The Billie Holiday Theatre and RestorationART present The New York Premiere Of A SMALL OAK TREE RUNS RED
To commemorate the 1918 holocaust lynchings of eleven African Americans, including Mary Turner and her unborn baby in Brooks County, Georgia, The Billie Holiday Theatre and RestorationART present the New York Premiere of A Small Oak Tree Runs Red by Brooklyn's own LeKethia Dalcoe, directed by renowned actor and director, Harry Lennix. Performances will begin February 2, 2018 with the Opening on February 8 and running through March 4 at The Billie Holiday Theatre, 1368 Fulton Street, Brooklyn, NY 11216.
To recall the historically ubiquitous practice of the lynching of African Americans in the US (some 3,437 were lynched between the years 1882 and 1951) and to take an unflinching look at the history of domestic terrorism in the US, A Small Oak Tree Runs Red takes us to a place between reality and memory.
This story features Mary Turner, played by Kyra Riley a young African American woman whose 1918 lynching, while eight months pregnant, prompted the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) officials to ask Missouri Republican Congressman Leonidas C. Dyer to craft the 1922 Dyer Anti-Lynching Bill whose passage was halted by a Southern Democratic filibuster in the US Senate.
The cast also includes R.J. Foster as Hayes Turner and Yusef Miller as Sidney Johnson, all haunted by voices of the past, entangled in history and reprehensible acts against humanity, and armed with the understanding that to forget is to forever perish just like the countless stories before them, trapped within old newspapers and forgotten memories.
A Small Oak Tree Runs Red, set in 1918 - one hundred years ago, is presented against the current socio-cultural backdrop of continued racial unrest across the US in which news headlines in 2017 read: Noose found hanging from tree outside Brooklyn Public Library; Two Nooses Found in Brooklyn in Two Weeks; Police Slow to Probe Biracial Boy's Hanging in New Hampshire, Family Alleges; and Noose found at Metropolitan Opera prompts police investigation into possible hate crime.
"We believe deeply in the power of storytelling to illuminate history, a history that has come full circle 100 years later against a current cultural backdrop that is unfortunately still fraught with racial bias, discrimination and acts of domestic terrorism," stated Indira Etwaroo, Ph.D. Executive Director, The Billie Holiday Theatre and RestorationART. "I am honored to have extraordinary theater artist and director Harry Lennix bring Brooklyn's own treasure, LeKethia Dalcoe, and this powerful story to The Billie Holiday Theatre."
"A Small Oak Tree Runs Red is a specific story set within a specific time and place that has universal resonance: the persecution by powerful structures on a people who are marginalized," stated acclaimed director, Harry Lennix. "Well-crafted theater can be cathartic - soul cleansing - and an anodyne to what our life would be like without it. A Small Oak [Tree Runs Red] addresses the wounds of our past and, hopefully, helps us move that much closer to a place of healing."
Single tickets, ranging from $25 - $65, will be available on Thursday, December 7 and can be accessed by calling (929) 432-3322, visiting www.thebillieholiday.org, or in person at the Billie Holiday Theatre Box Office at 1368 Fulton Street, Brooklyn, NY 11216, Sun - Sat from 4 - 7PM.
The Billie Holiday Theatre (The Billie), founded in 1972 by Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation, is an OBIE and AUDELCO Award-winning theater devoted to the discovery of world-class storytelling with a focus on stories for, by and about people of African descent with 3-4 productions annually. The Billie presents, promotes and sustains art that reflects the definitive issues of our time in and through all of its forms of expression, especially drama, and including jazz, opera, ballet, film, poetry, and other forms of intellectual and instructive entertainment; to produce and stimulate performances or theatrical productions of all kinds with a focus on, but not limited to the African American experience; and to commission and premiere original works.
RestorationArt (formerly branded The Center for Arts & Culture), the cultural centerpiece of Restoration, is a dynamic 21st century creative complex that is committed to folding the community into world-class artistic discovery and storytelling in dance, music, theater, visual arts and conversation in the epicenter of Black culture, Central Brooklyn. RestorationArt reaches a diverse audience of more than 40,000 annually through dance concerts and choreographic works-in-progress showcases, music festivals and salons, theater performances and a new works reading series, as well as talks & films; a Youth Arts Academy that provides beginner through pre-professional training in dance, drama, drumming and digital media for ages 3 - 18; Visual Arts exhibits with 3 - 4 innovative exhibits; theater institutions-in-residence: the Billie Holiday Theatre is an OBIE and Audelco Award-winning theater, mounting 2-3 major productions annually and the Frank Silvera Writers' Workshop; dance Institutions-in-Residence: Ronald K. Brown/Evidence Dance Theater (Lead Dance Resident), Cumbe Center for African and Diaspora Dance, and ChoreoQuest, serving 6 - 8 choreographers; and music institutions-in-residence: The Noel Pointer School of Music and the Brooklyn Youth Chorus Academy.