Reflecting on the nature of modern life

Ashland St. Clair Productions will present Robert Greygrass in an evening of Native American storytelling, music and ceremony Saturday at 8 p.m. at the Unitarian Center, 4th and C streets, Ashland.

Telling stories from the Lakota and other tribes, plus his own comical personal narratives from his life, Greygrass will stimulate his audience's thinking, roller coaster their emotions, expand their spiritual understanding and make them laugh until you cry.

His northern traditional singing and cedar flute music guide his listeners a little further on life's journey.

Being Lakota, Irish, Scottish and Creole, he has an uncanny way of presenting the Native American world through the experience of his multi-ethnicity.

The power of Greygrass' performance generates optimism.

The combination of performance, skill and impassioned conviction, the stories, the drumming, singing and snatches of native language strongly suggest that there is still a living culture, based upon spiritual kinship with nature, that can offer something important to modern American life.

"He doesn't preach," Helen Thomson of Today-Review said.

"He uses storytelling, humor, songs and drama to gently nudge us farther down the path toward better understanding of ourselves, and our place in the world." Bob Boardman of Port Angeles, Wash., said.

A former resident of Ashland, Greygrass lives in Hollywood, Calif., where he has been furthering his career as an actor in theater and film.

He is a company member of Native Voices at the Autry and a member of the Screen Actors Guild.

His recent roles include Dr. Thomas Mittlewerk on ABC's "Lost Experience" and a variety of voices on several video games coming out next year.

He recently appeared in "The Street Angel Diaries" at Bostoncourt in Pasadena, Calif., and "The Enlightenment" at Carpenter Center in Long Beach, Calif.

Greygrass was a featured storyteller at Beyond the Borders in Leeds, England, in April 2007.

Greygrass is a published author and an award-winning storyteller, receiving the Best Storyteller of 1999 award by the Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers.

He was twice chosen Best Actor of the Year in Ashland, in 1993 for his portrayal of the legendary warrior Crazy Horse in "Black Elk Speaks" and in 1994 for his portrayal of John Merrick in "The Elephant Man," both produced by the former Actors Theater of Ashland.

Greygrass performed for two years on stage with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and toured for two years with the Festivals school tour program.

Greygrass wrote and performs a pair of one-man shows: "Walking on Turtle Island," featuring 21 characters and four plays within the play; and "Ghostlands of an Urban NDN," a lively show with 16 characters in which Greygrass brings out the tensions of being multiracial and multicultural.

He has toured internationally with his one-man plays.

In 2000, he performed in Australia, including the United Nations anti-racism conference in Sydney.

In 2001, he did a university-gymnasium school tour of Germany.

Greygrass grew up in Hayward, Calif., far from his mother's Lakota and Cherokee roots. He experienced many of the problems facing urban Native Americans.

As a young adult seeking a better way of life, Greygrass started to explore his Lakota heritage and began to turn around his life.

What followed were years of traditional spiritual practices: sweats, vision quests, sundance, listening to the elders, learning the language, history, stories and years of activism with the American Indian Cultural Center.

A sundancer, counselor, father, grandfather and life coach, Greygrass conveys sensitivity, a sense of humor, music and "good medicine" wherever he goes.

Tickets are $18 in advance, $20 at the door, $10 for teens 12-17 and free for children under 12 with a paying adult.

Tickets are available at the Music Coop at A and Pioneer streets in Ashland, online at or by calling 535-3562.

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