"The Hindu and the Cowboy . . . " is based on interviews with Kansas Citians of diverse cultural and faith traditions. The play grew out of the Mosaic Life Stories Project, undertaken in 2002 by a group of volunteers inspired by the need of interfaith encounter and belief in the power of stories.
The project -- sparked by the Gifts of Pluralism Conference, hosted by CRES, an interfaith educational organization – was originally sponsored by CRES, Kansas City Harmony and the National Conference for Community and Justice (NCCJ).
The project encouraged people to come forward and tell the stories they have lived, the stories that have affected them in a visceral way. For example, the play includes stories based on a young Muslim and his surprise encounter with New York City fire fighters after 9-11 … an African American pastor and the once enslaved grandmother he’ll never forget … A Polish Jew and her story of sacrifice and survival … The Hindu and the cowboy who come face to face over the fate of land … and more. While the stories themselves come from people in Kansas City, the experiences and Themes conveyed transcend regional boundaries.
All generations, including youth, and all major religious faiths were involved. Specifically, individuals were interviewed from the following faith traditions: Native American, Baha’i, Christian (Protestant and Catholic), Hindu, Islam, Judaism, Pagan, Sikh Dharma, Sufi, Unitarian Universalist, Zoroastrian, Jain and non-affiliated.
Stories were gathered from more than 80 people through personal interviews and storytelling circles. Playwright Donna W. Ziegenhorn designed the project and wrote the play.
"The Hindu and the Cowboy" premiered for the public in 2004 at the Kansas City
Harmony Luncheon. Since then, it has been presented 20 times -- to college, church, peace conference, seminary, youth and corporate diversity training audiences.
The play is performed by a multicultural cast and runs one hour. It is produced by
Kansas City’s Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre.