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Vogel's BARD Announces Two New Plays and Casting for HOW TO RAISE A FREEMAN


All Bard productions will be available for streaming over the course of the entire 2021-22 season.

Vogel's BARD Announces Two New Plays and Casting for HOW TO RAISE A FREEMAN

Two new plays and casting for the first production of BARD AT THE GATE have been announced by the online series' co-curators, the award-winning playwright Paula Vogel and Nicole A.

Watson, associate artistic director of McCarter Theatre Center, which presents this second rendition of as part of the McCarter season. The announcement also includes premiere streaming dates for all BARD AT THE GATE productions in 2021-22.

All Bard productions will be available for streaming over the course of the entire 2021-22 season, unlike the debut season when Bard productions were on view for two weeks.

Lloyd Suh's Charles Francis CHAN JR.'S EXOTIC ORIENTAL MURDER MYSTERY and Dipika Guha's PASSING join two previously announced plays - HOW TO RAISE A FREEMAN by Zakiyyah Alexander and José Rivera's SONNETS FOR AN OLD CENTURY - in the 2021-22 rundown.

Charles Francis CHAN, opening January 26, 2022, is directed by Mr. Suh's frequent collaborator, Ralph Peña of the award-winning Ma-Yi Theater. Suh's new work is set in 1967 Berkeley where grad student Frank Chan and his activist girlfriend Kathy Ching are staging a revolution against the backdrop of the War in Vietnam and the Civil Rights Movement. What results is a trip through the history of Asians in America - from the ancestral railways to the legacy of Charlie Chan stereotypes - ending in an orientalist minstrel show, and murder. Casting TBA.

PASSING by Dipika Guha is set on an imaginary island (inside a theatre, inside a church) where a play is happening. In the play, an ill-matched British couple Clara and Sidney are living a charmed life isolated from the indigenous population. That is, until a bloody and brutalized child appears on their property and in their lives. PASSING is a poetic confrontation with colonization; a witnessing of history which resists erasure.

The production will premiere on March 9 and will be directed by Nicole A. Watson. Casting TBA.

The second season of BARD AT THE GATE will kick off November 3 at 7:30pm ET with the stream of Zakiyyah Alexander's play HOW TO RAISE A FREEMAN, directed by Reginald L. Douglas. A drama about living Black in a White America where every 28 hours a Black Man is killed by police, the play poses the question - how does a middle-class family teach their son to stay alive?

The cast of HOW TO RAISE A FREEMAN features Aric Floyd, Malcolm Barrett, Michelle Wilson, Francois Battiste, Jamie Lincoln Smith, Veanne Cox and Ben Horwitz.

Zakiyyah Alexander is the author of 10 THINGS TO DO BEFORE I DIE (Second Stage). Reginald L. Douglas is associate artistic director at Studio Theatre in Washington, DC, where he directed an acclaimed revival of Dael Orlandersmith's UNITL THE FLOOD.

Nicole A. Watson states, "We are thrilled that Paula's inspired series Bard at the Gate, has found a home at the McCarter. Zakiyyah's How to Raise a Freeman compels us with humor and truth to examine how we raise our Black boys in America. It is always bittersweet when the 'timeliness' of a play is wrapped up in our moral failure to correct racial injustice. The gift of Bard's second season is this continued artistic reckoning that I hope will be shared with audiences far and wide."

"As we reopen our theatres," Paula Vogel notes, "so should we repurpose our living rooms, classrooms, iPads and offices for theatre: anywhere there is a laptop, or a cell phone, there too are new plays. Bard at the Gate curates NEW PLAYS which were ahead of their times, and new plays which create new audiences. We are so proud to collaborate with Nicole Watson and the McCarter Theatre to present you season two."

A December 1 opening date has also been announced for the second production of the BARD season -- SONNETS FOR AN OLD CENTURY by Jose Rivera. Directed by the playwright, SONNETS is set in the afterlife: 18 total strangers face the unknown and answer the question - if you had one statement to make about your life, if you had one last story to tell the universe, what would it say? Casting TBA.

The previously announced BARD production GOOD GOODS is no longer on the season roster.

Created by the Pulitzer Prize and Tony nominated playwright Paula Vogel (HOW I LEARNED TO DRIVE, INDECENT) at the height of the lockdown in 2020, BARD AT THE GATE produces virtual readings of unseen, little-known or underappreciated plays deserving of a wider audience. The series enjoyed considerable success last year, with productions of Eisa Davis's BULRUSHER, Meg Miroshnik's THE DROLL, or the END of Theatre, Dan LeFranc's ORIGIN STORY and Kermit Frazier's KERNEL OF SANITY.

Rosey Strub is Producer of BARD AT THE GATE. Milan Eldridge is Production Manager, Editing and video by ViDCo. (Jared Mezzocchi, Tori Schuchmann, Deja Collins, Shoshanah Tarkow).

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