Razor-Sharp Satire WELCOME TO BRAGGSVILLE Comes to Book-It
Book-It presents a darkly funny, world-premiere adaptation of Welcome to Braggsville by T. Geronimo Johnson. When good ol' boy D'aron Davenport lets it slip that his hometown in Georgia hosts an annual Civil War reenactment, his new friends at UC Berkeley plan to stage a protest in the form of a "performative intervention." Armed with youthful exuberance and misguided ideas of the South, the intervention goes badly awry.
Welcome to Braggsville is an astonishing, razor-sharp satire of contemporary American issues following a college student whose personal tragedy becomes the center of a national media storm. With a sincere heart, this coming-of-age novel for a new generation intimately explores how all Americans are linked to - and culpable in - the country's racial injustices.
"This story feels so necessary in the current state of our country. Many people got a serious wake-up call in November as to how divided we still are along racial lines. Braggsville brings to light the faces we may want to deny but need to acknowledge, from our troubled past and our complicated present," says co-adapter Daemond Arrindell.
Book-It is hosting a series of community engagement events that explore the issues in the novel including a panel moderated by The Central District Forum for Arts & Ideas' Executive Director Sharon Nyree Williams, a conversation with KUOW's Marcie Sillman for Front Row Center, and author T. Geronimo Johnson will be in Seattle on June 24 for a conversation with Director Josh Aaseng and Arrindell.
Director and co-adapter Josh Aaseng is Book-It's literary manager and has directed Book-It shows including Slaughterhouse-Five, Jesus' Son, Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, and The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay (associate director). Arrindell was a teaching artist at Book-It's first Twain Talk in 2013 during the run of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: Uncensored; this is his debut as an adapter for Book-It.
The cast includes Naa Akua as Poet/Ensemble, Sylvie Davidson* as Candice, Rebecca M. Davis as Mrs. Brooks/Ensemble, Brace Evans as Otis/Ensemble, Doug Graham as Quint/Ensemble, Justin Huertas* as Louis, Andrew McGinn* as Sheriff/Ensemble, Olivia Martin as LeeAnn/Ensemble, Chris Mayse as Mr. Davenport/Ensemble, Mia Morris as Mrs. Davenport/Ensemble, Drew Starmer as Jo-Jo/Ensemble, Zack Summers as D'aron, Jazmyne Waters as Student/Ensemble, and Dimitri Woods* as Charlie.
*Member of Actors' Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States
The design team is led by Scenic Designer Pete Rush with lighting design by Andrew D. Smith, costume design byCandace Frank, properties design by Cedric Wright, and sound design by Matt Starritt. Gin Hammond is the dialect coach.
Welcome to Braggsville plays June 7-July 2, 2017 (opening on Saturday, June 10) at The Center Theatre at the Armory (305 Harrison Street, Seattle, WA 98109). Tickets start at $25 with group rates available. $15 tickets will be available to students during the entire run. Purchase at book-it.org or by calling the box office at 206.216.0833. The box office is open Tues through Fri, 12:00pm - 5:00pm (Tues - Sat during production run), located in the outer lobby of The Center Theatre at the Armory.
Show contains strong language, racial slurs, and some violence.
Beyond the Book Events
Conversations that both illuminate Book-It's production of Welcome to Braggsville and act as catalysts for deeper exploration of the book's themes. Each event is open to the public:
Welcome to Braggsville Panel Discussion
The Central District Forum for Arts & Ideas' Executive Director Sharon Nyree Williams will moderate a panel talk and follow-up Q&A pertaining to the work of CD Forum and spoken word in Seattle guiding a conversation around issues in the story Welcome to Braggsville.
Sunday, June 11 following the 2pm matinée at The Center Theatre at the Armory (305 Harrison St.)
Front Row Center with KUOW's Marcie Sillman
Join KUOW's Marcie Sillman for a conversation after Welcome to Braggsville with co-adapter/director Josh Aaseng and co-adapter Daemond Arrindell.
Saturday, June 17 following the 2pm matinée at The Center Theatre at the Armory (305 Harrison St.)
A Conversation with T. Geronimo Johnson
Hailed by The New York Times as the "funniest sendup of identity politics, the academy and white racial anxiety to hit the scene in years," Welcome to Braggsville is a razor-sharp satire of contemporary American issues. Join author T. Geronimo Johnson as well as co-adapter/diector Josh Aaseng and co-adapter Daemond Arrindell for a conversation that explores the themes of this darkly humorous novel.
Saturday, June 24 from 5:00-6:00pm at The Center Theatre at the Armory (305 Harrison St.) $15, tickets at book-it.org
About Josh Aaseng
Josh Aaseng is a director and writer based in Seattle. Directing credits include Slaughterhouse-Five, ReEntry, Jesus' Son, Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, A Midsummer Night's Dream, and The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay (associate director). He is a consulting director on Frank Boyd's The Holler Sessions, which has performed at On the Boards and ACT in Seattle, the Noorderzon Performing Arts Festival in the Netherlands, and PS 122 COIL Festival in New York. Josh received two Seattle Theatre Writers awards for excellence in playwrighting and direction for his production of Slaughterhouse-Five. Josh is the literary manager for Book-It Repertory Theatre where he has helped developed several new works, a member of the Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab, and a graduate of New York University's Tisch School of the Arts.
About Daemond Arrindell
Daemond Arrindell is a poet, performer and teaching artist. He has written for City Arts and Crosscut magazines, has self-published two chapbooks, "Hungry for the Word," and "Mission Statement," and is working on a full-length poetry manuscript, "When the Music Box Won't Open." Daemond is adjunct faculty at Seattle University; a 2013 Jack Straw Writer; and a 2014 VONA/Voices Writers' Workshop fellow. He has performed across the country and has been repeatedly commissioned by Seattle and Bellevue Arts Museums.
About T. Geronimo Johnson
T. Geronimo Johnson was born in New Orleans. His fiction and poetry has appeared in Best New American Voices, Indiana Review, LA Review, and Illuminations, and others. A graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop and a former Stegner Fellow at Stanford, he has an M.A. from Berkeley in language, literacy and culture and teaches writing at University of California-Berkeley. He was a 2013 PEN/Faulkner finalist for his first novel, Hold It 'Til It Hurts.
PLEASE NOTE: We ask that you use Book-It's full name "Book-It Repertory Theatre" or simply "Book-It", in all text and listings. Thank You.
During the 2016-17 season, Book-It's Arts and Education Program is producing and touring three works of literature for young people: Last Stop on Market Street, by Matt De La Peña (performed bilingually in English and Spanish); Goin' Someplace Special, by Patricia C. McKissack; and El Deafo, by Cece Bell, also performed bilingually in spoken English and American Sign Language. These productions, performed by professional actor/teaching artists, tour to schools, libraries, and community centers statewide. Tours may be booked by calling 206.428.6266.
ABOUT BOOK-IT REPERTORY THEATRE
Book-It Repertory Theatre, a leader in the narrative theatre movement, was founded in 1990. Book-It is a non-profit organization with a dedication to great literature and quality theatre experiences employing simple, sensitive, and imaginative production techniques, and to inspiring its audiences to read. The company is funded, in part, by generous contributions from corporations and foundations, and hundreds of individuals who share its passion for literature.