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Speakeasy Stage Announces Next Play Discussion Group: Celebrating The Black Narrative

Speakeasy Stage Announces Next Play Discussion Group: Celebrating The Black Narrative

"Celebrating the Black Narrative" is the theme for the third installment of SpeakEasy's Play Discussion Group, a series of free virtual events which returns on Thursday, July 23 at 5:30PM.

Actress Crystin Gilmore, who appeared as 'Headmistress' in SpeakEasy's production of School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play and as 'Shug Avery' in the company's mounting of The Color Purple, will moderate the conversations, which focus each week on one of the following plays by contemporary Black female playwrights:

  • The Luck of the Irish by Kirsten Greenidge - Thursday, July 23 from 5:30 - 6:30pm

  • Nollywood Dreams by Jocelyn Bioh - Thursday, July 30 from 5:30 - 6:30pm

  • Mlima's Tale by Lynn Nottage - Thursday, August 6 from 5:30 - 6:30

  • Dependently Yours by Ruby O'Gray - Thursday, August 13 from 5:30 - 6:30pm
    Familiar by Danai Gurira - Thursday, August 20 from 5:30 - 6:30pm

    All discussions will take place on Zoom, so participants can see each other and share comments.

Scripts will need to be purchased in advance, which will help support the playwrights during this time. There will also be a limited number of complimentary scripts available for those who might not be able to obtain a script on their own. Those wishing to get a free copy of any script can make the request when registering , or can contact Community Programs and Events Manager Alex Lonati at alexlonati@speakeasystage.com. In addition, the script for Dependently Yours, will be distributed for free in advance to all participants. Anyone wishing to donate to SpeakEasy to help with the purchase of scripts may also contact Ms. Lonati.

Each discussion will also be joined by a veteran Boston actor, who will help facilitate the conversation as well as offer their perspective on the play. At press time, that list of actors for this series was still being confirmed.

The playwrights of these works have also been invited to join.

Registration is required, but individuals may sign up for as many of these discussions as they like by visiting http://www.speakeasystage.com/play-discussion-club/. Questions on either initiative may be directed to Community Programs and Events Manager Alex Lonati at AlexLonati@SpeakEasyStage.com.

Here is breakdown by week of the new Play Discussion Group series with details on each play

WEEK ONE: The Luck of the Irish by Kirsten Greenidge - Thursday, July 23 from 5:30 - 6:30pm
Sign Up: https://forms.gle/7TYpzfYdzFuxrXdh9

When an upwardly mobile African-American couple wants to buy a home in an all-white neighborhood in 1950's Boston, they pay a struggling Irish family to "ghost-buy" a house on their behalf. Fifty years later, the Irish family wants "their" house back. Moving across two eras, The Luck of the Irish explores racial and social issues and the universal longing for home.

Purchase the e-script or hard copy for The Luck of the Irish here.

WEEK TWO: Nollywood Dreams by Jocelyn Bioh -- Thursday, July 30 from 5:30 - 6:30pm
Sign Up: https://forms.gle/CH63y5bP6Yurnzgx7

It's the nineties and in Lagos, Nigeria, the "Nollywood" film industry is exploding. Ayamma dreams of leaving her job at her parents' travel agency and becoming a star. When she auditions for a new film by Nigeria's hottest director, tension flares with his former leading lady-as sparks fly with Nollywood's biggest heartthrob.

Purchase the e-script or hard copy for Nollywood Dreams here.

WEEK THREE: Mlima's Tale by Lynn Nottage -- Thursday, August 6 from 5:30 - 6:30pm
Sign Up: https://forms.gle/JtcvoZAE8M95ePJK7

Mlima is a magnificent elephant trapped by the underground international ivory market. As he follows a trail littered by a history of greed, Mlima takes us on a journey through memory, fear, tradition, and the penumbra between want and need.

Purchase the e-script or hard copy for Mlima's Tale here.

WEEK FOUR: Dependently Yours by Ruby O'Gray -- Thursday, August 13 from 5:30 - 6:30
Sign Up: https://forms.gle/TLcXAQ5JD6CWWXeE9

The third of the "Holiday Theatre Trilogy", Dependently Yours follows the Stevenson family, an upper-middle class African American family from Memphis, as they celebrate the 4th of July. Augusta and Calvin have recently completed college and are the last of the Stevenson family to be living in their childhood home. Things begin to go awry when the house of Ms. Mimms, the neighborhood "cat lady," catches on fire.

The script for Dependently Yours will be distributed for free via email to all signed-up attendees about a week before the session.

WEEK FIVE: Familiar by Danai Gurira -- Thursday, August 20 from 5:30 - 6:30pm
Sign Up: https://forms.gle/UnoVrMdYTjyV6BW19

Marvelous and Donald, Zimbabwean emigrants in Minnesota, are preparing for the marriage of their eldest daughter, Tendi. They have gracefully blended Zimbabwean culture alongside their American culture, but their house is turned upside down when Marvelous' sister comes from Zimbabwe to perform a very traditional wedding ceremony in which the groom barters for the bride. Tensions flare and identities clash as the family's fabric slowly unweaves and they are forced to take a hard look at who they truly are.

Purchase the script for Familiar here. Note: an e-script for this play is not yet available, so please allow time for shipping if you are planning on attending this session.

ABOUT THE MODERATOR -- CRYSTIN GILMORE

Crystin Gilmore last graced SpeakEasy's stage as 'Headmistress' in the 2018 production of School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play. Throughout this production, she created and executed a workshop for local students that focused on the definition of beauty and individuality. She also appeared in SpeakEasy's production of The Color Purple as 'Shug Avery', a role for which she received an IRNE (Independent Reviewers of New England) Award and Arts Impulse Award. Recent credits and roles include The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds her Chameleon Skin -- Miss Pain (Progressive Theater); Letters from War -- Mae (North Shore Music Theatre); Smokey Joe's Cafe -- Brenda (Show Palace Dinner Theatre); Mamma Mia -- Rosie, Hairspray -- Motormouth Maybelle, & Chicago -- Matron Momma Morton (Charleston Stage Company).


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