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The Fire This Time Festival Comes To The Kraine Theater January 20-February 2

The Fire This Time Festival, the destination for early career and emerging playwrights from the African diaspora, announces its 2020 dates. The 14-day festival, presented in collaboration with FRIGID New York, which annually honors Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. will take place from January 20 to February 2, 2020. This year, seven commissioned dramatists will be presented in repertoire as part of the annual celebration held at the Kraine Theater in the East Village.

Sadly, the Black theater community lost an integral member of its community. Thus, The Fire This Time Festival will dedicate this season, Season 11, to Christine Jean Chambers, a playwright and photographer, who passed away on December 4, 2019 at the age of 39. "Christine was not only a brilliant playwright, and invaluable supporter of The Fire This Time, she was a sister in every since of the word," says Kelley Girod, founder of The Fire This Time Festival. She adds, "Her photography will live with us forever, as will her spirit. Christine's fire burned bright like The Fire This Time, and like the festival, will continue to illuminate and enlighten the stories and subjects we honor. Through our work, we honor her memory."

The featured playwrights -- Cyrus Aaron, Niccolo Aeed, Natyna Bean, Tyler English-Beckwith, Jay Mazyck, Deneen Reynolds-Knott, and Mario (Mars) Wolfe -- in TFTT's signature ten-minute play program wrestle with the pressing social issues that Black and brown communities have grappled with for decades. Some of the themes to be explored in January will include facing change as gentrification makes its way into a community; the psychological toll and skyrocketing costs of being a patient in the antepartum unit at a hospital in the U.S.; Afro-futurism and dystopia through the lens of environmental devastation; and, how we as a society benefit by affirming the lives Black trans women.

The festival includes the flagship 10-minute play program featuring the world premiere of seven ten-minute plays by Cyrus Aaron, Niccolo Aeed, Natyna Bean,Tyler English-Beckwith, Jay Mazyck, Deneen Reynolds-Knott and Mario (Mars) Wolfe, developmental readings of full-length plays by season 10 playwrights, and a panel discussion.

Ebony Noelle Golden is directing the 10-Minute Play Program. Golden's credits include "125th and FREEdom," "Zoohouse," "Routes: The Dallas Project", "In The Name Of...", "Dat Black Mermaid Man Lady" and the upcoming "Jubilee in the Morning." She is also the founding CEO and principal strategist of Betty's Daughter Arts Collaborative, a New York City-based culture consultancy and arts accelerator.

The Acting Company of the 10-minute Play Program includes James Edward Becton ("#WhatDoesFreedomMean," "Dress of Fire," "The Bacchae"), Cary Hite ("Hell and High Water," "Side Effects May Vary," "Two Trains Running"), Ianne Fields Stewart ("Messiah," "Sex Play," "Bring It On," "The Feels"), Paris Cymone ("In The Name Of," "125th and FREEdom," "The Death of the Last Black Man In The Whole Entire World") Trevor Latez Hayes ("125th and FREEdom", "Last Stop On Market Street," "The Hunting Season"), Joshua Josey ("Peter and the Starcatcher," "Summer's Soldier," "48Hours...In Harlem") and Mizz June ("The Red Shades," "And She Would Stand Like This," "Reckonings: Furies From A Queer Nation") and Lori Minor (" Harlem," and the upcoming "Skinfolk") .

The 10 Minute-Play Program will include sound design by James Mascioveccio, lighting design by Joey Neill, Scenic Design is by Marissa Stamps, and Morgan Johnson is the Production Stage Manager.

Schedule of Events

All events will be held at the Kraine Theater (85 E. 4th St., in New York City) unless otherwise noted. Tickets are available for purchase at

Monday, Jan 20, 2020 - 7pm, Free

Lifting As You Climb: Mentoring, Mentorship and Bridging the Divide in Theater

In the deepening generational divide, how can emerging artists eager to connect and access opportunities find mentorship from midcareer and established artists across disciplines in the theater? In this panel discussion we will be collaborating with the organization Creatives of Color Collective and its founder, Lauren F. Walker, to also explore ways to break down barriers that have existed between generations and examine how artists of all ages can learn from and empower each other.

Thursday, Jan 23; Friday Jan 24, Sat Jan 25 - 7pm, $20

11th Annual 10-Minute Play Program

directed by Ebony Noelle Golden


By Cyrus Aaron

Things are heating up outside, and two middle-aged men take a familiar spot in their neighborhood and shoot the breeze. They must face the fact that everything around them is changing, drastically, but the one thing they intend to keep is their perspective.

One Morning Soon

By Niccolo Aeed

"One Morning Soon" is about what happens after a Messiah is killed. It follows a community of believers as the messiah's religion grows and twists and changes. It's a play for anyone who wonders: why hasn't God saved us yet?

Assumed Positions

By Natyna Bean

During the first night in her new home, Naya discovers how easily a little distance can create a huge impact. When she finds herself arrested by the sudden shifts of someone she previously believed to know even better than herself, she is faced with the conundrum of whether or not she is willing - or able - to get to know this newfound stranger.

Maya and Rivers

By Tyler English-Beckwith

Maya and Rivers are from a dead earth in search of a new life. They find it together, on the moon.

If Men Were Flowers

By Jay Mazyck

Three flowers and a tree have noticed that the plants in their garden has been decreasing in numbers. As their vitality is put into question, they realize their sweet Gardner, Dalia, is hiding a truth that will shake the very ground they call their home.


By Deneen Reynolds-Knott

Two pregnant women navigate bedrest and broken expectations in a hospital's Antepartum Unit.

I Wish I Could P. (Pay It No Mind)

by Mario (Mars) Wolfe

Ariel and Jamil consider the next steps in their future, while Marsha P. Johnson shepherds the lost back home.

Sunday, Jan 26, 2020 - 5:30pm, $5

Shoppin' for N.I.G.G.A.S, a full length play reading

by Garlia Jones

Paul Joseph and Guinivere answer an ad in Essence for what they believe to be Ms. Yasha's dating service and find "Shoppin' for N.I.G.G.A.S" a dating service insisting that every black woman needs a N.I.G.G.A. and that every black man is one.

Monday, Jan 27, 2020 - 7pm, $5

can i touch it?, a full-length play reading

by Francisca Da Silveira

Directed by Kimille Howard

Shay is many things - a business owner, a single mom, a community leader - but there's one thing she's definitely not: a pawn in United Bank's efforts to buy up foreclosed real estate in the heart of Boston's black community. At risk of losing her own store to the bank, she is forced to choose between a personal fight for her family's livelihood and a moral fight against gentrification. When pushed to her limits, Shay finds herself in the fantastical peaceful place where women of color have to recede into when they get asked stupid ass questions. Using devices like double casting through onstage wig changes, can i touch it? examines themes of black hair politics, social exclusion and the racial inequity black owned businesses face every day.

Tuesday, Jan 28, 2020 - 7pm, $5

Covenant, a full-length play reading

by York Walker

Two years after his sudden disappearance, a guitar player returns to his small town as a blues star, setting into motion rumors that he may have made a deal with the devil to attain his musical genius. Based on the myth of Robert Johnson, Covenant explores the power of belief and tests the thin veil between rumor and truth.

Wednesday, Jan 29, 2020 - 7pm, $5

Hairy and Sherri, a full-length play reading

by Adrienne Dawes

Directed by Melissa Crespo

Hairy and Sherri (Sharon) are an "adorkable" interracial couple living in gentrified East Austin. When they very graciously and very publicly open their home to Ryshi, a 12-year-old former foster care youth with special needs, Hairy and Sherri are confronted with the ugly realities of their marriage and "good" intentions.

"Hairy & Sherri" is a dark comedy that exposes the limitations of the Texas foster care system and the evils of very well-intentioned people. The play was developed at PlySpace's artist-in-residence program (supported in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts) and featured in the recent NYTimes article "Retreating for the Summer, but Not Heading Backwards."

Thursday, Jan 30, 2020 - 7pm, $5

Sisterhood in the Time of the Apocalypse, a full length play reading

by Kendra Augustin

Directed by Niccolo Aeed

Sisters Annie and Margaret lose and find one another as the world is ending. This is a full length version of a play that was presented as a 10-minute play in TFTT season 10.

Friday, Jan 31 and Saturday Feb 1 at 7pm; Sunday Feb 2, 2020 at 3pm, $20

11th Annual 10-Minute Play program

The Fire This Time Festival was founded in 2009 by Kelley Girod to provide a platform for playwrights of African and African-American descent to write and produce evocative material for diverse audiences. Since the debut of the first 10-minute play program in 2010, presented in collaboration with FRIGID New York, The Fire This Time Festival has expanded into an annual theater festival which includes a flagship 10-minute play program, staged readings, a panel discussion and other programs.

Notable playwrights whose work has been featured by The Fire This Time Festival over the past decade include Katori Hall, Dominique Morisseau, Marcus Gardley, Jordan E. Cooper; Antoinette Nwandu, Jocelyn Bioh, Ngozi Anyanu; Patricia Ione Lloyd; Korde Tuttle; James Anthony Tyler; Jireh Breon Holder; Aziza Barnes; Charly Evon Simpson; and Jonathan Payne.

FRIGID New York at The Kraine Theater is a theater development group dedicated to incubating and producing boundary pushing theater all year round at its East Village base. FRIGID New York is an outgrowth of the annual FRIGID Festival, a self-sustaining theater development and management group.

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