Downtown Art Presents Acclaimed Theatre Company's AND THEN I WOKE (A VICARIOUS CATACLYSMIC EVENT)

By: Dec. 07, 2016
Downtown Art (Ryan Gilliam, Artistic/Executive Director) will host the multiNational Theatre Company A Certain Something and the U.S. premiere of And Then I Woke (A Vicarious Cataclysmic Event), a timely new exploration of the relationship between African-Americans and law enforcement, as part of the play's 2017 world tour.

Directed by Gabriel Stelian-Shanks (Peculiar Works' Village Fragments, 2007 Obie Award) and performed by Nilan Johnson (Playmakers Rep's Clybourne Park) and Cherrye J. Davis (HBO's "For Flow"), And Then I Woke (A Vicarious Cataclysmic Event) will be presented for a strictly limited 6-performance engagement, January 25-29, 2017 at Downtown Art (70 East 4th Street, next to LaMaMa ETC). Tickets are $20 and may be reserved by visiting or directly at

And Then I Woke (A Vicarious Cataclysmic Event) leaps out of America's laptops, iPhones and computer screens to explore the phenomenon of YouTube-captured violence perpetrated on African-Americans by those most entrusted with their safety...police officers. Witnessed by millions around the world in first-person video recordings, the murders of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Sandra Bland, Tamir Rice, Philando Castile and dozens of others demand an answer to one heartbreaking question: how did we get to this point? In a world where watching a murder is just one mouse-click away, the scientific term for these videos -- "vicarious cataclysmic events" -- is the basis for a thrilling reimagining of our quest to understand our fellow human beings, and how violence defines, reveals, and shapes us.

"Like the rest of America, we couldn't stop watching these videos. And believe me, we tried," remarked director Gabriel Stelian-Shanks who, with actress/musician Cherrye J. Davis (of the celebrated Brooklyn blues band The Nervous) and award-winning writer/actor Nilan Johnson, created And Then I Woke (A Vicarious Cataclysmic Event). "As artists, we felt a deep responsibility to respond to this violence. But as we traveled across America and Europe, we realized that these YouTube videos were often being given short shrift, explained away with simplistic truisms about bias...rather than giving voice to the new levels of complexity one faces when growing up in America, especially if you're black or brown."

A Certain Something, the company behind And Then I Woke, will follow the New York City performances with a world tour. Currently, the piece has been invited to play the Varna International Theatre Festival (Sofia, Bulgaria), the National Jewish Theatre of Romania (Bucharest), the Sibiu International Theatre Festival (Sibiu, Romania), and in the process of finalizing presentations in Berlin, Madrid, and Paris for next summer. A tour of the United States will follow the European engagements.

The design team of And Then I Woke (A Vicarious Cataclysmic Event) includes Marc Stuart Jablonski (composer/sound design), Catalin Stelian-Shanks (scenic/projection design), Erik C. Bruce (lighting design) and Scott F. Davis (Assistant Director).

The NYC performance schedule of And Then I Woke (A Vicarious Cataclysmic Event) is as follows: Wednesday, January 25 at 7:30pm; Thursday, January 26 at 7:30pm; Friday, January 27 at 7:30pm; Saturday, January 28 at 2:00pm and 8:00pm; and Sunday, January 29 at 3:00pm.

Tickets are priced at $20 and may be purchased by visiting or directly at