Playwright Erik Ehn, Author Daphne A. Brooks and Journalist Randy Gener To Speak On Panel In Washington, D.C., 9/22
On September 22, following force/collision's 8:00pm performance of the world premiere of Shape by Erik Ehn, there will be a talkback featuring the playwright (Maria Kizito, The Saint Plays), Daphne Brooks ("Bodies in Dissent: Spectacular Performances of Race and Freedom"), Randy Gener (American Theatre Magazine, Critical Stages) and John Moletress (Founding Director, force/collision). The discussion will begin approximately at 9:10pm in the Sprenger Theatre at Atlas Performing Arts Center located at 1333 H Street NE in Washington, D.C. The audience will have a chance to ask questions of the panelists regarding the production of Shape and their work. Tickets for the production of Shape may be purchased through the Atlas box office at 202-399-7993 or atlasarts.org.
Erik Ehn has written The Saint Plays, Heavenly Shades of Night Are Falling, Maria Kizito, No Time Like the Present, Wolf at the Door, Tailings, Beginner, Ideas of Good and Evil, and an adaptation of Faulkner's The Sound and the Fury. He is an artistic associate at San Francisco's Theatre of Yugen, most recently writingCrazy Horse for them, which combined Noh forms with Native American music and dance. His plays have been produced in San Francisco (Intersection, Thick Description, Yugen), Seattle (Annex, Empty Space), Austin (Frontera), New York (BACA, Whitney Museum), San Diego (Sledgehammer), Chicago (Red Moon), and elsewhere. He has a longstanding collaborative relationship with the Undermain Theater in Dallas, is co- founder of the Tenderloin Opera Company in San Francisco (with Lisa Bielawa), and is founder of the Arts in the One World Conference. He is a graduate of New Dramatists and the former dean of California Institute of the Arts School of Theater. He is head of Playwriting at Brown University.
Randy Gener is the Nathan Award-winning editor, writer and artist in New York City. He is the US editor of Critical Stages (criticalstages.org), an international web journal for cutting-edge critical writing and global discourse on the performing arts. For his editorial work and critical essays in American Theatre magazine, where he is a contributing writer, Gener won the George Jean Nathan Award for Dramatic Criticism, NLGJA Journalist of the Year Award, the Rube Award for Best Arts Reporting from the Deadline Club (New York chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists), among numerous other awards. He is a curator and co-producer of "FROM The Edge: Politics and Performance Design from Bush to Obama," a theatrical installation of 37 politically committed work by U.S. performance makers which emerged during the dramatic transition in the White House from 2007 to 2011. This exhibition, which will debut at LaMaMa La Galleria in December 2012, originated as the USA National Exposition at the 2011 Prague Quadrennial of Performance Design and Space in the Czech Republic. Gener is a 2012 nominee for The Outstanding Filipino Americans in New York Award. His media project, theaterofOneWorld.org, pursues cultural diplomacy and international arts journalism in the public interest.
Daphne A. Brooks is professor of English and African-American Studies at Princeton University where she teaches courses on African-American literature and culture, performance studies, critical gender studies, and popular music culture. She is the author of two books: Bodies in Dissent: Spectacular Performances of Race and Freedom, 1850-1910 (Duke University Press, 2006), winner of the The Errol Hill Award for Outstanding Scholarship on African American Performance from ASTR and (Continuum, 2005). Brooks is currently working on a new book entitled Minstrelsy through the New Millennium (Harvard University Press, forthcoming).
John Moletress co-founded the Helen Hayes Award-winning Factory 449: a theatre collective in 2009 and force/collision in 2011. For Factory 449, he directed Sarah Kane's 4.48 Psychosis, Erik Ehn's The Saint Plays and Caridad Svich's Magnificent Waste. D.C.: Martin Zimmerman's Foreign Tongue (Source Theatre), Erik Ehn's What A Stranger May Know (Kennedy Center), Collapsing Silence (Source Theatre), The Nautical Yards (force/collision). Regional: Craig Wright's Mistakes Were Made (Stages Repertory Theatre), The Crucible (Tri- County Performing Arts Center), Pippin (Tri-County Performing Arts Center). John is a respondent for the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival as well as a panelist for the National Playwriting Program. He is a member of the Society for Stage Directors and Choreographers, on faculty at George Mason University and a finalist for the 2012 Mayor's Arts Award.
Imagistic and defyingly theatrical, Shape begins in 1900 Ambrose Park, Brooklyn at the end days of "Black America". "Black America" was a historically documented, vast spectacle of vaudeville dances, variety acts, folklore and songs with a cast of 500 African-Americans, in which they created a large-scale plantation in order to reenact the "joys of plantation life" (1895 New York Times article). Based loosely on the biographies of African-American vaudevillians Billy and Cordelia McClain, Shape concerns the life and labors of vaudevillian fairies exploited for their historical songs and dances, used by the dominant culture and abandoned at times of great need. Shape's larger context is on the genocidal ideology which destroyed the Greenwood district otherwise known as "Black Wall Street" during the 1921 Tulsa Race Riot.
This production will feature original music and dances generated by the force/collision ensemble.
Creative team includes playwright Erik Ehn (The Saint Plays, Maria Kizito), director John Moletress (2011 Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Emerging Theatre as co-founder of Factory 449; 2012 Mayor's Arts Award finalist), set designer Collin Ranney (2012 Helen Hayes Award nominee), lighting designer Ariel J. Benjamin, Movement/Choreographer Ilana Faye Silverstein and sound designer Derek Knoderer. The cast includes force/collision ensemble members Dane Figueroa Edidi, Frank Britton, Karin Rosnizeck, Joshua Sticklin and guest actors Dexter Hamlett, Manu H. Kumasi, S. Lewis Feemster, Julia Smith, Alex Witherow and Luci Murphy.