by: Chase Hammond
It has been almost 20 years since Central High School has had a Native American in a lead role for a drama production. That could be considered a bit of a dry spell. Micah Roubideaux has ended that drought; Roubideaux auditioned in October for the fall show, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey, and was cast in the role of Chief Bromden. The Chief is a 6 foot 7 American Indian that has been sitting in a mental institution for years, pretending to be catatonic in order to escape the cruel treatments of this 1950’s insane asylum. Roubideaux certainly fits the part of Chief Bromden, standing at 6’2” and 195 pounds; years of athletics have given Roubideaux the intimidating body that fits this character.
“I didn’t even think I was going to get in to tell you the truth. And the Native American aspect of it didn’t occur to me until after I got in and found out this was the first Native American lead role for many years and I was proud,” said Roubideaux.
Roubideaux’s presence in this show is a precedent, and has already attracted the attention of many. Students from Pine Ridge High School and the Ateyapi program are going to be viewing the preview of Cuckoo’s Nest on Wednesday, November 16. For many of these students this will be their very first experience with live theater.
“I hope that seeing my presence on this stage will encourage them to embrace the white man’s world rather than shun it.”
Roubideaux has been involved in sports like wrestling and football all his life, and like most athletes, he has always thought, “theater isn’t the manliest thing to do”; but this experience has changed his view of this art form. He encourages all others to follow in his footsteps. He hopes to see other Native Americans auditioning next year and in years to come.
“I think this won’t be a sudden thing, it will be a slow process. I hope that one will get involved and eventually it will create that domino effect. I think opening the door is the first and best step.”
The question is, will this really affect anything? Many are asking themselves this question, including Roubideaux himself, but he retains high hopes about the impact this will have on his culture.
“I can’t really make these kids do anything, I can’t make them more open to it, but I can sure . . . open the door. I hope I can inspire kids to join in. Eventually the cultures will get more and more intertwined and we will bridge the gap between these two cultures.”