the day we were born

FULL LENGTH. On a day in the northernmost U.S. city two whales are freed and two boys are born.

Raised as brothers within a culture and climate in crisis, they join the Alaskan National Guard in high school and are activated for service after graduation.

From the freezing Arctic Circle to the sweltering deserts of Iraq the past and present coexist in a race against time trying to...
FULL LENGTH. On a day in the northernmost U.S. city two whales are freed and two boys are born.

Raised as brothers within a culture and climate in crisis, they join the Alaskan National Guard in high school and are activated for service after graduation.

From the freezing Arctic Circle to the sweltering deserts of Iraq the past and present coexist in a race against time trying to bring everyone together before it’s too late.

Winner of the David Calicchio Emerging American Playwright Prize
  • Recommend
  • Download
  • Save to Reading List

the day we were born

Recommended by

  • Mildred Lewis:
    30 Apr. 2020
    This poetry and passion of this play are extraordinary. It is rare for a piece to have this kind of power in visual and literary terms.

    Amazing, visceral moments: Qi watching a cigarette burn his fingers, the whale knife quivering to a stop.

    What a special, special piece.
  • Tiffany Antone:
    23 Apr. 2020
    This play needs to be produced. The magic, the breathlessness, and the power of this play - stunning! Beautiful, lyrical, and yearning to be seen/heard/felt - an event with the strength to move audiences hearts and minds.
  • Emma Goldman-Sherman:
    25 Aug. 2019
    This play is probably one of the most remarkable and important plays of the century. We should all read it. I hope it will be produced everywhere and often and become part of the canon because it is an urgent and appealing, beautifully written and conceived theatrical event for all of us. Not to be missed!

Character Information

  • Raven Who Creates This World
    Any Age,
    POC. Indigenous preferred.
    ,
    Female-identified or non-binary
    A spirit.
    A grandmother.
    She is fierce sassy vivid – the uber Strong Heart Woman.
    She carries the world and all its stories.
    She tries to weave through words in and outside time a web of a story
    in which redemption and healing are possible.
  • White Caribou Belly Woman
    Any Age,
    POC. Indigenous preferred.
    ,
    Female-identified or non-binary
    A spirit.
    16-year old.
    She is radiant spunky grounded open sans judgment.
    She sings from the bottom of the sea.
    She wears her fav Barrow High School Whalers white hoodie.
  • Soldier
    Any Age,
    POC. Indigenous preferred.
    ,
    Any
    A lost spirit.
    A soldier* who can’t remember his life.
    A Vietnam veteran who took his life.

    *Veteran preferred.
  • Qi
    Any Age,
    POC. Indigenous preferred.
    ,
    Any
    A boy.
    Small of stature*. Made of words.
    Scorns tradition and longs to escape.
    Swears. A lot.
    Born the same day as Benny.

    *preferred
  • Benny
    Any Age,
    POC. Indigenous preferred.
    ,
    Any
    A boy.
    Large of stature* - a gentle giant.
    Radiant grounded open sans judgment.
    An old soul, he wants to use traditional and modern ways
    to write new stories in order to heal the wounded world.
    He longs for Qi to accept him as a brother.
    Born the same day as Qi.

    *preferred
  • Emil
    Any Age,
    POC. Indigenous preferred.
    ,
    Any
    A lost boy.*
    Sits in the back of the bus. Runs a crew. Sells pills and bootleg booze.
    Father murdered someone and has been in prison for life in Juneau since Emil was small.
    Desperate for love and to belong but doesn’t realize it. Unmoored from all anchors.

    *Can be same actor as Uncle.
  • Qi's Mother
    Any Age,
    POC. Indigenous preferred.
    ,
    Female-identified or non-binary
    A haunted woman.*
    She was raised traditional. Off-the-grid.
    After her father, a Vietnam veteran, killed her mother and himself she walked alone to go live
    with her distant (blood ties and miles) cousins.
    She had Qi when she was 16. She raised Qi and Benny as brothers.
    She struggles with addictions [alcohol, cutting].
    She is immensely eloquent in silence and in expressing herself in wordless song.

    *If necessary, this character can be omitted.
    But her presence must be sensed and honored as living breathing grieving real.
    Or she's just another Silenced Invisible Indigenous Woman for others to 'write' or ignore.
  • Benny's Uncle
    Any Age,
    POC. Indigenous preferred.
    ,
    Any
    A haunted man.*
    Subsistence hunter. Honors the traditional ways. A whaling captain.
    Can’t forgive Benny for his mother’s death when he was born.
    Tries to be a father figure for Qi.
    Secretly in love with Qi’s mother.
    At times expresses himself in wordless song.

    *Can be same actor as Emil.

Development History

  • Reading
    ,
    Blank Theatre's Living Room Series
    ,
    2018
  • Reading
    ,
    Marin Theatre Company, in-house Company reading
    ,
    2016
  • Reading
    ,
    Oklahoma City Theater Company, as part of the Native American New Play Festival
    ,
    2015
  • Reading
    ,
    Native Voices at the Autry, as part of the First Look Series, Los Angeles, CA
    ,
    2012

Production History

  • Workshop
    ,
    Oklahoma City Theater Company - 6 nonAEA workshops with some actors on book during the Native American New Play Festival
    ,
    2016

Awards

Semi-Finalist
,
In-Progress New Play Reading Series
,
,
2018
Semi-Finalist
,
Bay Area Playwrights Festival
,
2018
Finalist
,
O'Neill National Playwrights Conference
,
2017
Honorable Mention
,
The List
,
Kilroys
,
2017
Finalist
,
Princess Grace Award
,
Princess Grace Foundation-USA
,
2017
Finalist
,
First Flight New Play Festival
,
Boomerang Theatre Company
,
2017
Judges' Choice
,
Native American New Play Festival
,
Oklahoma City Theater Company
,
2016