ASU MainStage offers peek into moments from Ariz. history

Figures from Arizona’s history – including Lozen, a female Apache warrior who fought with Geronimo, and modern day warrior Lori Ann Piestewa, the first US military woman killed in Iraq – are among the Arizonans whose lives are retold in the ASU School of Theatre and Film's MainStage Season production of "Untold Stories/Unsung Heroes."

Under the direction of professor Pamela Sterling, the play tells the poetic, comedic and iconic stories unearthed over the past year by a team of ASU theatre students. The stories were culled from thousands of archival sources and from interviews with contemporary Arizonans including a group of centenarians from the Pioneer Village in Prescott and from the students' friends, neighbors and relatives.

"Untold Stories/Unsung Heroes," a part of the Arizona Centennial Project New Works Series, is an official selection of the Arizona Centennial Commemoration Project.

“The Call of the West was felt by many, and indeed still is,” Sterling says. “Arizona offered free land, open space, a chance to start anew; in a word: opportunity. In many ways, it still does those things. But we wanted to go beyond the legends, and learn about the lives of the real people who settled here, and who is living here now.”

People who will be pictured in "Untold/Unsung" include: Lozen, Apache warrior; Soto Vasquez, founder of Teatro Carmen in Tucson; Elizabeth Hudson Smith, an African American woman who independently owned and operated a hotel in Wickenburg; George W. Parsons, lawyer, banker, and citizen of Tombstone who had a bird's eye view of the gunfight at the OK Corral and Borislav Bogdanovich, artist and relative of film director Peter Bogdonavich.

In addition to the play, area residents are also invited to related Centennial events and activities including an exhibit, "Tell Your Story," which will be on display in the Lyceum Theatre lobby on the Tempe campus. Students have established a Facebook page where people can learn more about the state’s colorful figures, and a video clip series, "Arizona 100 Stories," where students recount the stories they have uncovered during their research. Pre-show activities include "Living Statues" that come to life to impart the stories of Arizonians.