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Over the last four years, The Fire This Time (FTT), an ever-growing festival, has lit up the East Village and set it ablaze. Founded by Kelly Nicole Girod, FTT has taken on the call to seize the torch and provide a platform for emerging playwrights of color to represent the voices of their generation. Each year, 6–7 playwrights of African and African-American descent are chosen to write ten-minute plays. “Our motto is that any play written by a black playwright is a black expression, even if it’s a play about two white people in love.” –Kelly Nicole Girod

This two-week festival, produced by the Horse Trade Theater Group, is compiled of stage readings, seminars, and the fully staged showcase of ten-minute plays. The festival kicked off on January 24th with a wonderful panel discussion on Submitting, Self-Producing & Other Survival Skills for Artists, moderated by Co-Executive Producer of the festival, Kevin R. Free.

This year’s lineup of plays covered an array of topics, and after just one two-hour sitting, you feel a litany of emotions, leaving you quite satisfied. Even better is the opportunity to support phenomenal actors from the indie community. This past weekend, I witnessed a woman bond on stage with her unborn child, delved into Steve Urkel’s sex life, and grew anxious as I watched a Sudanese family in trouble, just to name a few. In the midst of this daunting New York City winter, take a seat at the Kraine Theater let The Fire This Time Festival engulf you in its warmth. Now running until February 2nd!

Take a look at what’s in store for you:

Nightfall By Cynthia G. Robinson directed by Cezar Williams- A Sudanese couple is forced to confront the mayhem that haunts their village and threatens to destroy their family.

Always By Danielle T. Davenport, Directed by Awoye Timpo- When Malik shows up at a reading of his childhood best friend Erica’s celebrated new novel after over a decade of distance between them, sparks fly as they navigate an emotional minefield of shared history summoned up by the book’s plot.

Poor Posturing By Tracey Conyer Lee, Directed by Kevin R. Free- Can’t we all just get along? Maybe, if we stop trying so hard.

Orchids and Polka Dots By Nathan Yungerberg, Directed By Nicco Annan- 1955: An emotionally stifled housewife, a fledgling young research scientist and a tall glass of water infused with 100 gamma of LSD.

Within Untainted Wombs By Dennis A. Allen II, Directed by Christopher Burris- An expecting mother participates in a clinical trial that gives her the ability to communicate with her unborn child, but she soon finds that some thoughts are better left unshared.

Favored Nations By J. Holtham, Directed by Nicole A. Watson- In an upscale office, two brothers meet for the last time to settle their father’s will. Secrets are revealed, grudges are settled, and teddy bears are threatened with execution. Family…can’t live with ’em.

The Sad, Secret (Sex) Life of Steve Urkel By Eric Lockley, Directed by Jonathan McCrory- Sometimes experiments go terribly wrong. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction . . . in bed.

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