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The Fire This Time Festival Presents Inaugural Alumni Spotlight: Roger Q. Mason

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The presentation stars Wayne Brady, Larry Owens, and more.

The Fire This Time Festival Presents Inaugural Alumni Spotlight: Roger Q. Mason

The Obie Award winning The Fire This Time Festival (TFTT), in collaboration with FRIGID New York, launches its inaugural Alumni Spotlight through a virtual presentation of four performance works written by award-winning queer African-American playwright/performer Roger Q. Mason (he/they) during their time as a resident of TFTT or shortly thereafter.

The presentation stars Wayne Brady (Let's Make a Deal, The Wayne Brady Show), Larry Owens (A Strange Loop, Paid off with Michael Torpey), Pierre Jean Gonzalez (Broadway's Hamilton, The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity), artist and activist Ianne Fields Stewart (The Bold Type, The Feels, Messiah), Adam Hyndman (Hadestown, Once On This Island) and Gillian Williams (David Makes Man, The Girlfriend Experience).

The evening is directed by Taibi Magar (Blue Ridge, The Great Leap, Is God Is), June Carryl (The Life and Death Of), Larry Powell (The Brothers Size at USC, creator of the webseries The Gaze: No Homo) and Zhailon Levingston (Tina: The Tina Turner Musical, Chickens & Biscuits, A Burning Church). The Alumni Spotlight will premiere live streamed on Tuesday, November 24, 2020, at 8pm ET via a link provided on The Fire This Time Festival's website.

The new Alumni Spotlight initiative amplifies the work of talented African-American TFTT playwrights who have yet to receive a major Off-Broadway debut. In addition to performances of Mason's work, the spotlight will feature appearances by Pulitzer-winning playwright Lynn Nottage; award-winning playwright, director and actor Kevin Free (Is He Dead, Night of the Living N-Word); and Lucille Lortel Award-nominated actress/singer L Morgan Lee (A Strange Loop) who will offer words in celebration of Mason. Immediately following the livestream, there will be an online talkback with Mason, Julius Powell, and Larry Powell.

The livestream stars Wayne Brady, Larry Owens, Pierre Jean Gonzalez, Ianne Fields Stewart, Adam Hyndman and Gillian Williams. The plays will be directed by Taibi Magar, June Carryl, Larry Powell and Zhailon Levingston. The evening is produced by Cezar Williams for The Fire This Time Festival with consulting producers Lovell Holder and Adam Hyndman. Original music is by David Gonzalez.

The program will consist of the short play Hard Palate; excerpts from Mason's full-length works The Duat and The White Dress; and a new short spoken word piece He Needed Help, written and performed by Mason.

Hard Palate

Nominated for the New York Innovative Theatre Award, this play centers on, two black gay men Quentin (Larry Owens) and Clayton (Pierre Jean Gonzalez), whose hookup unleashes a flood of fear and shame (personified as "Brooke Shields" by Gillian Williams) that ultimately gives way to unapologetic queer love. Zhailon Levingston directs.

The White Dress

A finalist for the Screencraft Play Award and Lark Playwrights' Week, The White Dress is a genderqueer coming-of-age story for the they/them generation. In the excerpted scene, Jonathan (Adam Hyndman) and Winnie (Ianne Fields Stewart) explore life outside the gender binary when Winnie reveals that they have begun binding. June Carryl directs.

The Duat

A former FBI COINTELPRO informant (Wayne Brady), wrestles with personal and civic demons in the Egyptian afterlife upon his demise. Taibai Magar directs.

He Needed Help

Writer/performer Roger Q. Mason shares a new work, created specifically for The Fire This Time Festival's Alumni Spotlight, based upon his/their experience battling food addiction, body dysmorphia, and familial trauma growing up in Los Angeles, CA. Larry Powell directs.

Roger Q. Mason (he/they) is an award-winning writer, performer and educator known for using history's lens to highlight the biases that separate rather than unite us. Mason's playwriting has been seen on Broadway at Circle in the Square (Circle Reading Series); Off/Off-Off-Broadway at New York Theatre Workshop, The Fire This Time Festival, New Group, American Theatre of Actors, Flea Theatre, and Access Theater; and regionally at McCarter Theatre, Victory Gardens, Chicago Dramatists, Steep Theatre, Serenbe Playhouse, EST/LA, Son of Semele, and Skylight Theatre. Mason is an honoree of the Kilroys List; the recipient of the Chuck Rowland Pioneer Award and the Hollywood Fringe Festival Encore Producers Award; a finalist for the Geffen Writers' Room, Lark Playwright's Week and the Screencraft Play Award; and a semi-finalist for the Page 73 Playwright Fellowship. Mason's films have screened at Outshine Film Festival and the Pan African Film Festival. They've been recognized by the AT&T Film Award and Atlanta International Film Festival. He/they hold degrees from Princeton University, Middlebury College, and Northwestern University.

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