BLACK LIKE US to Open Annex Theatre's 2014 Season
Annex Theatre has long considered itself the research and development wing of the Seattle theater scene. Last Winter, Annex partnered with Rain City Projects (a playwright service organization founded in 1991) to present a theatrical experiment called Second Date, in which writers and directors had a chance to stage short pieces of work they were developing. One of those pairings was playwright Rachel Atkins (TPS Gregory Nominee for Outstanding Playwright, 2010) and director Tyrone Brown (Artistic Director, Brownbox Theatre). For Second Date, they revived a ten-minute "Quickie" Rachel originally wrote for Live Girls! Theater (theme: "exploration and discoveries") and expanded it to a twenty minute short. An hour-long version received a reading in the Live Girls! Cupcake Series later that year, directed by Jose Amador. Now Annex Theatre, in partnership with Brownbox, is proud to present the full-length, world-premiere production of Black Like Us, with Jose Amador returning as director.
Black Like Us is the story of an African-American woman's decision to pass for white in 1958. It follows her story, and those of her sister, her daughter, her three granddaughters, and her two grandnieces, as they all in turn discover her secret-and each others' existence.
Black Like Us runs during February, and while staging it during Black History Month is certainly intentional, this is a play about much more than race. It is at its core the story of a family, and of the sweet, complex, and exasperating relationships that exist between sisters. It is also the story of a family that lives in Seattle, and the history of the Central District and the Civil rights movement in this city are woven into the narrative. With a diverse all-female cast, a dash of history, and a lot of humor, Black Like Us explores the effect one woman's decision has to reverberate through the generations.
Rachel Atkins is a scriptwriter for Living Voices. Her work has been performed at Book-It, Seattle Children's Theatre, Empty Space, and 14/48. In 2010, Rachel was nominated for a Gregory Award for Outstanding Playwright, the same year she received her first full production at Annex: Money Changes Everything, a blend of comedy, docudrama, and heist thriller.
Black Like Us is a funny, poignant, and deeply relevant story about the bonds of family, the struggles of identity, and the far reaching effects of one woman's decision.
Annex Theatre is a democratic collective of theatre artists dedicated to creating bold new work in an environment of improbability, resourcefulness, and risk. Annex Theatre produces new plays by living playwrights, radical reinterpretations of classic scripts, and ensemble-generated non-linear spectacles. Now in its Capitol Hill venue, Annex originally opened its doors in 1987 in a former dance studio on 4th Avenue in downtown Seattle. Since then the theater has produced hundreds of world and Northwest premieres.
Black Like Us Performs January 31st -March 1st Thursday -Saturday 8pm. Tickets $5-$20. All Thursdays Pay-What-You-Can. www.annextheatre.org