Penumbra Presents HOLLY DOWN IN HEAVEN Tonight, 7/28


Penumbra Theatre Company, Minnesota's only African American theatre, previously announced the fourth annual Word(s)PLAY!, a forum designed to develop new plays by African American Playwrights. Word(s)PLAY! continues with its introduction of another new play to the Twin Cities tonight, July 28, 2012 at 7:30 PM.

The event will offer a staged reading of the select play followed by an open talk back with the playwright, director, artists and audience. This year's lineup continues with Holly Down in Heaven by Kara Lee Corthron.

July 28, 7:30 PM: Holly Down in Heaven by Kara Lee Corthron
Directed by Ching Valdes-Aran

When Holly, a brilliant fifteen-year-old born-again Christian, becomes pregnant, she banishes herself to the basement where she confides only in her dolls. Among them is her favored confidant, a life-size psychiatrist doll that closely resembles Carol Channing. Through the dolls, Holly tries to solve her situation. But, the dolls are absorbed in their own self-preservation. Holly's father, hoping to bring her into the complex light of day, hires a tutor. It is the unique and strangely symbiotic relationship that develops between Holly and the tutor that begins to move her forward. Holly Down in Heaven is a thoughtful and engaging play that shows a young African-American woman that few see and fewer still get to understand.

The play will be read by a company of professional actors that includes: Traci Allen, Ansa Akyea, Darrien Burks, Christiana Clark, Rex Isom, Jr., Darrick Mosley, Michael Paul Levin, Michelle Perdue, Mo Perry and Paul Reyburn.

Tickets can be purchased through the Penumbra Theatre Box Office: 651-224-3180 or online at

Penumbra Theatre was founded in 1976 by Lou Bellamy to make socially responsible art – art that demanded a response, art with intent, art that could create change. At a time when roles for black artists were limited to stereotypes and comical representations, Penumbra produced theater that roared with authenticity through the unrestrained and rich voice of black artists and playwrights. This respect for cultural authenticity became Penumbra's signature style – and demand for it has reached new heights from theatres around the country fostering collaborations, new productions, tours and awards.

OKRA, the Penumbra Theatre new play program was launched in 2008-- a rigorous culturally specific program where playwrights can develop their plays in a safe, nurturing environment without restriction or reservation. The program has three components dedicated to play development – the expansion of early ideas, the exploration of a play script, and a developmental workshop to share the script with an audience. The ultimate goal of OKRA is to move a new play onto the main stage. Each year, we conduct Word(s)Play!, an intense development workshop for playwrights to refine completed scripts with the help of actors, directors, designers and musicians – readying it for full production. Penumbra has nurtured three plays that have received further production opportunities at New York Theatre Workshop and LAByrinth Theatre Company in New York City; Providence Black Rep in Providence, Rhode Island; and American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco, California. Word(s)Play! has quickly gained critical acclaim within the industry for the caliber of the playwrights involved and the complexity of the works selected.

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