Off The Rails

By Randy Reinholz (Choctaw)

Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show is in town holding auditions, and the regulars at the Stewed Prunes Saloon are hoping for a shot at stardom.

But plans change when Momaday, a Pawnee teenager, is sentenced to hang for his forbidden love affair with an Irish-American girl. Captain Angelo, the presiding officer, won’t budge... until he lays eyes on Momaday’s sister, Isabel.

This irreverent, subversive adaptation of Shakespeare's Measure for Measure — described as “Blazing Saddles meets Shakespeare,” and Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s first play by a Native American writer — uses healthy doses of humor and music to illuminate the painful legacy of Indian boarding schools in the American West

This Play Uses Shakespeare to Examine Our Country’s Persecution of Native Americans

"Off the Rails, Randy Reinholz’s engaging adaptation of Measure for Measure, interweaves strands of American history, chiefly the Native American struggle to preserve tribal identity, with the themes and cadences of Shakespearean comedy." L.A. Weekly

INTERVIEW: Reinholz sheds light on American Indian boarding schools in new play

"The play is loosely based on William Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure, one of the Bard’s most famous comedies. This time the action is set in the Old West and covers the topic of American Indian boarding schools." Hollywood Soapbox

The Current State of Native Theatre

"The idea and creation of the American Indian boarding school came at a moment in time when according to the U.S. Census, there were only 218,000 Indians left alive in America. The total annihilation of Native people nearly happened (from an estimated fifteen million to less than a quarter of a million in 1880)." HowlRound

When the Art In a Museum is Live

"And while Native Voices has complete autonomy over its programming, sometimes thematic strands overlap between the museum side and the theatre side. This Native Voices season is devoted to plays about the American Indian boarding-school experience: Off the Rails, an adaptation of Measure for Measure written by Reinholz and set in a boarding school, plays through March 15. Coincidentally, the Autry recently acquired a series of video interviews of boarding-school survivors." American Theatre