Theatre Horizon Concludes 12th Season with World Premiere of James Ijames' WHITE, 4/27- 5/21
Theatre Horizon's 12th season concludes with a World Premiere by a Philadelphia favorite. The theatre is presenting the World Premiere of James Ijames' smart and hilarious WHITE. Winner of the 2015 Terrence McNally New Play Award, WHITE runs April 27-May 21. Opening Night is Wednesday, May 3 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets cost $20-$35. Theatre Horizon is located at 401 DeKalb Street. Tickets and more information are available online at www.theatrehorizon.org or by phone at 610-283-2230.
This exiting new piece from one of the Philadelphia region's most celebrated artists examines cultural appropriation, explores black female stereotypes, and satirizes the subjectivity of the art world to expose how society in general often confuses diversity with inclusion. In WHITE,audiences are introduced to Gus, who wants to be a famous artist. So when a major art museum puts out a call for "new perspectives," Gus - a white man - decides to seize his opportunity. He hires a black actress to present his work as her own, but as the actress gets more deeply into her role, Gus's scheme spirals out of his control. Ijames' premiere challenges assumptions about race, gender, identity and art in this seriously funny new comedy.
Ijames is a Philadelphia based playwright and performer. He has appeared regionally at The Arden Theatre Company, The Philadelphia Theatre Company, The Wilma Theater, Baltimore Center Stage and Interact Theatre Company. He is a founding member of Orbiter 3 Playwright Producing Collective, alum of the InterAct Core Writers Group and a mentor for The Foundry Playwrights Lab. James' other plays include The Most Spectacularly Lamentable Trial of Miz Martha Washington, Moon Man Walk, Kill Move Paradise, The Threshing Floor, history of walking,Matter Out of Place and Osiris:Redux. His play WHITE was a part of the 2015 PlayPenn New Play Conference and the 2015 Gulfshore Playhouse New Works Festival. He is a recipient of F. Otto Haas Award for an Emerging Artist, two Barrymore Awards for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Play for Superior Donuts and Angels in America and a Barrymore for Best Direction of a Play for The Brothers Size. He is an Independence Foundation Fellow and he is a 2015 Pew Fellow. Ijames is the 2015 recipient of the Terrence McNally New Play Award forWHITE and the 2015 Kesselring Honorable Mention Prize for ... Miz Martha.
WHITE was inspired by the actions of Joe Scanlan, a white New York-based artist who creates sculptures, paintings and books that feature a fictional persona who is black. Mr. Scanlan has for years showcased the life and art of "Donelle Woolford," a black female Yale graduate and artist, even hiring black female collaborators to portray her. James Ijames, speaking of WHITE, stated, "I wrote this play while I was acting in a play in Baltimore at Center Stage. I find that something really sparks when I'm performing and writing at the same time. I had read an article about Joe Scanlan in a magazine while riding Amtrak from Baltimore to Philadelphia and was really taken by the idea of personality or persona as art. I was also interested in how gay men borrow from (read steal) black female identity and cultural signifiers as a kind of costume of strength. I'm frustrated by it. So this play...at its very core is about that. How marginalized people are used to make art more 'edgy.' In this play...the creation eats the creators. And I dug that."
The play is directed by Malika Oyetimein. The cast includes Jessica Bedford, Jamison Foreman, Justin Jain, and Jaylene Clark Owens. Colin McIlvaine is the Set Designer. LeVonne Lindsay is the Costume Designer. Mike Inwood is the Lighting Designer. Larry Fowler is the Sound Designer. Chelsea Sanz is the Stage Manager.
"I hope people walk away considering how we all put other people in boxes. How we put ourselves in boxes. I hope they consider how behavior is more telling than what you say or write some times," said the Ijames about this new work. "And finally, I hope people walk away talking to each other about the small places or maybe even large places in their lives where they reinforce racist, sexist, classist, or homophobic behavior to go unchecked." To help audiences explore these issues together, the theatre will host post-show discussions after all Friday, Saturday, and Sundayperformances (see performance schedule for exact dates).
The Executive Honorary Producers of WHITE are Tom and Carol Beam. The Associate Honorary Producers are Christina Kind and Lina Lipscomb. The Artistic Sponsors of the play are Rebecca Bradbeer and Nancy DeLucia. Theatre Horizon's Season Sponsors are iCeutica, Bright Light, Brandywine Realty Trust, Montgomery County College Lively Arts Series, Remo Restaurant Equipment and Supplies, Gretz Beer, and Beneficial Bank.
About Theatre Horizon
Theatre Horizon brings Philadelphia's finest actors to Norristown, staging a three-show season and teaching drama to over 900 children per year. Located on Arts Hill in the heart of Montgomery County, Theatre Horizon is an award-winning company dedicated to the revitalization of Norristown. Theatre Horizon is also known for pioneering a unique drama program that uses actors to teach socialization skills to children with autism. For more information about Theatre Horizon, please call 610.283.2230 or visit www.theatrehorizon.org.