By LAUREN MAHAN
Photo by Rocky Zapata
Something Inside Is Broken,” a Native American rock opera sponsored in part by the Rincon Band of Luiseño Indians, recently concluded its premier Western state tour at the California Center for the Arts, Escondido. The brainchild of creator and Indian rights activist Alan Wallace, it tells a side of California history that is omitted from the standard history books: the oppression and enslavement of Native Americans in the period leading up to the California gold-rush.
The story takes place in four time zones. The first and introductory zone is the World Maker and creation of humans. The spirit, Peheipe, is introduced here and will appear in all of the times and in very many scenes in the opera. Acknowledged in the program as “he/she”, Peheipe, as played by J. Ross Parrelli, is very clearly a female character. This is important since a major theme of the work is the treatment of Native women by white men. Peheipe is the strongest character in the play, and Parrelli’s performance is a stand out. While spiritual in character, Peheipe, who is visible only to the audience, is neither good nor bad and does not stand in judgment of characters or events, but provides a unifying theme across the different times.
Read the whole story here…