Sunday, May 31, 2009

Robert Alexander's "I Ain't Yo' Uncle: The New Jack Revisionist Uncle Tom's Cabin" 6/12-28 (Nashville)

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Hey there,
I want to thank you for all you've done to support Amun Ra Theatre in our Step Into The Future 2009 Season. It's been a great ride and it continues with our 3rd show of the season: Robert Alexander's "I Ain't Yo' Uncle: The New Jack Revisionist Uncle Tom's Cabin."

It's the kind of piece you'll see in the big cities (New York, Chicago, L.A., etc.), in the black box environment, and we're bringing that flavor to the Music City.

We're only doing 8 shows, so don't miss it. Pass it along to your friends who are patrons of the arts, and I look forward to seeing your face in the place.

Soon your odd artistic friend,

Jeff Obafemi Carr
The Media Scientist

To visit the Amun Ra Theatre website, please click the post's title.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Ella Turenne's GRAY debuts 5/30 (Harlem)

Ella Turenne

Dear Family and Friends,

I hope you will join me for my debut as a playwright. In addition, I am performing in the piece. This story is close to my heart (it's semiautobiographical) and deals with family, love and forgiveness. I hope you will come out and support! All proceeds are going towards the completion of our webisode pilot which we will be premiering this Fall.

*Please spread the word!*

Thank you,

A note - both Sunday's will feature a talkback with the playwrights. I encourage you to come and give your feedback!

"Gray" is featured as part of the "Come Celebrate The Glory of Sugar Hill" Theatre Festival. The Theatre Festival is sponsored by Heritage Health and Housing, Inc.

Life and death collide in this tale of redemption and forgiveness. What does it take to forgive someone? Is it easier to forgive someone you don’t really know that well? Someone you think you hate? Or someone who is a member of your own family? This dramatic piece explores the relationship of a racially diverse family: a granddaughter and grandfather’s quest for forgiveness, redemption and the ability to make peace with the past and present. Irene, a young Haitian American woman, hardened by the death of her mother and absence of her father and maternal grandmother, struggles to define her relationship with her grandfather Samuel. A Haitian white man who allowed himself to fall victim to his cultural history, Samuel has long since reconciled his past and tries incessantly to make amends with his granddaughter. An unforeseen tragedy forces Irene to rethink the importance of this man in her life.


Written by Ella Turenne

Directed by Jessica Hartley


Ella Turenne
Stephen Hill
Lucinda Carr
Tom Thornton

Temple M555
West 141st Street
Take the 1 train to 137th Street

May 30 - 1 pm
May 31 - 4:30 pm
June 6 - 6 pm
June 7 - 4 pm

Tix: $18 through

ella turenne
art or die

Friday, May 29, 2009

Red Harlem Readers

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Cassandra Medley's DAUGHTER 6/5-27 (NYC)

Dates and times:
6/5: 7:00pm
6/6: 2:00pm, 7:00pm
6/7: 3:00pm
6/8: 7:00pm
6/12: 7:00pm
6/13: 2:00pm
6/18: 7:00pm
6/20: 2:00pm, 7:00pm
6/21: 3:00pm
6/22: 7:00pm
6/25: 7:00pm
6/26: 7:00pm
6/27: 2:00pm, 7:00pm
General admission tickets: $18.00
To purchase tickets, please click the post's title.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Carlease Burke's FIFTY! World Premiere 6/5 (LA)

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FIFTY! It Doesn’t Look This Good on Everybody

Created and Celebrated by Carlease Burke

Directed by David Jahn

The Actors Group
4378 Lankershim Blvd.

North Hollywood , CA 91602

Four consecutive weekends in June

Opening: Friday, June 5, 2009

Closing: Sunday, June 28, 2009

Performances: Fridays and Saturdays at 8PM

Sundays at 2PM
(Q & A following Sunday performances)

TICKETS: $15. General Admission

$12. Students and Seniors

For reservations call 800-838-3006 or

click here.

To visit Ms. Burke's website, please click the post's title.

Levy Lee Simon's THE STUTTERING PREACHER and DAD 6/12-7/26 (LA)

Proudly Presents the West Coast Premiere of Two One-Act Plays
by Levy Lee Simon
Directed by Niva Dorel

Co-Producer: Vanoy Burnough

The Stuttering Preacher and Dad (2 one-act plays)
(running time 2 hours / each one-act 1 hour each)

June 12, 2009 through July 26, 2009
Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 p.m. and Sundays at 3:00 p.m.

The Complex Theatre
6476 Santa Monica Blvd.
Hollywood, CA 90038

RSVP: 818-731-7885 or

Cast: Richard Brooks and Eddie Goines in DAD
Javon Johnson and Fylicia Renee’ King in

Tickets: $20.00

Synopsis for DAD: Stuck on a deserted highway on a cold winter night, a father and son attempt to come to terms with their strained relationship. The drama unfolds as the two men discuss life including marriage, infidelity, manhood, drugs, and education. Another day in the life of Black men in America searching for hope and love.

Synopsis for THE STUTTERING PREACHER: The story revolves around Clarence Jackson, III, Pastor for the New Zion Baptist Church and Efay. As the pursuit for sex, love and happiness takes us on a ride with a stuttering preacher and a stubborn woman. Is it a game of win or lose, or will they both end up with a box of chocolates?

NIVA DORELL (Director) - is a writer, director and producer, including: two award-winning short films Kings and Milk and Honey (for Showtime), What About Your Friends, a television movie starring Keisha Knight Pulliam and Lou Gossett, Jr., Skid Row, a feature documentary, and two music videos. A USC film graduate, she has shadowed on David Mamet's TV show The Unit and was a finalist for the ABC/Disney Television Writing Program. As a theater director, Niva has worked with Harry Lennix, Ella Joyce, Loretta Devine, Cece Antoinette and Juanita Jennings. Niva is currently producing her first feature (w/David Mamet), preparing to direct a documentary, writing a female-driven action script and producing three music videos.

LEVY LEE SIMON (Playwright) Award winning playwright, actor, screenwriter and teacher. Levy Lee Simon is the author of over twenty plays which have received productions in the US and Caribbean. He is an Audelco Award Winner, Lorraine Hansberry Award Winner, Eugene O’Neill Fellow, Two Time NAACP Best Playwright Nominee and an Ovation Nominee.

MARJORIE KILPATRICK (Producer) is CEO & President of NJoy Productions. The Stuttering Preacher & Dad marks Ms. Kilpatrick’s debut as an Executive Producer. Her professional relationship with Levy Lee Simon, award winning playwright, has resulted in much success. Kilpatrick Co-Produced The Bow Wow Club (2006 NAACP Theater Award Winner). She starred alongside John Marshall Jones (Smart Guy) in the NYC production of The Guest of Central Park West (2007 Audelco Award Winner). Kilpatrick was inspired creatively by her late father, Lincoln Kilpatrick, a great actor and her mentor Edmund Cambridge of The Lincoln-Cambridge Theater Arts School in Hollywood.

Cast Credits: Richard Brooks (Lie to Me, Law & Order), Eddie Goines (Marco Polo, My Name is Earl), Fylicia Renee’ King (Momma Was A Bad Mutha…Shut Yo Mouth, Stellina Blue, Sideline Confessions), Javon Johnson (Barbershop 2, Prison Break, Tyler Perry’s Daddy’s Little Girls, House of Payne).

Media/Press Contact: Publicity4you. com – Lynne Conner - 818.749.9695

Before They Die! Benefit Screening 5/31 (LA)

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Please join Reggie Turner, Mportant Films; Clarence Otis, CEO Darden Restaurants, and Congresswoman Maxine Waters as we honor Professor Charles J. Ogletree, Jr. and the living survivors of the 1921 Tulsa Race Riot.

May 31, 2009 is the 88th Anniversary of America's least known and worst act of domestic terrorism. Come see the LA Premier of our Feature Documentary Film Before They Die! which chronicles the survivors journey for justice in their own words. Meet 106 yr. old Otis Clark, 94 yr. old Dr. Olivia Hooker, 91 yr. old Wess Young. They will be joined by the 5 survivors living here in Southern California for a post screening reception and Talk Back moderated by Professor Ogletree and Congresswoman Waters. Don't miss this once in a lifetime opportunity to see, experience, touch and change history. Help Us, Help Them....Before They Die!

Tickets/Donation $20.00 Adults, $12.00 Students W/ ID, Children under 6 Free Available at Box Office, RSVP appreciated below. All tickets and Donations are tax deductible.

For more information on the film, event sponsorship or on making a Donation please visit the Before They Die! website by clicking the post's title or call Reggie Turner at 323 798 8634. The Tulsa Project, Inc is a 501(c) (3) public charity.


Will the Survivors of the 1921 Tulsa Race Riot Get Justice Before They Die?
Los Angeles, California - May 26, 2009 –

At 106 years old, Mr. Otis Clark has been waiting 88 years for justice. He and the other survivors of the 1921 Tulsa Race Riot have never been compensated for what they lost during that horrific event. Mr. Clark remembers being shot at while he and a friend were trying to get an ambulance to help wounded people, lying in the dusty streets. When Dr. Olivia Hooker asked her mother if it was hailing, her mother showed her the machine gun the National Guard has set up on the side of the hill, and said that her country was shooting at them. These are but two of the stories that survivors of the 1921 Tulsa Race Riot tell. Before the September 11, 2001 tragedy, the Oklahoma City bombing, the internment of Japanese-Americans in camps in the U.S. during World War II, there was the 1921 Tulsa Race Riot, the least known and worst act of domestic terrorism in the history of America. In less than 24 hours over 42 square blocks of the black section of Tulsa, Oklahoma, known as “Black Wall Street,” were burned to the ground by a white mob that had been deputized by the sheriff. More than 10,000 people were displaced overnight and an estimated 300 killed. The photographs look like a war zone.

In 1999 the State of Oklahoma set up a commission to look at the issue of reparations for the Survivors of the Tulsa Race Riot. Despite the Tulsa Race Riot Commission 2001 recommendations that the Survivors of the 1921 Tulsa Race Riot should receive reparations for what they lost during the riot, the City of Tulsa and the State of Oklahoma have not offered anything in the way of compensation. They have appropriated $5 million in funds for monuments and a museum but not for direct payments to the survivors. It appears that the City of Tulsa and the State of Oklahoma are waiting for the Survivors to die and along with them any claims for reparations.

Armed with the 2001 findings and recommendations of the Tulsa Race Riot Commission, the Survivors took their case against the City and State to Federal Court. They were represented by a high powered legal team lead by Harvard Law Professor Charles Ogletree and the late Johnnie Cochran. At each step along the legal process, the courts acknowledged that a great wrong had been done to the victims of the Tulsa Race Riot. But their case was denied, nevertheless, based on a technicality. The case went all the way to the Supreme Court, which refused to hear the case. How ironic, that when viewing a clip of the new documentary, “Before They Die!” that follows the Survivors case through the courts, Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer would say that he was "moved to tears by the event, the film and the stories of the Survivors".

The victims of ‘9/11’, the Oklahoma City bombing, and the Japanese-Americans from the World War II internment camps have all been compensated. The Survivors of the Tulsa Race Riot are still waiting, hoping that they will see justice and compensation before they die.

May 31, 2009 marks the 88th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921. To commemorate the anniversary a series of events have been scheduled in Los Angeles May 31.

At 8:00 AM on Sunday May 31, 2009 the survivors, Prof. Ogletree and the films Producer/Director Reggie Turner will attend First AME morning worship. At 11:00 am they will be guests at West Angeles COGC. They will be joined by religious and civic leaders from across America and the other living and able survivors. At 7:30 PM there will be a screening of the documentary Before They Die! The story of the Survivors’ 6 year odyssey through the Federal courts to the Supreme Court to Congress last year in search for legal recourse, remedy and justice will Premiere. Proceeds from the film will go to the Tulsa Project, Inc. a non-profit organization created to provide direct cash payments to the living survivors... Before They Die! Immediately after the film a Town Hall “Talk Back” will be held to discuss the film and how it will be used to inform the public about the 1921 Tulsa Race Riot, the legacy of the riot and what it holds for the future.

The film is the cornerstone of an effort to generate knowledge of this hidden historical event, and to stimulate Americans to contribute online to provide compensation directly to the victims. The non-profit, Tulsa Project Fund. Inc. has been established specifically for that purpose. Our goal is to accomplish what the legal and legislative branches of our government have failed to do. To right this wrong, to no longer simply look backward: To Step Forward from our history, by embracing our present responsibility to make life better for these victims while we have to opportunity to do so.

The AAPEX Interview with playwright JAMAL WILLIAMS

One of AAPEX's most prolific and productive members is Jamal Williams. Orginally from the San Francisco Bay area, Jamal did a stint in New York but has recently relocated to Atlanta. Today he is headed back to NYC for a produciton of his play EULOGY FOR THE BLACK MAN. I asked him to share his story and here it is.
Jaz Dorsey

Except for being "hijacked" into performing in a play at the local recreation center in the Fillmore District of San Francisco when I was 12 years old and a role that called for counting from one to ten in Spanish, I didn't have any exposure to live theater. As a matter of fact, I was booted from that role because I have a horrible time with foreign languages including English. I couldn't remember what came after cinco. I was a loner who lost himself in reading novels, especially Robert Lewis Stevenson's Call of the Wild & White Fang and Edgar Rice Burrows' Tarzan adventures. In fact as I lost myself in their tales, I thought that one day I would write adventure stories about wild wolf/dogs and traveling through jungles on foot.

My real evolution as an artist started when I was serving in a navy ship off the coast of Vietnam. The only reading material that I could find was Readers Guide and as I read their condensed stories and found that these writers were paid real money for this crap, I thought that when I got the chance I too would make a few extra dollars submitting them stories with more flair and imagination than those they'd already published. In fact, when I got back stateside, I submitted a story or two and got no response whatsoever. Either they weren't looking for the stuff I was writing or I didn't have the skills to know what I was writing. For a long time, in my early twenties, I forgot about writing and just ran the streets living the life of an oversexed and happy young man.

Then the Beginning-of-the End happened. My next door neighbor and street-running partner, who was also stationed on my Navy Reserve Ship, talked me into checking out a new black writers group down the street that had only two members, himself and the Founder. After one visit where someone read parts of a new short story, the ghost-of-I-can-do-that whopped me upside the head and I was hooked. The group grew very fast with everyone attempting to write short stories, but Evolution transformed many of them to writing poetry. I could never master poetry, so I became the only member writing it. Then the Evolution turned to writing plays. Again I resisted and stayed the lone short story writer.

Unlike today where it's difficult to get the money to rent a space and produce a play, in those San Francisco days the hippies, the Black Panthers, weren't the only renaissance going on. With no formal training Black folks were doing all kinds of Art and most of it, with the help of the Arts Commission, was being performed live. Actors, Ted Lange (The Love Boat) , Shabaka Henly (Stella Got Her Groove On). Danny Glover (Lethal Weapon) was just beginning his acting career getting his "chops" in a community group called Black Light Explosion Company. Many well known movie and television actors were caught up in this Arts Explosion. And the beauty of it all was that most of the groups supported and worked with one another. My group, The San Francisco Black Writers Workshop, would write plays and Black Light would provide the Actors, and another group that taught Directors, would provide the Directors. And the City would provide the venues, at no cost, for these events to happen. Yes, those were some heady times. One of our playwrights would finish the first draft of a play and two weeks later it was being performed. And because everyone was a poet or a playwright except me, their art came to life in living color and my short stories went into my dresser drawer. That is until...I was asked to write a 1st play for a college professor's convention coming to San Francisco. Just on a whim and because I was encouraged by the other writers to join the "fraternity" of the produced, I wrote a short play that was in titled: "Where's What?" Everybody asked me what the fuck did Where's What mean?!!! It was a satirical answer to the Panthers so-called food program. The first major revision was to retitle the play "Where's the Revolution".

To me it was to be a one-time shot. I was an artiste, not no simple playwright. Anybody could write a simple play. I just didn't know any better in those days. :) Anyway, I was so pumped up on seeing real people watching real people bring my real words to life, that for the next ten years or so I wrote plays full-time. The irony is that so many years (decades) have passed since then and I think I am the only playwright out of that group that is still writing plays. Out of all the many cities I have lived in this many years (Los Angels, New York, Atlanta) and all the many groups I have belonged to, I am a fervent and true believer in the workshop process. I can't believed that there are many true geniuses that sit alone in their rooms and write and then have their work go straight to producer to the stage without any feedback from other writers. Never be your own unflinching admirer. You might think that you don't want others rewriting your shit for you or giving you negative feedback so that you become discouraged. You want to bounce your work off others because most of us aren't able to smell our own shit. The theater in its true self is art in a collaborative world. The first to believe in your art are those that are part of the collaborative circle that makes it come to life. They are the real ones that have a true stake in it and you. Of course the people who pay to sit in those theater seats to experience what comes from your inner soul, want to experience your brilliance. But brilliance is a subjective thing sometimes. What smells like roses and to you is sweet as honey, might stink and taste like shit. Despite how brilliant you think you are, your art will be judge by many different objective observers. To me it's in the workshop environment where those first objective observers come in first contact with your art. And it will definitely be a mixed bag. You'll get those that have same artistic dreams as you and hate your work for it and will try their best to belittle your work just because that's who they are. You'll have cheerleaders telling you that your shit is brilliant and wonder when it'll be produced on a live stage knowing that all the time the audience will want their money back. You'll have those that care more about the quality of the art than they do personally about you as a human. And it's this hodgepodge of fellow thespians that makes workshops so very much indispensable to a playwright that wants to perfect his craft and not his damn ego. You will get all kinds of criticisms in that cramped environment. And if you want to learn to be able to survive and grow a strong "hide" as well as a strong belief in yourself and be able to let BS go through one ear and out the other and also allow meaningful criticism to make you pause and evaluate it to make a revisit to your "brilliant" play to see something you didn't see before-- then a workshop is an invaluable tool to make you a better artist. Wherever I go in my Gypsy-like life, I search out writers workshops. When I was in N.Y. I belonged to many and each served a purpose in the growth of my career as a writer.

As a new transplant in Atlanta, I have found myself faced with a dilemma, there are not a lot of playwrights workshops and exactly NONE that exclusively nurtures black writers. I can't with all honesty say that Atlanta is not a theater town because there is theater going on here. Just not a lot of my type of theater. All theater isn't inclusive. There is something to the commonality of the human species as well as uniqueness of different cultures. I could be wrong, but there are no black theater groups that have there own theaters in Atlanta. Most of the black theater I'm aware of here constantly rehash Black Classics or they are relatively new and inexperienced theater groups that specialize in church and gospel themed plays. I have to give my props to those latter groups because at least they are experimenting with actually producing NEW plays in a nurturing collaborative way. As for The Classics they are our "pride" of the past excellence of our theater art, but how much time and money is being diverted from advancing our art by producing new and exciting plays and emerging playwrights? If Classics are the majority of the "black plays" being produced in any year and any city, doesn't that prevent the "future" black classics ever from becoming future Classics because nobody is producing them too? Does that mean that black theatre as an art form becomes stagnant, almost a decadent art form because we're not actively seeking out and nurturing new blood and exciting new theater pieces by bringing them to life? The life blood of any culture is new innovative genius.

Despite my frustration as a successful playwright, I think of Atlanta as a new frontier with enormous possibilities. I believe that there are many secret playwrights and theater actors, directors, stage designers, lighting, and lovers of black theater that are looking for someplace; some collaborative meeting place of the black Art community from which to hone our distinctive form of theater and make Atlanta the next artistic center in America. I could just be a dreamer, but I've seen it happen before and had been an active part of it.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Crossroads Theatre Company Celebrates 30 Years! 6/7 (New Brunswick)

Please click image to enlarge.
Click post's title to visit Crossroads Theatre Company website.

JUNE 25: A.C.T4life Presents a Double-Headline Evening (Atlanta)

Pull out your best headshot and update that resume because A.C.T.4life is bringing it to you straight, no chaser!

Hollywood South Music & A Movie Filmmakers' Showcase returns Thursday, June 25 to ENGINE 11 Firehouse Tavern with an Atlanta All-Star evening.

First up: multi-hyphenate Actor-Writer- Producer- Director, Charles Van Eman. Van Eman will discuss his multi-tiered career path, why he has made his home in Atlanta and what it took to get "High Rise The Series" off the ground. Go to to preview the show before June 25 so you can have your questions ready for the Q & A.

You asked for it and now we got him: head writer, Steve Coulter, of Tyler Perry's "House of Payne" and "Meet the Browns." Tyler Perry's award-winning HOP is one of the most successful shows in cable history. Come hear actor/writer Coulter speak on his work behind the scenes at TP Studios, what being a head writer/executive story editor entails and what has been his road to success in the Atlanta film and television market.

And still there's more, but you'll have to come down to find out what else we have in store!

Mark your calendar: Atlanta's premiere entertainment networking event returns Thursday, June 25, 2009 to ENGINE 11 Firehouse Tavern, 30 North Avenue, Midtown Atlanta at 7:00 p.m. A $10 entry fee guarantees you access to Hollywood South's best and brightest in the film and television market (and includes a $5.00 drink ticket.) Remember: come to network, network to create ideas, create ideas to produce and produce to take to network!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Discover WritersCorps! (DC)

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Hear stories of how the written word transformed the lives of people in shelters, prisons, hospitals, inner city schools, etc.

Come to my upcoming book discussion and giveaway at 6:30 p.m. on June 16, 2009 of Days I Moved Through Ordinary Sounds: The Teachers of WritersCorps in Poetry & Prose (to the first 20 people to show up). It's at the old Carnegie Library. Not only free books - but free food, if you get there in time. I also have books for youth - the Writerscorps teen anthology Tell the World, will be given away free to young folks who attend. Several DC writers will be presenting: Kenny Carroll, Ryan Grim, Monica Hand, Livia Kent, Uchechi Kalu, Melisssa Tuckey, Greg Bargeman and of course, me. See details at the following sites: The San Francisco Arts Commission - Writerscorps: dc- june-16/. Here's the listing on Facebook: success=1&picture&eid657871695&new&m=1#/e vent.php?eid657871695. Here's the listing on Goodreads:. ht tp:// moved-through-ordinary-sounds-dc-book-launch . And here's a review of the book from the San Francisco Weekly that features me! ordinary-sounds-1418454/

Joy Jones

The State of Theatre in America: Philly

Recently, I asked for feedback regarding theatre in some American cities. Here's one encouraging response from Philadelphia, PA:


The theater scene in Philly is terrific. We have more LORT companies than any city in the country (Chicago, LA, NY excluded -- all have other kinds of contracts) and a lot of SPT's. There are about 90 companies in our Theater Alliance, and you should check out their web site for more info. Philly has a large and vibrant acting community -- virtually all equity -- and actors here buy houses, have families, live middle class lives, and have for a dozen years. Unlike many cities that have large regional theaters, Philadelphia alone among big cities has regional theaters that cast locally. There is also a strong technical community, an established playwriting community and an up-and-coming playwriting community, and decent opportunities for entering artists. There is a terrific fringe festival every fall that is competitive with any American Fringe, and I would argue better than most. (I have been to several of them.) The Fringe Festival has spawned many young companies and is also the yearly venue for both established and new experimental companies -- two of which are Obie Winners: Pig Iron Theater Company and New Paradise Laboratories. One of the nation's premiere black companies is here, Freedom Theater Company, and while they have struggled in recent years they are still producing new and classic work. InterAct Theater Company is one of the premiere new play theater companies in the nation and was among founding theaters of the National New Play Network. The Wilma Theater is a 25 year old company that does new work and European work, often edgy and exciting. The Arden has done amazing work over the years as well, and People Light, about 25 miles west of the city as well -- new plays and classics. I have been the Literary Manager and Dramaturg in house at InterAct Theater Company (1998-2005) and freelance since then. I have worked as a dramaturg at PlayPenn (2005-2009), at Seven Devils in Idaho (it is possible to have a national career from Philly) and at the Lark this past fall. A new company I have gotten involved with this spring is taking a show to Edinburgh this summer and has commissioned a new musical from two amazing young artists. As a playwright, I have had my work produced in world premieres here by InterAct and Theater Catalyst, and I have been commissioned to work from here on pieces for other companies and institutions. I hope I am communicating my basic exuberance for the scene here to you. There are glitches and bad seasons, but over all over the past 15 years, way more positive than negative.

Larry Loebell
Playwright and Dramaturg

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Career Voice-over and Demo Development Intensive Master Class with Jean Barrett (Atlanta)

This professional career development intensive is for entertainment professionals who are looking to develop their skills and/or transition from the stage or camera to being a working, professional voice-over artist. The Career Voice-over and Demo Development Intensive Master Class will be directed by Jean Barrett, who has worked as a professional voice talent since the mid-nineties on acclaimed national and international advertising campaigns for Ford Motors, Coca-Cola, Mountain Valley Spring Water and CNN, just to name a few. Barrett started her career as a stage actress and singer after majoring in theater at Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh. She is known for being able to bring a script to life with warmth, believability and subtlety in one or two takes.

The Career Voice-over and Demo Development Intensive is a four (4) sessions long master class that will be held in-studio to prepare students for the world of voice-over recording. Students will be apprised of the various forms of voice-over (i.e., announcer, narrator, soft-sell, conversational, etc.), instructed on auditioning techniques, professional recording etiquette, setting up a home studio and the technical aspects of audio equipment and how to build a career as a professional voice-over artist. Each student will also record professional- quality reads, solo and with a partner, that can be used for the start of a demo reel or in addition to a current reel. This master class will be limited to 12 students in order to provide the tutelage needed to cover the above-mentioned areas. If you are ready to acquire the skills to become a go-to, working, voice-over talent then this is the class for you!

WHEN: 6:30-9:30 p.m. (Wednesdays, July 15, 22, 29 and August 5)
WHERE: Captive Sound Studios, 1442 Tullie Road, N.E., Atlanta, GA 30329
FEE: $400.00 ($200 down to reserve your seat)

For more information on how to enroll in the class, please contact or call (404) 627-6690

CANCELLATION POLICY: Please be aware that A.C.T.4life offers full refunds for classes (minus a $25 administrative fee) up to one (1) week (12:00 pm) prior to first day of the class session. Cancellation anytime during the week prior to start of class will credit full amount to another session or class. *All returned checks will incur a $39.00 return check fee.

Please click post's title to visit Ms. Barrett's website.

Source: Roman James, A.C.T. 4life

Friday, May 22, 2009


Dear Jaz,
I hold no ill will towards Tarell Alvin McCraney, this is a young upcoming multiple award winning playwright, but I do take exception to when he was confronted about the historical inaccuracies of his work, which embraces that which is closest to my spiritual discourse, he claimed that he received the misinformation from a priest who he refuse to name. It is my opinion, that as African American playwrights in this Eurocentric paradigm, we have an obligation to at least maintain the integrity of characters that are representative of our African Spiritual Traditions. We as a writing community can't afford to take artistic license with our ancestral spiritualities because most of our audiences are unaware of their true essence and dynamics. And this misrepresentation of the Orisa of the Yoruba Pantheon, is exactly what happened to the Vodun as it was presented in the Broadway production of Voodoo Macbeth adapted by Orson Wells during the Depression which led to many misconceptions about Vodun and Zombies. Subsequently a little bit of knowledge becomes a dangerous thing.

Technically the play "The Brothers Size", was well written and brilliantly executed. Yet it left a very bitter taste in my mouth. Three other Yoruba Priests, and I, being the fourth, approached the playwright during the Q&A after the production and expressed our concerns and offered to provide him accurate historical accounts of the deities he chose to represent in his contemporary version. The accolades of the European presenters and audience, apparently caused him to be made deaf to the voices of those who know.

So my question is: "Should we hold the playwright responsible for historical accuracy?"

David Wright

This is a response from Michael Bradford, The University of Connecticut:

Hey Jaz,
I wanted to respond to the question put forth concerning Historical Accuracy. I am a true believer that it is ultimately the audience who gives the play immortality. The audience, at the end of the day, decides whether the artistic work has any merit, has any weight in their lives, has any importance in the world of ideas, has any capacity to make them "feel."

When is the artist's work ever about replicating reality? Even the photographer seeks to place a certain "artistic" perspective on the subject at hand. In my opinion the artist's work has always been about searching for a particular truth, and as Pirandello tells us in "Six Characters in Search of an Author," "facts are like an empty sack that must be filled up and given shape by truth."

I am sure that we are all well aware that governments, through time immemorial, have drowned the public under an avalanche of facts, all in the attempt to bypass the truth because the facts and the truth are two different animals.

And is not theatre itself a beautiful lie we tell in order to get to a particular truth?

So this brings me to the question that I am sure many will want to castigate me for, and that is who of us was there when the "historical moment" happened so that we can speak to the actual truth of it? Who of us was there when the world was formed and the God or the gods first began to make their presence known in the lives of humankind so that today we can speak to the actual truth of it?

Maybe it is best that historical societies write their own plays that speak to their own truths and religious societies write their own plays so that they can speak to their own truths. Harken back to the days of Liturgical and Morality and the Cycle plays of the Roman Catholic Church, only in this contemporary setting, close your doors so that your truths cannot be corrupted.

But for the secular world of ideas, for the secular world of theatre, where we purposely tell beautiful lies in order to approach a truth that is beyond the history book and the religious text (if that is possible) let the audience say if such a truth has been approached or not.

Without any disrespect to the true believers of all faiths, congratulations to Mr. McCraney for approaching his particular truth. It appears a good many (see below) have agreed with him.

All the best,


Tarell Alvin McCraney, a rising star in the theatrical world, has added yet another accolade to his growing list of awards and honors: the first ever New York Times Outstanding Playwright Award, a prize honoring an American playwright with a recent professional theater debut in New York City. The award was given for The Brothers Size, which was seen at The Public Theater and is currently being presented at McCarter Theatre as part of McCraney’s groundbreaking trilogy The Brother/Sister Plays.

In a statement, chair of the award selection committee chair Sylviane Gold said: “The committee was impressed by the sheer poetry of the language and the play’s vibrant blend of richly specific contemporary characters with archetypes drawn from West African myth.”

In addition to Gold, the selection committee included Tony Award-winning playwrights Edward Albee, Richard Greenberg, and James Lapine; Pulitzer Prize winner Lynn Nottage; and The New York Times cultural news editor Sam Sifton, theater editor Katherine E. Bouton, and Arts & Leisure theater editor Andrea Stevens.

Tarell Alvin McCraney stated of the award: “It is an honor to be the first recipient of The Times Outstanding Playwright Award. This prize makes me smile with my heart, and bends my mind towards the Most High.”

McCraney will receive the award at a ceremony on May 27 at The New York Times Building in Manhattan.

A May 2007 graduate of Yale School of Drama, 29-year-old Tarell Alvin McCraney is a playwright whose exquisite and groundbreaking work has put his career on an extraordinary trajectory. Already, productions of his plays have been mounted in New York, London, D.C., Atlanta, Seattle, Dublin, Barcelona, and New Orleans, as well as at McCarter’s IN-Festival of New Works. In addition to The Brother/Sister Plays, his other plays include the Hurricane Katrina-themed The Breach and the drag house drama Wig Out!, which recently completed a highly successful run at New York’s Vineyard Theatre. A Princeton University Hodder Fellow, McCraney has been honored with the Paula Vogel Playwriting Award, the Whiting Writing Award, and London’s prestigious Evening Standard Award, and he was recently named the International Writer in Residence for the Royal 20 Shakespeare Company.

The Brother/Sister Plays premiered at McCarter Theatre Center on April 24, 2009, as the final show of the theater’s 2008-2009 Season. Part 1 of the trilogy, In the Red and Brown Water, is directed by Tina Landau; Part 2, comprised of The Brothers Size and Marcus; or The Secret of Sweet, is directed by Robert O’Hara. Both parts can be seen on the McCarter stage from now until June 21, after which they will travel to The Public Theater for an off-Broadway run.

For tickets to The Brother/Sister Plays, call (609) 258-2787, visit, or visit the McCarter Ticket Office at 91 University Place, Princeton.

To Kindle or Not to Kindle...

Click Image to Enlarge.

For a playwright, that is the question. At this point, the cost of the Kindle ($359.00) means there won't be enough to go around even for a small play with few characters-- much less one like mine. Once Upon A Time In Harlem is a big sprawling three-act cast heavy period drama (or "dancical" as Jaz Dorsey, founder of the African American Playwrights Exchange, likes to refer to it since it is NOT a musical) and just to outfit the main characters with a Kindle would bankrupt most productions.


AAPEX has always encouraged playwrights to be pro-active in their careers. Getting your play "Kindlesized" is one way of doing that. Why? Because it puts it "out there" in one more iteration and the more you got, the better your chances are at getting discovered.

But who's going to read it?

The cognoscenti with a jones for the digital. Like the brother in the picture above. With luck, one of them might be a Broadway producer or director needing something to read on the subway. He or she looks up a list of Kindle books on theatre and discovers...your play. At this point there aren't many but yours is there. And it only costs $1.60 at for an instant download*. Such a deal! By the time the person who can change your life steps off the train, he or she has read enough to want to buy the rights.

Or something like that.

In any event, if you have the time, it's worth the effort. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain since the only cost to Kindlesizing your play is time. Reformatting is a bitch but it will become easier-- there is talk that PDF files will soon be accepted.

And there is competition. A Canadian company is introducing its own take on the ebook.'s reformatting is extremely easy to do compared to Kindle. It needs your work in text format. If your play is in Word, do a "Save As" in .txt and it's basically done. Both company models include color covers for listing on the Net. What sets ShortCovers apart from Kindle is that its ebooks are able to be read on most mobile devices like cell phones and are not restricted to one digital platform like Kindle. Also, it supports downloading shorter content such as chapters, articles, blog entries, etc. Of, course, Kindle's got going for it and all those eyeballs searching for something to read. But, as Bob Dylan once said, "times they are a changin'."

That means reaching that hip, connected producer, director, or literary agent just go a whole lot easier.

DC Copeland

*For the "Radio Play," a shortened reading version.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Call for Plays

Here's another example of independent filmmakers looking for scripts with limited locations. In most instances, that means they're probably looking for something you've written for the stage. This "heads-up" is free and comes once a week as an email via provided you're registered. You can visit the InkTip website by clicking the post's title.

Rock On! Films Inc - Continuous Single-Location
We are looking for completed feature-length scripts that take place in just one location that can be shot in real time. What this means is we’re looking for screenplays that are more like stage plays adapted for the screen that we can rehearse the script and then just roll cameras through the story - i.e. something in the vein of “Glenngary Glen Ross” or “American Buffalo.”

Budget will not exceed $250K. Only non-WGA writers should submit.

Our credits include "High Hopes" and "Champion."

To submit to this lead, please go to:

Enter your email address.

Copy/Paste this code: 1b5efu0txs

NOTE: Please only submit your work if it fits what the lead is looking for exactly. If you aren’t sure if your script fits, please ask InkTip first.

Dennis McIntyre's SPLIT SECOND 6/12 (Nashville)

Click Image to Enlarge.
Click post's title to visit Collards and Caviar's website.

Jamal Williams' EULOGY FOR THE BLACKMAN opens 5/29 (Harlem)

Click Image to Enlarge.

Call for AA Writers (Brooklyn)

Writers wanted! (Brooklyn)

We are building an in-house writing team (African American) to create our own plays. Tyler Perry look out! The plays will be showcased at the Actors' Playhouse. Please reply to this email.
Location: Brooklyn
It's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests
Compensation: Will be discussed with Owner/Director

Source: Craig's List

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Call for Plays

Actors Theatre of Louisville and Miami's City Theatre have joined forces to co-sponsor the National Ten-Minute Play Contest. Each playwright may submit only one script. No scripts will be returned—save postage. No SASE required. Entries will be acknowledged by postcard in January and all playwrights will be notified when or before the winner is announced in the fall. Each script must be no more than ten pages long. Previously submitted plays, plays that have received an Equity production, musicals, children's shows, and any unsolicited longer one-act or full-length plays are not accepted and will be returned. Plays that have received Equity waver showcase productions are eligible. Each manuscript must be typed and individually bound or stapled. Title page must include name, address and phone number. Please include an e-mail address if possible. No electronic submissions. All ten-minute plays will be considered for the Heideman Award ($1000), the Humana festival of New American Plays, City Theatre’s Summer Shorts Festival and the Short Cuts Tour. Plays that meet the following criteria will also be considered for the annual Actors Theatre Apprentice Showcase: age range 18-28; minimal sets, minimal props, minimal costume requirements. Playwrights must be citizens or permanent residents of the USA.

Submission postmark by 11/01.

Send submissions to:
Actors Theatre of Louisville
316 West Main Street
Louisville, KY 40202-4218

For more info about City Theatre’s Summer Shorts Festival and Short Cuts tour, please call 305/755-9401 or visit

Source: TRU

Call for Plays

Ensemble Studio Theatre (EST) is now accepting submissions for the Going to the River Festival 2009. Going to the River (GTTR) was founded to produce and support African-American female playwrights by providing a major New York City forum in which to develop, refine, and present their work.
• Ten-minute plays by female playwrights of color;
• Limit of two plays;
• Estimated running time of no more than ten minutes;
• Plays must address one or more of the Seven Deadly Sins (lust, gluttony, sloth, wrath, envy, pride, greed);
• Please be mindful of cast size.

The submission deadline is 6/1 at 5:00pm EDT.

Ten plays will be selected and produced on EST’s main stage in September 2009. Only e-mail submissions addressed to will be considered. To be considered submissions should be in the form of one Microsoft Word document and organized as follows:
• Page 1 cover page to include: the title page, estimated running time, the playwright’s name, address, city, zip code, phone numbers;
• Page 2 a biography of the playwright;
• Page 3 Character Breakdown;
• Page 4 Begin the body of the play.

No phone calls. Address inquiries to

To visit the Ensemble Studio Theatre website, please click the post's title.

Source: TRU

Call for Plays


Producer/Director Jackie Alexander is seeking script submissions by African-American playwrights for production in the winter/spring 2010. Works can focus on any topic, but should require a cast of no more than eight. Playwrights will be compensated if their work is selected for production. To be considered, email the following information:

• Subject line containing the phrase 2010 SUBMISSION, the PLAY’S TITLE, and PLAYWRIGHT’S NAME;
• Character breakdown;
• Synopsis of play;
• Page count/Estimated running time;
• History of the piece; productions, workshops, readings, etc.;
• Brief bio of the playwright.Please type or paste all information into the body of your message; no attachments will be opened.

Submission deadline is 6/1.

If interested, a complete script will be requested at a later date.

To visit Jackie Alexander Productions website, please click the post's title.

Source: TRU

Alonza Knowles' YOUNG PUGILIST 5/21-24th (NYC)

Click Image to Enlarge.

You're invited to the premiere of the "Young Pugilist", an autobiographical play by ex-professional heavyweight boxer Alonza Knowles and starring James Gary Jr. an ex running back for the Seattle Seahawks. The play opens tomorrow 8pm at The Shooting Star Theatre, 40 Peck Slip, 3rd Floor (direction below). This production is brought to you by Struglife Productions and Montauk Theatre Productions.

Young Pugilist takes us on a tour of the life of Warren, a professional boxer who, after two consecutive losses, abandons the ring and its spotlight for the sanctity and tranquility of the Church. But soon after, he realizes that he will not be able to keep quiet the demons and passion he developed for the sport. His younger brother Robert becomes the conduit through which Warren opts to continue chasing after his unrealized dreams. Directed by Theirry Saintine.

Mr. Knowles made several TV appearances such as the Donahue Show with Mohammad Ali, Joe Frazier, Ken Norton, and Larry Holmes. He made his professional debut on E.S.P.N. During his boxing career he has fought two World Champions, Riddick Bowe in his first amateur bout and Inamu Mayfield in his last professional bout. He also fought the French Champion Youssef Debah and Norwegian Champion Arve Breidal.

For tickets and reservation please call (646)323-4078

Directions to the Shooting Star: Shooting Star Theatre is at 40 Peck Slip (between Front and South Sts), on the South side of Peck Slip, 3rd Floor. Take the 2, 3, 4, or 5 to Fulton Street, or A or C to Broadway/Nassau. Walk East on Fulton (towards the South Street Seaport). Turn left on to Pearl Street, walk two (2) blocks (Beekman and then Peck Slip). Turn right on to Peck Slip.

To visit the Shooting Star Theatre website, please click post's title.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Call for Plays

Call For Submission for New Plays (East Village)
Reply to:

The Movement Theatre Company (TMTC) is looking for submissions for its fall 2009 Elevator Reading Series located in NYC. The Elevator Reading Series is designed to nurture playwrights interested in creating new representations of artists of color in the arts and the media. By paring a playwright with a director and actors, TMTC aims to forge the dialogue between playwright and director to continue the development of new work.

We are looking for submissions from playwrights from all backgrounds and ethnicities, whose work continues to explore themes of race, class, culture, identity, politics, family, in this ever changing and diverse world. We are looking for non-published one-acts, full length plays and short plays.

Submission deadline is June 14, 2009.

To submit a piece, please email a copy of the play, artist's resume, and application (found on our website) to, subject titled: ELEVATOR 2009. For more information about TMTC, our mission and the 2009 Elevator Reading Series Application please visit our website by clicking the post's title.

Source: Craig's List

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Call for Plays

Seeking Monologues and Dialogues (van nuys)
Reply to:

I am looking for a writer to provide me with monologues and dialogues. These are scenes similar to audition material. I must have permission to create youtube videos with these dialoges/monologes. The pay is not much, I am working with a small budget. This is for you if your interested in getting your material out there.
Location: van nuys
it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests
Compensation: no pay

Source: Craig's List

Call for Plays

Reply to:

I am an independent producer looking for single location scripts that can be shot on a low budget. (Outer space is not a single location) I am open to plays that can be adapted to the screen. Please email only a short synopsis as craigslist replies tend to come by the thousands. Those with stories that seem appealing will get a response. I know everyone's biggest pet peeve is blind posts, so I have placed my IMDB link below so you know I'm legitamite. This will be done on a low budget. Pay TBD.
it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests
Compensation: TBD

Source: Craig's List

Petronia Paley's I THE ACTOR SHOWCASE 5/31 (NYC)

I the Actor Showcase
Petronia Paley Invites You

I the Actor
Empowering Your Creativity


Ripley-Grier Studios
520 Eighth Ave. (Bet. 36th & 37th)
Studio 16U

Sunday May 31st 2009 Time: 3:30

The Actors

Gilbert Glenn Brown
Tyrone Davis
Hope Harley
Alice Garcia
Beverley Prentice
Karina Fernandez
Amanda Mobley
Segun Akande
Norman Small
Althea Vyhuis


Pax and Power,
Click post's title to visit website.

Tyler Perry's new 34th Street Films has purchased its first property

Tyler Perry's new 34th Street Films has purchased its first property - an as-yet-untitled feature pitch from the writing team of Jennifer Heath and Michele J. Wolff ("Ella Enchanted"). The storyline is being kept under wraps, according to Variety. But the shingle's president Ozzie Areu described it as "the ideal launch for our company, speaking to a mainstream audience while appealing to the sentiment of Tyler's loyal demographic." Perry formed 34th Street Films last fall to produce projects under his banner but written and directed by outside talent. Matt Moore will head the division and serve as Executive Vice President Production and Development, Poppy Hanks as Vice President Production, and Amber Rasberry as Creative Executive. Tyler Perry Studios renewed their first look deal for three more years with Lionsgate last July.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Call for Plays

The nonprofit organization Women in Theatre, located in Los Angeles, is seeking new plays for our series of monthly staged play readings. We welcome male and female playwrights' submissions.

The Monthly Writers Reading Series- FREE for everyone – The last Sunday of every month. Refreshments are provided. Casting is preferred to WIT members, non-members may be cast as needed. Scripts are picked ahead of time, some evenings monologues and scenes are also welcome. Non-Members are welcome to attend two events before joining.

If you are interested, please send a cover email plus the first 20 pages of your play to Julia, the coproducer, at

Please click post's title to visit Women in Theatre website.

Source: The Loop

Call for Plays


Deadline: 9-30-09 (Postmarked by)

Winning Playwright receives $500 and a 2010 Workshop Presentation of her script by Echo Theatre in Dallas, Texas. Winner and Honorees notified by FEBRUARY 27, 2010 Selected Finalists will be featured in our Echo Reads… staged reading series in 2010.

Playwright must be female. * Entry must be in English and unpublished at the time of submission. * Submission should be a full length, completed script only; no queries please. * There are no restrictions on cast size or production requirements. * No musicals or children’s shows.

Please include a cover letter with playwright’s bio, production history and contact information. No fee is required.

BLIND EVALUATION PROCESS: Author's name should not appear on title page or on any interior pages of the script. Please submit either one (1) paper copy of script or a digital file.

MAILED ENTRIES MUST BE POSTMARKED BY CONTEST DEADLINE: SEPTEMBER 30, 2009. Submit Via U.S. MAIL to: Echo Theatre’s BIG SHOUT OUT! PO Box 670849 Dallas, Texas 75367 Note: Mailed scripts cannot be returned. Include S.A.S.E. for confirmation of script receipt if desired.


Click post's title to visit Echo Theatre website.

Source: The Loop

Thursday, May 14, 2009

PJ Gibson's "Diana Sands Project" Reading 5/20 (Harlem)

Diana Sands

By PJ Gibson
Directed by Reggie Life
The Schomburg Center
515 Malcolm X Boulevard at 135th Street
(2 or 3 train to 135th St.)


When the American actress Diana Sands died in 1973, she left behind a remarkable body of work that spanned stage, screen and television. Ms. Sands played Benethea opposite Sidney Portier in the seminal film A Raisin in the Sun and appeared in groundbreaking TV shows such as I Spy and Julia.

As a stage actress she was an original member of the acting company at Lincoln Center, and she broke the then very powerful color barrier in live theatre, playing roles such as Joan of Arc and appearing opposite Alan Alda in The Owl and the Pussycat on Broadway in 1964. Simply put, she achieved a transformational career in the history of American acting. Yet few people today know her real story, perhaps because she was a figure 20 years ahead of her time, living and working well before the terms “color blind” and “non-traditional” casting became common parlance in the theatre industry. Noted author P.J. Gibson (Daughters of the Moon)has been commissioned by CTH to bring this story to the stage. This is the first dramatic treatment of Ms Sands’s life and work, and it is being created with the participation of Ms. Kathryn Leary, her first cousin and head of The Diana Sands Project, an organization dedicated to keeping her memory alive.

P.J. Gibson (playwright) has written over thirty plays, including Long Time Since Yesterday,which had had upwards of sixty productions. Her other works have been presented throughout the United States, Europe and Africa. A published writer, Ms. Gibson also has numerous poems and short stories to her credit. She has been the recipient of many honors including the Bushfire Theatre of Performing Arts Seventh Annual "Walk of Fame" where her signature and hand print are imprinted in their Sidewalk of Fame, a Shubert Fellowship, a playwriting grant from the National Endowment forthe Arts, two prestigious Audelco Awards, two PSC-CUNY Research Award grants and six playwriting commissions. She has been an Artist in Residence at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She holds a proclamation from the city of Trenton, New Jersey and a Key to the City from Indianapolis, Indiana.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Call for Screenplays

Minority Screenwriters Needed For A Project in Chicago (Chicago, IL )

Reply to:
Date: 2009-05-10, 5:22PM CDT

A Chicago based Film/TV Production CO is seeking experienced screenwriters for several projects that we have slated for 2009. If interested in learning more of these opportunities then please respond back with your name and contact information and an associate producer will return your call within 24-72 HRS.

Source: Craig's List

Call For Plays

Deadline: 05-15-09 (Submit by)
Material: Full-Length Plays for Florida Playwrights ONLY

STAGEWORKS Theatre is now accepting submissions of original, previously un-produced and unpublished full-length plays for consideration for a STAGED READING during our 2009 – 2010 Season. Preference is given to plays that encourage multi-racial casting. Three (3) plays will be selected. Playwrights will receive, if their play is chosen, a staged reading with the assistance of a dramaturg.

GUIDELINES: (One Submission per playwright, please)
1. Previously unproduced and unpublished original work (no adaptations)
2. Comedies & Dramas
3. Minimal Set/Tech
4. Cast: maximum: 6-8
SUBMISSION FEE: Waived: paid by Anonymous donor
AWARDS: A Staged Reading at the TBPAC’s Shimberg Playhouse & a Dramaturg assigned from the Playwrights Center, Minneapolis, or Chicago Dramatists

NOTIFICATION: June 15, 2009
120 Adriatic Avenue
Tampa, FL 33606
tel : 813-251-8984

To visit STAGEWORKS website, please click the post's title.

Source: The Loop

Ed Bullins' FOR YOUR LOVE...SUCKER! Miami Herald review (5/13)

The cast includes, clockwise from top, Larry Robinson,
Stacey Morrison, André L. Gainey and Janet ‘Toni' Mason.

Prolific playwright Ed Bullins has had a singular artistic journey, from serving as minister of culture for the Black Panther Party in the 1960s to becoming a professor and distinguished artist in residence at Boston's Northeastern University.

Bullins also had an ambitious idea that August Wilson later embraced in his own way: He wanted to write a series of 20 plays, dubbed the ''Twentieth-Century Cycle,'' about the ways black Americans live their lives.

Wilson completed his own 10-play cycle before his death; the Obie Award-winning Bullins is still writing but has never drawn the widespread attention (not to mention Pulitzer Prizes and Broadway productions) that Wilson did, no doubt because he isn't the writer Wilson was.

Still, companies like Miami's African American Performing Arts Community Theatre (AAPACT) continue to find contemporary resonance in Bullins' vintage plays. The company has already produced his best-known work, The Taking of Miss Janie, and now it is taking a walk on the wild side with the playwright's For Your Love . . . Sucker!.

For Your Love has almost nothing to do with black politics, other than the sporadic pronouncements of a boldly drawn character called Count (Larry Robinson), the ganja-smoking ''landlord'' who oversees a quartet of illegal studio apartments carved from a larger building somewhere in the San Francisco Bay area.

The real subject of For Your Love, with its '80s references to then-emerging AIDS and that faddish dance known as the lambada, is sex. Crazy sex, obsessive sex, jealous sex: Bullins explores the passions that fuel fulfilling and foolish behavior.

His focal character is Arthur (André L. Gainey), a struggling freelance writer and novelist involved in a hot 'n' heavy romance with Renee (Janet ''Toni'' Mason), a San Francisco businesswoman. We learn, during breaks from the couple's torrid romps on Arthur's futon, that it took awhile for Renee to break off with her ex and give herself to Arthur. And it is also clear that Arthur's intrusive ex Lydia (Stacey Morrison) is far from being over him.
The play seems to speak to the AAPACT company's audience. Theatergoers hoot, react, talk back to the trouble-making Lydia and to sex-crazed Renee after she has a predictable lapse when Arthur jets off to a writers' conference in Texas. For Your Love is a little like a Tyler Perry play without the moralizing and the more deftly crafted laughs.

Truth be told, For Your Love -- the play and this production -- is something of a mess. Monologues interspersed with multicharacter scenes don't illuminate the speaker's character; instead, they reel off plot developments and simply cement scenes together. Characters behave in ways that seem extreme or incomprehensible, as when Renee -- who feels guilty but ostensibly loves Arthur -- dismisses his ability as a novelist.

The acting is decent, if often inaudible (except for Robinson, who projects so well that his fellow actors seem to be whispering), but director Teddy Harrell Jr. does nothing to counteract the script's messiness by keeping the libidinous action rolling along. Over and over, in fact, For Your Love screeches to a dead halt. But that final screech doesn't come soon enough.

Christine Dolen
Miami Herald theater critic.

To visit the AAPACT web site, please click the post's title.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Crossroads Theatre Company Celebrates 30th Anniversary 6/7 (New Brunswick)

Please click image to enlarge.

To visit their website, please click the post's title.

Fernando Manon's STRAMA BABY 5/22 (NYC)

Please click image to enlarge.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Reginald Edmund's SOUTHBRIDGE 5/20-23 (Athens, OH)

The 2009 Ohio University Seabury Quinn, Jr., Playwrights Festival
proudly premieres Reginald Edmund's
May 20-23, 2009

Ohio University, one of the nation's pre-eminent playwriting programs, proudly announces the opening of Reginald Edmund's Southbridge, directed by Vanessa Mercado Taylor, May 13-16 and 20-23. Named national runner-up for the Lorraine Hansberry and the Rosa Parks Playwriting Awards, Southbridge, is the true story of an almost unknown incident that occured in the small town of Athens, Ohio. In 1881, a widowed white woman is assualted, an angry mob screaming for blood outside the jail house door. The only way to untangle the truth about events is for the accused, Christopher C. Davis to look into the events that lead him to a tree stump in Athens, Ohio in the year 1881.

Starring: Tyler Rollinson (Christopher Davis), Clara Jackson (Nadia), Georgia Mallory Guy (Lucinda Luckey), Eric Lynch (Edwin Berry) Adam Meredith (Sheriff Warden).

This production is funded in part by the Lorraine Hansberry Playwriting Award, supported by the Kennedy Center Education Department.

PLAYWRIGHT'S BIO: REGINALD EDMUND (Playwright) authored Redemption of Allah Black, Juneteenth Street, The Ordained Smile of Saint Sadie May Jenkins, Picnics, Southpark: A City of The Bayou Story, and A Love Story. An MFA at Ohio University, Reginald Edmund-- the chosen Prince of Houston Urban Theatre, the Prophet of Southern Fried Culture-- is quickly rising as an emerging new voice for the American Theater. To find out more check out

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Red Harlem Readers

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

New Professional Theatre's KEITH JOSEF ADKINS Interview

An interview with playwright Keith Josef Adkins
By Mark Dundas Wood
NPT Literary Manager
Keith Josef Adkins, author of Safe House, the first play featured in New Professional Theatre's 2009 Writers Festival, was originally commissioned by the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta. Relating the story of a family of "free People of Color" living in Kentucky in 1843, the play is based on the lives of some of Adkins' real-life ancestors.
Becoming a playwright was a serpentine journey for Adkins. He started out as a communications major at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. When he wrote a news story and added some stuff that wasn't necessarily true, he was nudged into creative writing and he soon became interested in acting, as well. After graduation, he moved to New York City, where he found work acting incommercials, industrials, and independent films. But he subsequently went through an anti-capitalist phase that took him away from commercial acting. "I refused to wear deodorant, because it was man-made," he adds, with a laugh.
Like a latter-day Flower Child, he headed west to San Francisco and eventually to Oakland where he taught fourth-graders. In the classroom Adkins had his students reenact the stories they read. He also formed his own writing group for adults. Although he was initially interested primarily in fiction and poetry, a fellow writer noticed his penchant for monologues and suggested that he turn to drama. After some success in the genre, he eventually studied playwriting at the Universityof Iowa, which is where we pick up his story:
Mark Dundas Wood (MDW): I know you told me that in Iowa there was the largest per capita number of writers anywhere in the country. What was that like being in Iowa, as a student and a writer?
Keith Josef Adkins (KJA): At first it was very difficult for me because, even though I was raised to pursue this, I had come out of Oakland and Berkeley, and had become this really hyper-socially- conscious guy. And so when I came to Iowa, it was like culture shock. The people were cool, and all that. But it was just very white. So I kind of kept myself alienated for maybe a whole year. I just came to class and really didn't talk to people. Finally when I started warming up a little bit, I realized that they were just like me, and I was able to enjoy Iowa more. I loved the land. It was kind of barren with the cornfields. And the sky was really big. That gave me a sort of comfort, and a pace that let me sit down and write and be creative. It was like the ideal place. It was cloudy a lot, and it was kind of gray. So you always wanted to be warm- and drinking something warm.
MDW: You worked a while for the TV series Girlfriends, and I'm wondering what effect that had on the way you work as a playwright.
KJA: Before I started with Girlfriends, and I was here in New York again after gradschool, I understood that I wanted to write a particular story. But I wasn't that confident about why I wanted to tell the story. I wasn't at a place where I was confident about why I was even a writer, to be honest with you. I could tell you that that's what I did, and that I loved it. But I didn't really know why it was important for me to express myself through writing. So when I got to Girlfriends, I realized that [writing for television] was not a creative atmosphere. First and foremost it was a business. I also realized that it was a collaborative effort, where everyone is feeding another person's vision. It's not your vision; it's not your ideas. I was no longer using all my creativity. I was giving my creativity to someone else, so that made my own creativity in a way speak louder. It was banging in my head: "Hey, I wanna talk, I wanna talk." It forced me to be really clear about what it was I was doing, why I was writing, and what I was writing about.
MDW: And did you discover, then, why you were writing?
KJA: It became clear to me that I was committed to stories that were about independence and individuality among a group of people, particularly black people.
MDW: Are you the kind of writer who spends some time developing an idea in your head about a play you're going to work on? Or do you just set to work and see where the writing takes you?
KJA: I think I used to be the latter. I would just start writing because I had a feeling and discover what it was maybe a year later. But now I'm a lot more specific going in. I don't want to waste any time playing around. I want to be very clear and contained.
MDW: Let's talk a little bit about Safe House. I know you were commissioned to write it. But where did the germ of the idea come from? I know it had partly to do with your own family history. But why did you decide to write this particular play at that particular time?
KJA: The Alliance Theatre, when they commissioned me, said I could write anything Iwanted, but to keep in mind their audience. I thought about the other plays that I had in my "canon" and all the other kinds of plays I see produced, and I decided I would either write a musical or a historical piece. I made a choice, pretty quickly, that I was going to write a historical piece that was going to be my family's story. The information I'd found out about the free People of Color in Kentucky, I'd never seen that on stage before. I knew that that was it. This was pre-Obama. I wanted to tell a story about two brothers, one who is very interested in investing in social progress, and the other one who is more interested in individuality, and how the two would crash in this world. I always feel that in plays where the characters are slaves, there's limitation as to how they view the world and what they can talk about. To me it feels sometimes like a jail, they can't really speak. So for me the fact that these people are free People of Color means they have a lot more access, and there's a lot more opportunity to explore their view of the world, their romance, their humanity.
MDW: I know these characters are based on people in your own family. What did you discover about your ancestors when you began researching the play?
KJA: They were free People of Color, they were not enslaved while living in Kentucky.They had been in Kentucky when it was still part of Virginia-Kentucky County,Virginia, which I thought was amazing. I realized they probably came over at the same time as Daniel Boone, when Kentucky was wilderness and the western frontier. So that was fascinating to me. I also discovered that, in the line of the family that I'm descended from, they were shoemakers. And there was guy in particular, Leander Ayers, he was free born. I guess he had come from Maryland, probably right before the War of 1812. All of his sons also learned the trade. They were making shoes for the white community. When you're a free Person of Color, obviously you're not serving the black community because most of the black community is enslaved, so you have to survive by finding a trade that is something that people have to have. So it's either cutting hair or making shoes.
MDW: What was it like looking in the records and finding these people who were your ancestors and learning about them? Did you see yourself and other family members in them?
KJA: That's a very good question. They were artisans, and most of them were Methodists, African Methodist Episcopal. I wasn't surprised that I had come from this because I've always been encouraged to think bigger than what everyone around me was encouraged to think. I was always asked to think, to step forward and not worry about what the other person is doing or saying or wearing, to always look ahead. For example, my mother and my grandmother would not allow us to say the -N- word in the house. When I look back at it now, that was pretty radical, because a lot of kids in my neighborhood would say it all the time, as a term of endearment or however you want to look at it. But my mother and her family, they never said it. It wasn't like they were trying not to say it. It just wasn't part of how they lived and how they thought about themselves. So when it did creep into the house, it was almost like, "You have brought in a foreign disease." You know what I mean? So looking through those records and seeing how much those people had and how they were able to maintain this certain status for centuries, for some reason it kind of connected to me- My ancestors were black people, but they were not part of the larger black community. They were always kind of separate.
MDW: You said you were always looking ahead. What's next for you? What projects are you working on and what do you have upcoming?
KJA: I'm actually working on a commission for the Public Theater, a piece called The Dangerous. It's about an aging minister who lives isolated from the black community although black. [Laughs.] His son is a middle-aged professor who is his caretaker, and in a way almost his servant. They get a knock on the door from this teenage boy who claims to know them both. He comes to their world and basically turns it upside down.
MDW: Those plays where outsiders come in are always interesting, when they come into an established setting and disrupt the status quo. They're always interesting to watch. They must be interesting to write, as well.
KJA: Even Safe House has that, because Roxie [a character in the play who is a runaway slave] is kind of like that. But yeah, I love it. I love turning it upsidedown. I like challenging in a play what is supposed to be institutional or "normal."
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Source: The Black Theatre Digest