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Where You Want To Be! 5th Annual The New Black Fest at The Lark

Playwright France-Luce Benson, who will have her work presented during The New Black Fest at The Lark Photo: francelucebenson.com
Drew Shade

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The New Black Fest at The Lark is here! The 5th annual theatre festival founded by J. Holtham, Jocelyn Prince, & Keith Josef Adkins will take place April 9th – 13th, 2018. The New Black Fest is a gathering of artists, thinkers, activists, and audiences who are dedicated to stretching, interrogating and uplifting the Black aesthetic. 

The week of events will take place at The Lark, a theater organization that has partnered with The New Black Fest since 2015.

“The Lark is proud to serve as a partner to The New Black Fest in its mission to celebrate insurgent voices within the diverse African diaspora through theater, music, and discussion” 

“…a gathering of artists, thinkers, activists, and audiences who are dedicated to stretching, interrogating and uplifting the Black aesthetic.”

The kick-off event is sure to be one you’ll want to attend. Black Love, Black Space, and Solidarity, a panel discussion you can not afford to miss with a dynamic line-up that includes Keith Beauchamp (filmmaker, The Untold Story of Emmett Louis Till), C.A. Johnson (playwright), Dominique Morisseau (playwright, TV writer), Quentin Walcott (anti-violence activist, educator, facilitator). The panel will be moderated by The New Black Fest founder and artistic director, Keith Josef Adkins. You’ll also have a chance to witness readings of plays by France-Luce Benson, Donja R. Love, Jonathan Payne, and Liza Jessie Peterson. Check out the deets and RSVP below! Visit The New Black Fest for more info!

April 9, 2018 at 7pm
Kick-Off Panel: Black Love, Black Space, and Solidarity

Moderated by Keith Josef Adkins, and featuring Keith A. Beauchamp, C.A. Johnson, Dominique Morisseau, and Quentin Walcott.

 

April 10, 2018 at 7pm
SISTERGURLS AND THE SQUIRREL
by Liza Jessie Peterson

Kitty, the sister of Karmica SutraQuita Jones (of Peterson’s Chiron Homegurl Healer Howls) runs an erotic-product business out of her home. A sales-depot of sorts. Several women gather regularly to sell the products and host sex-toy parties around town. But when a squirrel jumps into an open window, chaos ensues, a family secret is revealed, and old wounds come to the surface to be healed.

 

April 11, 2018 at 7pm
SOFT
by Donja R. Love

Slammed against a poetic backdrop of Urban America, Mr. Isaiah, a recent hire at a disciplinary boarding high school, is ready to make a difference in the lives of his six male students. When one of his boys commits suicide, he is plagued with the questions: Where do Black and Brown boys go when they die? And what makes someone’s struggle so unbearable that they’d take their own life? While seeking answers to this question, he sees the sorrows that each of his boys dances with – and is reminded of his own.

 

April 12, 2018 at 7pm
DEUX FEMMES ON THE EDGE DE LA REVOLUTION
by France-Luce Benson

A pig is sacrificed, a goddess seduces a young bride, and enslaved and self-liberated Africans on the island of San Domingue rise up to end slavery and destroy colonialism. Deux Femmes on the Edge de la Revolution tells the story of the Haitian Revolution from the perspective of two women – an enslaved healer of African nobility, and a French woman sold into marriage. The two form an unlikely alliance on the battlefields of San Domingue, and like the revolution, their journeys will forever change the course of history.

 

April 13, 2018 at 7pm
BROTHER RABBIT
by Jonathan Payne

An Easter Play with a false rabbit and a dead Christ, where the scattered tribes of the inner city are alone against the horrors of a terrible plague. Brother Rabbit questions the influence of the church in the Black Community. An institution once so rooted in the upward mobility of a people, may have tragically fallen out of the prestige it once had so long ago.

 

 

 

The New Black Fest is supported in part by a special grant from the Ford Foundation.

Additional support provided through grants to The Lark from the New York State Council on the Arts, a State Agency, and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council.

Founder/Editor-In-Chief of BroadwayBlack.com | Actor | Artist | 1/3 of @OffBookPodcast | Theatre connoisseur | All Audra Everything | Caroline over Change | I'm Not Charl Brown | Norm Lewis is my play cousin | Producing an all-black production of Mame starring Jenifer Lewis in my head

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Events and Happenings

Erika Dickerson-Despenza Addresses Flint Water Crisis with Cullud Wattah

Drew Shade

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Playwright Erika Dickerson-Despenza

There is limited seating left for Erika Dickerson-Despenza’s new play CULLUD WATTAH at The Public Theater. Opening today, Thursday, March 7th and running until Sunday, March 10th in the Public Studio is about three generations of Black women living through the current water crisis in Flint, Michigan.

“It’s been 936 days since Marion’s family has had clean water. When local activists file a class action lawsuit against the city, Marion—a third-generation employee at General Motors—must decide how best to support her two daughters, sister, and mother while lead seeps into the community, their home, and their bodies. As corrosive memories and secrets rise among them, the family wonders if they’ll ever be able to filter out the truth.”

2018 Relentless Award Semifinalist and poet-playwright makes her Public Theater debut with CULLUD WATTAH directed by Lilly Award winner Candis C. Jones; the cast includes Deonna Bouye (Marion), Alana Raquel Bowers (Reesee), Caroline Stefanie Clay (Big Ma), Nikiya Mathis (Ainee), and Kara Young (Plum).

The creative team includes Production Stage Manager Gregory Fletcher, Stage Manager Priscilla Villanueva, and Movement Director Adesola Osakalumi. Along with scenic design by Arnulfo Maldonado, Costume Design by Ntokozo Fuzunina Kunene, lighting Design by Jeanette Oi-Suk Yew, and sound design by Megan Culley

We believe in this work so much we’re giving away 4 tickets to the performances on March 10th. 2 tickets to the matinee and two the evening performance thanks to our founder Drew Shade and actress/playwright Jocelyn Bioh. Go to our Instagram to find out how!

Also, find out more about how you can help the Flint Water Crisis and support this show HERE.

Listen to Erika talk about her work on an episode of Off Book Podcast below

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Events and Happenings

Surely Goodness and Mercy by Chisa Hutchinson Begins Off-Broadway

Broadway Black

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Performances begin today, Tuesday February 26th, for the New York premiere of  Surely Goodness and Mercy, presented by Keen Company. A story about an exceptional boy living a troubled life in Newark, NJ who does a good deed for an often unnoticed person.   Sarita Covington, Jay Mazyck, Brenda Pressley, Courtney Thomas, and Cezar Williams star under Jessi D. Hill’s direction.

Set in an under-funded public school in Newark, Surely Goodness and Mercy by rising playwright Chisa Hutchinson, tells the story of a bible-toting boy with a photographic memory who befriends the cantankerous old lunch lady. Against all odds, Tino and Bernadette help each other through the mess of growing up and growing old.  

Surely Goodness and Mercy has spent the last year charming audiences across the country: “Notably absent from Hutchinson’s frank and sobering story: cynicism” – Chicago Reader; “(Surely Goodness and Mercy has) a soul-stirring quality, touching audiences with its sincerity” – Daily Utah Chronicle; “it’s impossible not to like it” – The Salt Lake Tribune. Now, Keen is honored to bring this big-hearted new play to New York for the first time.

Performances for this limited Off-Broadway engagement of Surely Goodness and Mercy will continue through Saturday, April 13th only, with opening night set for Wednesday, March 13th.

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