Article Pixel

Written by Howard L. Craft and presented by StreetSigns, Freight: The Five Incarnations of Abel Green Green tells the story of an African American male who exists in five different dimensions of the same universe at different points in American history.

In each incarnation -- minstrel, cult leader, FBI informant, struggling actor, out-of-work mortgage broker -- Abel finds himself stuck somewhere between the American Dream and the American Nightmare. As he navigates very gray areas, we witness the trials of a man trying to make decisions that will let him survive in what the great African American poet Claude McKay referred to as "this cultured hell that tests my youth."

"There is a deep satisfaction in the opportunity to present this particular story, right now," says StreetSigns artistic director Joseph Megel, who also directs Freight. "Howard has done a masterful job crafting a nuanced piece of work for the stage that offers an intimate look at significant moments in American history as lived by an African-American man. We need this conversation. And we need it now."

Freight is a one-person show that began with a short work, The Minstrel, performed by J. Alphonse Nicholson in the "Activated Art at the Ackland" series. Nicholson returns to the role, which he premiered in January in Chapel Hill, NC.

Freight: The Five Incarnations of Abel Green features J. Alphonse Nicholson; written by Howard L. Craft; directed by Joseph Megel; sets by Daniel Ettinger; video and sound design by Eamonn Farell; lights by Kathy A. Perkins; costumes by Marissa Erickson; presented by StreetSigns, in association with New Dog Theatre Company, at HERE Arts Center as part of SubletSeries@HERE, a curated rental program providing artists with subsidized space and equipment, as well as technical support.

Performance Schedule:
Friday, July 24 @ 8.30pm - * preview
Saturday, July 25 @ 8.30pm - opening
Sunday, July 26 @ 4pm - *matinee performance
Tuesday, July 28 @ 8.30pm
Wednesday, July 29 @8.30pm
Thursday, July 30 @ 8.30pm
Friday, July 31 @ 8.30pm
Saturday, Aug. 1 @ 8.30pm
Sunday, Aug. 2 @ 4pm - *matinee performance
Tuesday, Aug. 4 @ 8.30pm
Wednesday, Aug. 5 @ 8.30pm
Thursday, Aug. 6 @ 8.30pm
Friday, Aug. 7 @ 8.30pm
Saturday, Aug. 8 @ 4pm - *matinee performance
Saturday, Aug. 8 @ 8.30
Sunday, Aug. 9 @ 8.30pm

Performances take place at HERE Arts Center (145 6th Avenue, New York, NY). Enter on Dominic Street, one block south of Spring Street. C/E trains to Spring Street, 1 train to Canal. For more information, go to


Howard L. Craft (playwright)
Craft is a poet, playwright, and arts educator. His plays include: Caleb Calypso and the Midnight Marauders, The House of George, Stealing Clouds, and a children's musical entitled Indigo Blue, which debuted in December 2013 at the Walltown Children's Theatre of Durham, NC. Craft's 2010 play, Jade City Chronicles, Vol. 1 sparked Craft and WUNC radio host Frank Stasio to create the first African-American Super Hero Radio Serial entitled The Jade City Pharaoh, currently recording its third season. Craft teaches creative writing in colleges, public and private schools, and to adults through the North Carolina Writers Network, Duke Center for Documentary Studies, and various arts councils and organizations. An accomplished writer, Craft has received the N.C. Arts Council Playwriting Fellowship, a Durham Arts Council Emerging Artist Grant, and is a two-time recipient of the N.C. Central University New Play Project award, as well as numerous commissions from universities and professional theaters.

Joseph Megel (director, artistic director of StreetSigns)
Megel is artist in residence in Performance Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's Department of Communication Studies where he runs the Process Series: New Works in Development. He is Co-Executive Director of Harland's Creek Productions, producer of new plays, screenplays, and short films. Directorial credits include: Guillermo Reyes's Men on the Verge of a Hispanic Breakdown in its Off-Broadway production (Outer Critics Circle Award) and in Los Angeles (Best Director Ovation Award nomination, Best Production Award winner); Jennifer Maisel's The Last Seder at EST West in Los Angeles, Theatre J in Washington, D.C., The Organic Theatre in Chicago (winner of the Kennedy Center's Fund for New American Plays Grant); Elisabeth Lewis Corley's adaptation of The Miser at Duke University; and Derek Goldman's adaptation of Studs Terkel's Will The Circle Be Unbroken in Chapel Hill and Washington, D.C. (starring David Strathairn, Theodore Bikel, and Kathleen Chalfant). With Christine Evans and Jared Mezzocchi, he developed Christine Evans's You Are Dead. You Are Here., directing its first workshop production at HERE. For Manbites Dog, in Durham, NC, Megel directed The Best of Enemies, The Brothers Size, The Goat, and Nixon's Nixon. Recent direction for StreetSigns includes: Blood Knot, Poetic Portraits of a Revolution, Dream Boy, and White People.

J. Alphonse Nicholson (actor)
Nicholson emerged as an actor and musician six years ago after his debut as the lead in Howard L. Craft's Caleb Calypso and the Midnight Marauders. He has received numerous awards for his work on community and regional stages. Recent NYC credits include: The Uncanny Valley (Brick Theater), Dominique Morisseau's Autumn's Harvest (Lincoln Center). Regional: The Making of a King: Henry IV & Henry V, The Parchman Hour, A Raisin In the Sun (Playmakers Rep); The Piano Lesson (Cape Fear Regional Theatre); The Whipping Man (ArtsCenter Carrboro); The Minstrel (Activated Art at the Ackland); Blood Knot (StreetSigns), The Brothers Size (Manbites Dog); Redghost, Harriet Jacobs, Jade City Chronicles Vol. 1., Our Town (Little Green Pig). He will be appearing September 1 - September 20, 2015 at Actors Theatre of Louisville in August Wilson's Seven Guitars.

StreetSigns Center for Literature and Performance is an award winning professional performing arts and educational center based in Chatham County, North Carolina. Founded in Chicago in 1992, StreetSigns has presented nearly fifty productions in its twenty-year history. StreetSigns has worked in partnership with Northwestern University, the Department of Communication Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Georgetown University, always dedicated to the development and presentation of new literary adaptations, company-created theatrical works, innovative new plays, and bold re-imaginings of classics. StreetSigns is committed to celebrating its region's rich oral and written traditions and to engaging cultural and political issues through performance.

New Dog Theatre introduces theatre raised and praised elsewhere to a New York audience. New Dog is all about new theatre. Founded in 2013, New Dog's first production was Chris Clavelli's solo-show, A Little More Than You Wanted to Spend. New Dog believes good theatre developed elsewhere deserves a chance to be seen in New York. It is ever on the look-out for new voices speaking to and capturing the American experience.

Related Articles View More Off-Off-Broadway Stories   Shows

More Hot Stories For You