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Brave New World Repertory Theatre Announces BRAVE NEW WORKS 2021: ZOOM Featuring Blair Underwood and More

Brave New Works 2021: Zoom focuses on police brutality and reform through the lens of three new plays selected from dozens of submissions.

Brave New World Repertory Theatre Announces BRAVE NEW WORKS 2021: ZOOM Featuring Blair Underwood and More

Brooklyn's Brave New World Repertory Theatre has announced its fourth annual new play reading series Brave New Works 2021: Zoom. Brave New Works has sought out new plays that address a number of hot-button issues - Race in America, Diversity, Climate Change, and now Police Brutality and Reform.

Brave New Works 2021: Zoom focuses on police brutality and reform through the lens of three new plays selected from dozens of submissions:

  • Dutch Kings by Kristen I. Spencer, directed by Christopher D. Betts, streams live Sunday January 31
  • The Killing of Kings by Nadira Simone directed by Christopher Burris, streams live Sunday February 28
  • Go Down Moses by Dana Leslie Goldstein, directed by Tai Thompson, streams live Sunday March 28

Readings are at 7pm and will be recorded and made available for the following four days on YouTube. The live presentations are free with a suggested donation of $15 to help compensate the artists. Reservations are necessary and available here.

Panel discussions following each reading will be moderated by artist/activist Gina Belafonte with notable guest panelists including Blair Underwood, set for Dutch Kings on January 31. Ms. Belafonte serves as executive director of Sankofa.org, the social justice organization founded by her father Harry Belafonte. Panelists, playwrights and directors will respond to questions from Ms. Belafonte and audience members on topics including the role police play in communities of color, how funding could be re-allocated, how institutions can be held accountable for racial bias, and violence against Black bodies.

BNW producing artistic director Claire Beckman says "Our longstanding social justice mission was sparked most recently by the murders of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd. In July we put out a call for plays that address police brutality. Dexter McKinney and Nixon Cesar, Black actors in our resident company, stepped up as our literary team's co-curators. Now, given the sedition we saw at the Capitol on January 6, and the complicity and passivity of law enforcement, we are more determined than ever to tell stories about the inequities Black Americans endure daily. BNW is committed to giving 10% of all donations to #BlackLivesmatter."

More about the plays from the playwrights:

  • Dutch Kings, January 31 - Today is the Annual Block Shop Double Dutch Competition and the Dutch Kings title is up for whichever team has the BADDEST, lyrical jumpers on the block. What starts off as a fun competition becomes an unraveling of self-identity in a quickly changing neighborhood. What are young black boys to do when once holy ground is suddenly unsafe and uptownies have come to take over their block?
  • The Killing of Kings, February 28 - A story of tragedies set in the turbulent summer of 2016. Wherein, the divided state of America, a Black family surrounded by traumas, past and present, attempt to navigate to forgiveness as the patriarch returns home from prison.
  • Go Down Moses, March 28 - What does it mean to be an ally? It's 1985. Ethics Professor Philip Hoffman and Dean of Students Albert Becker marched side-by-side for civil rights, registered voters together during freedom summer, and maintain a friendship across boundaries of race, religion and country of birth. At their liberal university, they train the next crop of activists. But when a star student invites a controversial speaker to campus, free speech becomes a battle cry and still festering inequities are impossible to ignore.

Co-curator Nixon Cesar says the selection process "has been a wonderful experience. It granted me the chance to read some stunning plays on the BLM movement." His co-curator Dexter McKinney adds the process "has been therapeutic and inspiring. I'm looking forward to experiencing my favorite part of it all, the performance!"

Past notable BNWorks playwrights have included: Charles L. Mee, Donnetta Lavinia Grays, Stefanie Zadravec, Malcolm Tariq Kristoffer Diaz, and Erin Courtney and notable directors have included May Adrales, Tamilla Woodard, Lisa Peterson and Liesl Tommy.


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