The Welders to Present NOT ENUF LIFETIMES, Opening 11/1
The Welders-Washington's only playwrights' collective devoted exclusively to developing and producing new work-have launched their second production. Not Enuf Lifetimes, a new play by Caleen Sinnette Jennings, opens November 1, 2014 at the Atlas Performing Arts Center. Psalmayene 24 will direct.
Jennings, a professor of theater at American University, began writing the play after teaching and befriending a student in her class entitled The African American Experience in the Performing Arts.
"One of the students in this class was a skinny, white transfer student with a head full of blond curls who had traveled all the way from the Northwest to go to school in D.C.," she says. "He was bright and politically conscious. And he took a summer job working with kids in one of DC's roughest housing projects.
"One afternoon, as we sat on a bench on AU's quad, he seemed particularly sad, and I asked if he was okay. He said his social justice work was sometimes overwhelming. 'I don't know,' he said, 'It feels like there are not enough lifetimes to make up for all the bad stuff that my people have done.'"
Not Enuf Lifetimes, says Jennings, seeks a connection between the Baby Boomer and Hip Hop generations through the story of Frank Riley and his son, Ian. "I am not a working class white male, like my protagonist," she says. "I am not a hip hopper med school dropout like his son. The Welders inspire me to search my head and heart for the authentic voices of these characters. I'm stepping off a ledge, knowing that Psalmayene 24, a legendary hip hop artist/director, and my talented, highly skilled cast will catch me."
"The spirit and brilliance of Caleen Jennings and The Welders drew me to this project," says director Psalmayene 24. "It's exhilarating to have the opportunity to dive into the world of the play and work with this fabulous cast. Caleen has written a heartfelt, funny, and gripping play that has the rare ability to build a bridge between the Baby Boomer and Hip-Hop generations. I can't wait for DC audiences to experience this gem of a play."
Jennings is also serving as The Welders' Artistic Director for the duration of the production, which features D.C. actors Elliott Bales, Melissa Flaim, Kiernan McGowan, Shanta Parasuraman, and David Lamont Wilson.
Not Enuf Lifetimes will run November 1 - November 15, 2014 at The Atlas Performing Arts Center. Previews begin October 29, 2014.
Caleen Sinnette Jennings (Playwright and Artistic Director) is an actor, director and playwright. Eight of her plays have been published by Dramatic Publishing Company, and her work has appeared in 7 play anthologies. She has received playwriting awards from the Kennedy Center and The Actor's Theatre of Louisville, as well as two nominations for the Charles MacArthur Award for outstanding new play. Her plays have been produced at the Kennedy Center, Imagination Stage, The Folger and Source Theatres. Caleen is Professor of Theatre in the Department of Performing Arts at American University in Washington, D.C. where she joined the faculty in 1989.
Psalmayene 24 (Director) is a director, playwright, and actor. His past directing credits include Hueman Prophets' Read, White, and Blue; Zomo the Rabbit: A Hip-Hop Creation Myth; P.Nokio: A Hip-Hop Musical; and Cinderella: The Remix. He has devised and directed plays in India with Arena Stage's Voices of Now program. Mr. 24 has received playwriting commissions from The African Continuum Theater Company, Arena Stage, and Imagination Stage. His one man play, Free Jujube Brown!, is published in the first Hip-Hop Theater anthology, Plays from the Boom-Box Galaxy (TCG). Psalmayene's work has been recognized and supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, The Maryland State Arts Council, and the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities.
Elliott Bales (Frank) is a DC Metro - based actor who returned to performing following a 26-year career as a US Army officer. His recent credits include Victor/Argument in The Wonderful World of Dissocia (Theater Alliance), Ernest Herbert in Porch (Peter's Alley) Azrael in Creation of the World (Off the Quill), Alquist in Rossum's Universal Robots (Naked Theater) and Beethoven in 33 Variations (Little Theater of Alexandria). He also works in television, film and video and narrates audio books. Elliott serves as the Managing Director for Theater Alliance.
Melissa Flaim (Cheryl) is DC-based actress, educator, and vocal coach. She has as appeared in four world premieres by Welder Allyson Currin: Treadwell: Bright and Dark (American Century), Unleashed: The Secret Life of White House Pets (The Kennedy Center), Learning Curves (WSC-Avant Bard), and Amstel in Tel Aviv (Source Theatre). Other DC-area performances include Hallie in Bad Dates (Olney Theatre), Jacqueline in Wintertime at (Round House Theater), Various Roles in Antony and Cleopatra, Olivia in Twelfth Night and Rosalind in As You Like It (The Shakespeare Project), Angels in America, Parts I & II (Signature Theater), and A Month in the Country (Arena Stage). Ms. Flaim teaches at The Catholic University of America. She received her Master of Fine Arts in Acting from the University of Missouri-Kansas City and her Bachelor of Arts in Theatre and French from the Pennsylvania State University.
Kiernan McGowan (Ian) has appeared recently In Perfect Arrangement and Dust, to Dust, to Dust,(The Source Theater Festival), Romeo and Juliet (We Happy Few Productions), and The Tempest (Annapolis Shakespeare Company). He is a graduate of George Washington University and is a current MFA candidate in Acting at The Catholic University of America.
Shanta Parasuraman (Manjit) is thrilled to be joining The Welders for this new and important piece of theatre. Recent credits include Yentl (Theater J) and The Jungle Book (Adventure Theatre). She is a graduate of Indiana University and was an Allen Lee Hughes artistic development fellow at Arena Stage. In early 2015, she will appear in Wiley and the Hairy Man at Imagination Stage.
David Lamont Wilson (Ronnie/Dante) is thrilled to have the pleasure of breathing life into another Caleen Sinnette Jennings character. Mr. Wilson was in the original cast of Ms. Jennings' Inns and Outs, produced by Source Theatre in 1995. He was last seen in the Restoration Stage production of Chocolate Covered Ants, and will soon appear in The Call at Theater J. Some of his favorite productions include Four (Studio Theatre), The Oedipus Plays (The Shakespeare Theatre) Heaven and Big Love (Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company), 4.48 Psychosis (Factory 449), Am I Black Enough? (Charter Theatre) West Side Story (Olney Theatre), Titus (WSC-Avant Bard), American Buffalo and Edmond (Source Theatre), Invisible Disability and The Boy Who Walked Backwards (The Kennedy Center) His resume also includes productions at the Folger Shakespeare Theatre and Howard University, as well as a featured role on NBC's award-winning Homicide: Life On the Streets and HBO's The Wire.