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LA Writers Center Launches Online BREATHE Play Reading Series To Amplify BIPOC Voices

The event begins Saturday 29 August 2020.

LA Writers Center presents a free online reading of "Strange Fruit Part 1" by Jon Bastian as a part of their "Breathe" online play reading series, which will live stream on the global, commons-based, peer-produced HowlRound TV network at beginning Saturday 29 August 2020 at 11 a.m. PDT (San Francisco, UTC-7) / 1 p.m. CDT (Chicago, UTC-5) / 2 p.m. EDT (New York, UTC-4).

The LA Writers Center is a diverse organization. They have developed new work that has amplified BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ stories for almost two decades. LAWC is partnering with HowlRound to present "Breathe," an online play reading series designed to advance these stories.

"Strange Fruit Part I," written by Jon Bastian, will kick off the series, directed by Martin Bedoian and Che'Rae Adams. "Strange Fruit Part II " will be presented on Saturday, 26 September 2020.

A tale of the 20th century, "Strange Fruit" is a non-chronological and kaleidoscopic interweaving of multiple interconnected stories including the tale of Billie Holiday and her signature song; the Jewish Communist school teacher from the Bronx who wrote it; the Red Scare witch-hunt victims whose children he saved; the lynching victims and the young black writer who were inspired by it, and the young gay man whose death shocked a nation and led to attempts at tolerance in the twenty-first century.

Crossing lines of gender, race, religion, and sexuality, Strange Fruit strives to remind us that, ultimately, our commonality is in being human, and the danger is in focusing upon our differences rather than our similarities. The play tells us that hope is a fleeting thing, and that the advances of one generation can never be taken for granted when removed so easily in the next. The price of equality is constant vigilance and mutual protection.

Cast members include: Matthew Fox as Matthew Shepard, Frankie Chuter as Aaron, Matthew Hancock and Donna Simone Johnson as Hayes and Mary Turner, Sarah Scott Davis as Billie Holiday, Jonathan P. Sims as James Baldwin, William Salyers and Maria Nicolacakis as Ann and Abe Meeropol, Shawn MacAulay as Walter White, Susan Rome and David Wilcox as Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, Joe Rumi as David Greenglass, and Mark McClain Wilson as Oscar Wilde. Ensemble members include Bart Tangredi, Michael T. Kachingwe, John Schumacher, Jasmine D'Angelo, Courtney Sheets, and Paul Mischeshin.

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