In The Removed (7 hours) by Brandon Hobson, a Cherokee family grapples with the death of their teenage son and brother, Ray-Ray, 15 years after his murder. Father Ernest is losing his memory, younger son Edgar is dealing with drug addiction, daughter Sonja flits between unavailable men, and mother Maria tries to hold everything together while caring for their new foster son, who may be the reincarnation of Ray-Ray. Each chapter is told from a different character’s perspective, moving among family members as well as an elder named Tsala.
The large cast of Indigenous narrators (Gary Farmer, Shaun Taylor-Corbett, DeLanna Studi, Katie Rich and Christopher Salazar) brings great depth and dimensionality to this world. In particular, Farmer’s voice imbues Tsala’s sections with a real sense of history, his narration recalling spoken word traditions. Each actor does a magnificent job portraying the complicated emotions and layered personality of their character, making The Removed feel more like a recorded play than a straightforward reading.