Greene Space to Present Sekou Sundiata's THE 51ST (DREAM) STATE, 10/10
In the shadow of 9/11, the late New York poet, playwright, songwriter and educator SEKOU SUNDIATA spent three years traveling through the U.S. gathering perspectives from ordinary Americans to create what would be his last theater work, "the 51st (dream) state." He sought to understand how he and others felt about being American during a time of terrorism and war and what future we could imagine and make possible.
On Thursday, October 10 at 7pm, The Greene Space will present Mapp International Productions' revival of "the 51st (dream state)," the first re-staging of Sundiata's final work in New York since its premiere at BAM in 2006. This special production will feature the original cast of singers and musicians, with singerLaTanya Hall in Sundiata's role as poet/narrator. Staged at The Jerome L. Greene Performance Space at WNYC and WQXR in SoHo, this one-night revival will transform this expansive, illuminating work into an intimate performance piece to be recorded for future audiences. ARTHUR YORINKS, the acclaimed director and writer who is currently the audio director for The Greene Space's August Wilson American Century Cycle recording series, will direct. The evening will be hosted by WNYC host John Schaefer as part of the citywide retrospective Blink Your Eyes: Sekou Sundiata Revisited.
Tickets and a live video webcast are available at www.thegreenespace.org. The evening's performance will also be recorded for on-demand video and audio streaming.
"The 51st dream state asks the big questions: What does "pursuit of happiness" mean in a society that places so much emphasis on tangible outcomes? Given the multilingual reality of daily life in the U.S, what is the American language? Can the old, central myths about such things as beauty, power, and destiny sustain the nation? What does a public imagination steeped in violence say about us? What are the prospects for love, compassion and human solidarity? What kind of God do Americans imagine? What kind of God do we need?
Voices of everyday Americans are interwoven with audio of philosophers engaged vigorously in questions of democracy: CORNEL WEST, who poses fierce buT Loving questions, and JACOB NEEDLEMAN, who offers balance and hope.
"As a work of theater and music that was created by a native New York artist in the aftermath of the most dramatic event in the city's recent history, Sundiata's "the 51st (dream) state" is a fitting work for The Greene Space," said Noreen O'Loughlin, Vice President of Integrated Marketing, New York Public Radio, and General Manager of The Greene Space. "From our radio theater adaptation of Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God to our exclusive recordings of August Wilson's American Century Cycle, we place language and audio at the center of so much of what we do. We're delighted to present a production of Sundiata's final work in which the poetry and lyricism takes center stage, and we are thrilled to capture and archive it for future generations.