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Casting Announced for the World Premiere of TAMBO & BONES

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The cast also includes Brendan Dalton (Plano, Blue Man Group) and Dean Linnard (Time Temple, The Winter’s Tale).

Casting Announced for the World Premiere of TAMBO & BONES

Playwrights Horizons and Center Theatre Group will present Dave Harris' Tambo & Bones, directed by Taylor Reynolds, January 12-February 20, 2022 (opening January 31) in Playwrights Horizons' Mainstage Theater before being produced at Center Theatre Group's Kirk Douglas Theatre, May 1 - 29, 2022 (opening May 8). Opening, as Harris' stage directions describe, in "a fake ass pasture" with "some fake ass trees and a fake ass bush" and "a fake ass sky with a fake ass sun" and "a lil bit of fake ass grass," Tambo & Bones follows two characters who realize they've been written into a minstrel show. Their escape plan: get out, get bank, get even.

A rags-to-riches hip-hop odyssey, Tambo & Bones roasts American capitalism's desire for certain Black narratives, highlighting the narrow confines within which Black characters are placed. As Tambo and Bones test the limits of the frameworks they're given, Harris' play wrestles with the country's racist past and present, and explodes its post-racial future-such that the stakes, for characters deemed less-than- human, becomes the fate of humanity itself.

Tambo & Bones was conceived as Harris considered his artistic origins doing poetry slams, and how he often found, in this competitive setting, an expectation for Black artists to revisit and present trauma-often in front of snapping, largely white audiences. Affirming these expectations became a currency. He describes, "I was working through this and thinking through minstrelsy as the beginning of Black fictive imaginations and Black performative capitalism. Minstrelsy is so demonized in society, but it was also a pathway to freedom for so many performers. So much of this play is about individual agency and upwards mobility within these given systems. And once you have the freedom to create your own world, what then are you reaching for? In my play, the characters' relationship to the playwright is: 'You had the possibility to dream up any world you could have and the extent of your imagination was to put us in a minstrel show? You're doing this, why?'"

Harris writes, in a Playwright's Perspective, "Every writer I know is a fucking liar. Some think this is radical political work. Some think writing is to channel the ancestors. But all of this is just tactic. This was the realization that made me stop doing poetry slams and start to focus on theater. Spoken word capitalizes on an idea of the authentic identity. The real person. Look at that poet performing their raw truth. But here, in this theater, all of us know that every second of this experience is fake. And there is infinite possibility in that reality. And the pleasure is in the possibility."

In Reynolds' world premiere production, W. Tré Davis (Seared, Zooman and the Sign) and Tyler Fauntleroy (Tempest, "Succession") play the titular characters. The performers are tasked with nothing less than hurtling the show into new genres, forms, and eras with a relentless, combustible energy - all while giving emotional complexity and uncontainable nuance to characters trapped within crude archetypes. Harris is keenly aware of what's being asked of performers: this is central to the play, as is the question of what storytellers reify with their words.

Taylor Reynolds says, "I love to dive into plays I can't solve on my own. This piece requires so much of actors emotionally, physically, and draws on such a wide set of skills. They've got to be a part of the conversation of the music and the physicality of who these characters are because they go so many places stylistically."

Playwrights Horizons Artistic Director Adam Greenfield says, "Playwrights Horizons exists to advance new playwriting, and to expand our notion of how theater can behave. Our name is our purpose: to follow the future, the horizon, that playwrights create for us. With Tambo & Bones, Dave Harris crafts a wildly funny story, whisking us through genres and worlds, into the past and through to the future. But it also manages to interrogate the event of theater itself. As Tambo and Bones fight the grotesque tropes of their world, their attention turns to who put them there in the first place: the playwright, the producer, the audience. This play is unlike any other play I know."

The cast also includes Brendan Dalton (Plano, Blue Man Group) as X-BOT 2 and Dean Linnard (Time Temple, The Winter's Tale) as X-BOT 1. The creative team includes Stephanie Osin Cohen (Scenic Designer), Dominique Fawn Hill (Costume Designer), Amith Chandrashaker (Lighting Designer), Mikhail Fiksel (Sound Designer), Justin Ellington (Composer), John C. Moore (Stage Manager), and Bryan Bauer (Assistant Stage Manager).

Playwrights Horizons' Commitment to Health and Safety

To best protect audiences, artists, and staff members, Playwrights Horizons will require all audience members to provide proof of vaccination and wear face masks, in accordance with New York City mandates and the latest CDC guidance. Additionally, the theater's ventilation system complies with the CDC's standards (MERV-13 filters), high-touch surfaces are being cleaned regularly, and paperless ticketing will be offered for all performances.

Playwrights Horizons encourages anyone interested in getting vaccinated to visit this site for guidance.

Performance Schedule and Ticketing

Tambo & Bones runs January 12 - February 20 and officially opens on January 31. There will be post-performance discussions with members of the creative team and Playwrights artistic staff following January 18, 23, and 25's evening performances. An audio description matinee will take place on February 13.

Tickets are on sale to the general public today at https://my.playwrightshorizons.org/events.


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