Paula Vogel's BARD AT THE GATE Series Now Set to Launch June 25 With KERNEL OF SANITY

By: Jun. 08, 2020

Paula Vogel's BARD AT THE GATE Series Now Set to Launch June 25 With KERNEL OF SANITY

BARD AT THE GATE, under the aegis of playwright, producer and educator Paula Vogel announced a new launch date and a re-ordering of the performance schedule.

The series will now open on Thursday, June 25 at 7 pm (ET) on a YouTube pre-taped webstream with Kermit Frazier's drama KERNEL OF SANITY, written in 1978. The play examines the close if imbalanced relationship between a young African American actor and an older Caucasian actor with whom he had previously appeared in a production of ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST. The BARD AT THE GATE production of Mr Frazier's 90-minute play is directed by Gregg Daniel. The cast of three TBA. The reading will be followed by a live online discussion of the play with Mr. Frazier and Mr. Daniel, moderated by Ms. Vogel.

KERNEL OF SANITY was previously announced last month as one of the 4 plays to be featured in Ms. Vogel's BARD AT THE GATE series, and was expected to be the 2nd of the 4 plays to be produced online.

To watch KERNEL OF SANITY on June 25, log onto

To register to participate in the live post-show discussion on Zoom, visit Participants will receive the login information 24-28 hours in advance of the event. The discussion will also be broadcast on YouTube.

BARD AT THE GATE was previously announced to open June 10 with Meg Miroshnik's THE DROLL (Or, a Stage-Play about the END of Theatre). Ms Miroshnik, director Devin Brain and the play's cast agreed to step aside during this galvanizing time in order that a long-lost work by an African-American actor-turned-playwright, Mr. Frazier could kick off BARD AT THE GATE, a four-play series of plays, curated by Ms. Vogel, that shines the spotlight on overlooked and under-appreciated works.

THE DROLL will now be performed on Wednesday, July 15 at 7 pm (ET), followed by a discussion about the play - with Ms. Miroshnik and Mr. Brain - on Thursday, July 16 at 5 pm (ET).

Ms. Miroshnik states, "BARD AT THE GATES is an inspiring example of a theater artist acting nimbly and responsively to crisis. I am so proud that BARD AT THE GATES will open with the excellent and long-overlooked KERNEL OF SANITY by Kermit Frazier. I join Paula in the hope that this reading is part of a larger call to theaters to reconsider and revive the older work of Black playwrights, in addition to commissioning and supporting new works by Black artists."

Ms. Vogel adds, "Due to the urgency of this moment, we are postponing the start of BARD AT THE GATE. Thanks to the generosity of theatre artists, we are able to present readings of shows that need to be given another look NOW. And right now, all hands must be on deck to support BLACK LIVES MATTER and our neighbors in the streets who seek justice for the murder of George Floyd and the many innocent people (from Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, in 2020 to the countless of the last four centuries) killed at the hands of police and white vigilantes. The series will now start with a taut three-character play that examines racism in the theatre and remains all too sadly resonant 40 years later."

Kermit Frazier was an actor when he wrote KERNEL OF SANITY, his first play, in 1978. His plays have been produced at such theaters as New Federal, Milwaukee Rep, Asolo, Baltimore Center Stage, Philadelphia Drama Guild, Ensemble Studio Theater and Detroit Repertory. His latest work, ELSE, is part of the Lower Depth Theatre Ensemble's upcoming Pandemic Play. Other plays include: Modern Minstrelsy, Shadows and Echoes, Outside the Radio, Dinah Washington Is Dead, Class Reunion, Firepower (Broadway Play Publishing), Legacies (Broadway Play Publishing), Sacred Places, Interstices, An American Journey (Broadway Play Publishing), Smoldering Fires (Dramatic Publishing), and Little Rock. He has also written for several television series, including the popular children's mystery series Ghostwriter, which he helped to create and for which he was a head writer. And his fiction, creative nonfiction, articles, and reviews have appeared in such magazines and journals as The Missouri Review, Green Mountains Review, The Chicago Review, Callaloo, American Theatre, Black World, Essence, and The New York Times Book Review. He has taught writing, theater, and African American literature at several colleges and universities and is Professor Emeritus at Adelphi University, where he taught in its MFA program in creative writing. A recipient of a McKnight Foundation Fellowship in Playwriting, Mr. Frazier has also twice had a play workshopped at the Eugene O'Neill National Playwrights Conference and has had artist residencies at the MacDowell Colony, the Blue Mountain Center, Yaddo, Millay, Norton Island, and Bogliasco. He received his B.A. and M.A. in English from Syracuse University and his M.F.A. in acting from the New York University School of the Arts Theater Program. He grew up in Washington, DC, and currently lives in Brooklyn, NY.

The June 25th reading of BARD AT THE GATE will benefit the not for profit group Martha's Table, which for 40 years has supported high-quality education, health and wellness resources, nutrition, and parents in the neighborhoods in Washington DC on both sides of the Anacostia River. (Donations requested.)

THE DROLL (Or a Stage-Play about the END of Theatre), written in 2011, is described by Ms. Vogel as "an examination of a time when theatre artists were outlaws, buffeted by plague, starvation, and a totalitarian state in 1647."

In addition to Mr. Frazier and Ms. Miroshnik's plays, the recently-announced streamed four-play series BARD AT THE GATE -- created by the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Paula Vogel (HOW I LEARNED TO DRIVE/Pulitzer, INDECENT/Tony-nominated) - will also include online presentations of Eisa Davis's BULRUSHER and Dan LeFranc's ORIGIN STORY. Performance dates TBA. One of the nation's preeminent teachers of playwriting for 40 years (Brown, Yale), Ms. Vogel conceived BARD AT THE GATE in the wake of theater closures due to the Coronavirus pandemic, viewing this time as an opportunity to present plays that have, heretofore, not fit the accepted model for full production routinely subscribed to by most theatres in the U.S.

Paula Vogel is executive producer of BARD AT THE GATE; Rosey Strub, producer; BJ Evans and Ryan Pointer are associate producers; Rachel Spencer Hewitt is assistant producer.