact-bound yet ignorant Caden. Then there’s Adriane Leigh Robinson playing Alicia. Robinson is graceful and stunningly beautiful, with an amazing singing voice. Alicia’s meant to be a scene stealer, and Robinson steals with gorgeous élan.

  • REVIEW: In “The Thanksgiving Play,” cultural correctness, “enlightened white allies” and the perils of being “woke”

    FastHorse pokes at the absurd sincerity of her characters: Logan’s vegan verities, Jaxton’s yoga mat insights, Caden’s dramaturg hankerings, even Alicia’s dizzying Disney references. Their actions, especially Logan’s, aren’t so much about doing the right thing as not being seen as wrong – as bigots.

  • REVIEW: OnDenver

    The Curious company has a reputation for producing challenging, thoughtful, and courageous pieces and I have to hand it to them. The Thanksgiving Play is all three. Even as an audience member, I felt paralyzed by the awkwardness of being a white person watching these excruciating WIWPs trying to navigate the uglier side of American history; it’s an act of bravery for the performers and producers to tackle it in a far more active sense.

  • REVIEW: Colorado Drama

    As Columbus Day fades slowly into the sunset, Native American playwright Larissa FastHorse asks how a theatre collaboration between four white American actors should explain the meaning of Thanksgiving to high school students.

  • John Moore Theatre Coverage Featured Production

    If Curious Theatre Company's "The Thanksgiving Play” were written by a white man … Scratch that; it never would have been written by a white man. It was written by Larissa FastHorse, and it is now one of the 10 most produced new plays in the American theater this season. This gentle comedy is significant because it may be the only play written by an indigenous woman produced by a Colorado theatre company – if not ever, then at least as far back as 2001, when I started keeping records. (FastHorse, who grew up South Dakota, self-identifies as a Native American from the Sicangu Lakota Nation.)

  • The Thanksgiving Play Takes Aim at This Month’s Foodie Holiday

    This month’s most notorious food festivity often conjures up visions of glistening turkeys, side dish smorgasbords, and pies galore—making it easy to forget the dark history behind the quintessential American holiday. The Thanksgiving Play at Curious Theatre Company is a hilarious reminder, offering the story of four well-meaning Caucasian “teacher artists” who attempt to put on a politically correct, historically accurate holiday play for elementary schoolchildren.