Black Lives, Black Words Project Continues “Plays for the People” Series
The month of August concludes with a production of the BUTTAFLY PRECINCT (August 20-23), written and directed by Sha Cage, and featuring Ashe Jafaaru, Ava Saunders, and Javari Horne.
BUTTAFLY PRECINCT is two young girls struggle to survive on the streets carrying a dark secret and a jar of butterflies across the city of Minneapolis on the eve of George Perry Floyd’s murder. With the backdrop of the historic Uprising and in the blink of an eye, they discover truth, betrayal, and magic while coming of age on the streets that refuse to call them by their true names.
As well as CELL SURFACE (Aug. 24-30), by Dominic Taylor, directed by Jerrell Henderson, featuring Keith Arthur Bolden, and Kendra Holloway.
CELL SURFACE is a play about making a play in Zoom about two amazing African-American scientists, Dr. E.E. Just and Dr. Roger Young. Ernest Everett Just was the first Black graduate of Dartmouth. His graduate assistant, while he was a professor at Howard University, was Dr. Roger Young. She was the first Black woman to get a Ph.D. in science from U Penn. This play looks at two actors trying to show seven truncated years of a complex relationship. We look at the relationship of these historical figures, how we know them, and how we show them.
Next up will be IMMORTAL GOATS (Sept. 16-20) by Idris Goodwin, directed by Tiffany Nichole Green.
IMMORTAL GOATS in this biting comedy that explores what happens when thanks to the colonial removal act of 2000 & Now more than 90% of statues in America have been taken down. A council of disconcerning Black folks assemble to determine what the replacement statues will be.
Following that will be CALL FOR THE WAILING WOMEN (Oct. 12-17) written by Katrina D. RiChard and directed by Valerie Curtis Newton.
CALL FOR THE WAILING WOMEN is a modern-day Afro-Centric adaptation of Euripides’ “The Suppliants”.
THE EMANCIPATION OF YANKEE OLUWALE (Nov. 19-22) by Wole Oguntokun, directed by Harry Waters Jr.
THE EMANCIPATION OF YANKEE OLUWALE based on a true story. David Oluwale was a Nigerian who stowed away on a ship bound to the UK from Lagos in 1949, when he was only 19. Nicknamed “Yankee” on account of his love for all things American. In 1968, his body was pulled out of the River Aire in Leeds. A young police officer testified against his senior colleagues on the systematic dehumanization of David and the two were convicted on a series of assaults on the mentally-ill Oluwale. The Manslaughter charges were dismissed on account of a lack of direct evidence.
Closing out the season will be three incredible surprise productions. Black Lives Black Words International Project was founded in 2015, their mission is to empower artists of color and the communities they are a part of. Black Lives Black Words empowers activist and to transform their neighborhoods through their art. Black Lives Black Words aims to create lasting changes in how artists view how their voice serves to better their lives, their communities, and ultimately the world that surrounds them.
Black Lives, Black Words (BLBW) is an international initiative that provides local creatives with an artistic platform across various art forms to respond to social injustices that impact on underrepresented communities, in particular – people of color and women.
BLBW uniquely merges arts and activism to empower artists of color and women to view themselves as leaders, global citizens, and ambassadors for change. By working in partnership with leading theatres, culturally diverse organizations and academia, BLBW has provided opportunities to artists and leaders from a wide range of ages, ethnicities, experiences, and socio-economic backgrounds.
Since its conception in 2015, our work has spread both nationally and internationally through forging strong relationships with organizations, such as; The Guthrie (Minneapolis), Buddies in Bad Times (Canada), Obsidian Theatre (Canada), Victory Gardens (Chicago), Bush Theatre (London), Black Ensemble (Chicago), as well as academia, including; Rose Bruford (London), Northwestern University (Chicago) and Western Michigan (Kalamazoo).
Black Lives, Black Words International Project premiered at the Greenhouse Theatre in Chicago in 2015 and was heralded as “It’s a hopeful performance that comes from a place of love and optimism” by The Resident Magazine (UK).
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