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Angela Polite's MARY SPEAKS Announced At 10th Annual Key Bank Rochester Fringe Festival

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The solo show draws a powerful parallel between George Floyd's death and thedeath of other black men to that of the crucified Christ.

Angela Polite's MARY SPEAKS Announced At 10th Annual Key Bank Rochester Fringe Festival

Grits Entertainment, LLC has announced Angela Polite's play MARY SPEAKS will be streamed as part of the 2021 KeyBank Rochester Fringe Festival (Monday, September 20 - Sunday, September 26) on rochesterfringe.com. Tickets are now on sale for $20 at rochesterfringe.com, where more information is also available.

The solo show draws a powerful parallel between George Floyd's death and the death of other black men to that of the crucified Christ. When theaters shut down last year, Polite reconceived the show into a 50-minute version with two original songs and envisioned a "virtual tour" that could reach cities and communities all over the country. The appearance in the Fringe marks the second stop on her tour.

"Mary Speaks takes the life of Mary, the mother of Jesus, and uses it to explore the history of black mothers and the loss of their sons," Ms. Polite says. "Mother Mary becomes a prototype for the struggle of black mothers to raise and keep their sons alive in a society where their very existence is seen as a threat. Black mothers have experienced that 'foot of the cross' moment throughout history. It is time to recognize the struggle and pain that comes with raising a black son in America."

Ms. Polite recognizes the special connection between her work and Rochester on many levels. "Rochester, like so many cities across the country, saw major protests over the killing of unarmed black men at the hands of police in 2020. My play, Mary Speaks, addresses this on-going and urgent issue. We are proud to bring this timely piece of theater to a city that has always been a powerful voice in the fight for justice. From the activism of Abolitionist Frederick Douglas to the civil rights struggles of the 50's and 60's, Rochester's importance to the African American experience is tremendous. And so, being a part of the Keybank Rochester Fringe Festival at a time of racial reckoning within our country is not lost on me. Mary Speaks is an opportunity to not only bring theater back to the people but let it do what it does best; promote social discourse, connect the community and hold space for conversation and healing."

Ms. Polite's credits include A Christmas Carol in Harlem, Emancipation (Classical Theatre of Harlem), Can You Hear Me Baby? (Berkshire Theater Festival), Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (The Kennedy Center), TV: GOTHAM, FBI, Blue Bloods.

Additional members of the creative team are Christopher Burris (director), Jeff Bolding (music direction, arrangements), Hans Charles (director of photography), Sabrina Bianca Guillaume (set and costume design), Carolina Ortiz (lighting design), Tiffany Rea-Fisher (movement coach), Erica Blunt (sound design), Francisco Aliwalas (editor), and Ada Zhang (stage manager). The production was filmed at The Sheen Center for Thought and Culture.

The filmed version of Mary Speaks is produced by Michael and Whit Cook, David and Anita Massengill, Brad Reeves, and MORE Partnerships, with Executive Producers Grits Entertainment, LLC and Julia Beardsley O'Brien.

Photo Credit: Lia Chang


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