Mia McCullough's SINCE AFRICA to Open Off-Broadway Next Month
SINCE AFRICA, a new play by Mia McCullough about a Lost Boy of Sudan-- both lost in his native land and lost as he attempts to adjust to his new home in America - will be given its NY premiere following successful productions at San Diego's Old Globe, Philadelphia's InterAct, and Chicago Dramatists theatres with performances starting February 20 and an official press opening on February 23 in a production by New York's Red Fern Theatre Company at The Theater at the 14th Street Y (344 E. 14 St. between 1st and 2nd Ave. in NYC). The play is directed by Nancy Robillard.
In the Sudanese civil war that lasted from 1983 until 2005 when the Autonomous Government of South Sudan was formed, tens of thousands of Dinka and Nuer boys (and some girls) were displaced from their native villages. While fleeing violence they trekked hundreds of miles, first to Ethiopia and later to Kenya, where aid workers nicknamed these presumably orphaned children the Lost Boys. In 2001 over 3000 of the Lost Boys were resettled in cities across the United States.
In SINCE AFRICA, one such Lost Boy, Ater, tries to make a new life in Chicago where he bravely contends with such novelties as processed food, cold weather, and the American temperament. A recently-widowed socialite, her daughter, and an African-American Deacon from the local Catholic parish try to help him embrace his new home and all its opportunities. But assimilation is not so simple and their efforts lead each of them to question their identities. The play is a look at American culture through the eyes of an African. SINCE AFRICA explores the tensions between blacks and whites, Africans and African-Americans, the devout and the non-religious.
The cast of SINCE AFRICA includes Elton Beckett; Kristin D. Carpenter (SINCE AFRICA/Old Globe); Matthew Murumba (DEATH IN MOZAMBIQUE/Cherry Lane Theatre); Jenny Vallencourt (THE LADY FROM THE SEA); and Jennifer Dorr White (PERA PALAS, RAISED IN CAPTIVITY).
Mia McCullough's plays have been produced at Steppenwolf, Chicago Dramatists, Stage Left, Old Globe, Atlanta's Actor's Express, Victory Theatre in LA and elsewhere. She won a Joseph Jefferson Award for New Work for her play CHAGRIN FALLS, and her play IMPENETRABLE was a finalist for the 2013 Steinberg Award. SINCE AFRICA was a finalist for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize and a nominee for a Joseph Jefferson Award for Best New Play.
Nancy Robillard directed the Off-Broadway musical NATIONAL PASTIME and was assistant director to Mike Ockrent on the musical BIG and assistant to Alan Arkin on TALLER THAN A DWARF, both on Broadway. Elsewhere in NYC, she has directed productions for Culture Project, Directors Company and HERE. Regional productions include the world premiere of SLOW DANCE WITH A HOT PICKUP by John Pielmeier and HONOR AND THE RIVER by Anton Dudley.
Under the leadership of Founder and Executive Artistic Director Melanie Moyer Williams, Red Fern Theatre was created in 2006 with a mission to produce plays that provoke social awareness and change, addressing social issues that range in scope from local to global. Each production is paired with a philanthropy whose work relates to the themes of the play. To date, Red Fern has produced 10 play revivals, two NY premieres, four world-premieres and numerous staged readings. Productions include Nicky Silver's RAISED IN CAPTIVITY; Paula Vogel's THE LONG CHRISTMAS RIDE HOME; plays by Shirley Laura including THE RADIANT; MISS EVER'S BOYS; AN IDEAL HUSBAND and TWO ROOMS by Lee Blessing. www.redferntheatre.org
Scheduled through March 9, SINCE AFRICA will perform Thursdays through Saturdays at 8, Sundays at 3 with an added performance on Monday, March 3 at 7 pm. Tickets are $20 and can be reserved by calling theatermania at 212 352 3101 or online at www.theatermania.com
Photo by: Nathan Johnson