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Zhailon Levingston to Direct 13th Annual FIRE THIS TIME FESTIVAL


The festival will feature World Premiere 10-minute plays by early career and under-represented playwrights from the African diaspora.

Zhailon Levingston to Direct 13th Annual FIRE THIS TIME FESTIVAL

FRIGID New York will present the 13th Annual The Fire This Time Festival at The Kraine Theater (85 East 4th Street between 2nd Avenue and Bowery), January 17-February 6, 2022. Performances will also be available to livestream from home. The festival will feature World Premiere 10-minute plays by early career and under-represented playwrights from the African diaspora. Information on additional festival programming will be forthcoming.

The 2022 Fire This Time Festival playwrights include Agyeiwaa Asante, Rachel Herron, Fedna Jacquet, Marcus Scott, Phillip Christian Smith and Lisa Rosetta Strum. Themes of the ten-minute plays include African Americans seeking their own brand of retribution after repeatedly being failed by the American justice system; the descendants of enslaved Africans living up to the sacrifices made by their ancestors to taste freedom; people of African descent being divided by a perceived scarcity of opportunities; relationships being tested by long-held assumptions about fidelity and the fluidity of sexuality; and Black women finding joy in their twilight years. All six 10-minute plays will be directed by Zhailon Levingston (Chicken and Biscuits on Broadway; Tina: The Tina Turner Musical on Broadway).

The OBIE Award winning 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 produced and developed the work of more than 80 playwrights including Katori Hall, Dominique Morisseau, Radha Blank, Antoinette Nwandu, Jocelyn Bioh, korde arrington tuttle, Stacey Rose, Aziza Barnes, C.A. Johnson, Kevin R. Free, Charly Evon Simpson, Angelica Cheri, James Anthony Tyler, Jordan Cooper and Nathan Yungerberg. The Fire This Time Festival recently collaborated with Center Theatre Group and Watts Village Theater Company to launch the initiative "It's Not A Moment, But A Movement" to amplify Black artists through three virtual events which paired playwrights, visual artists and musicians during 2021.

Wildest Dreams by Agyeiwaa Asante

For over 187 years Maybelle and Jimmy Dale have haunted the Mason plantation, a now popular tourist attraction and event venue. Tired of their time on this plane, they wonder what it'll take to get them to the other side.

Agyeiwaa Asante is a Ghanaian-American theatre artist based in Maryland. Her plays include Swirl (Kennedy Center's Page-to-Stage Festival 2017; Watermelon One- Act Festival- Best Production 2019), Help Wanted (Silver Spring One Act Festival; Elemental Women Productions) and Dainty (BOLD NYC's 2020 Festival). Most recently she was commissioned for UMD's NextNow Festival and Single Carrot Theatre and is the 2020 recipient of The Bret Adams and Paul Reisch Foundation's Ollie Award for emerging playwrights. She also works as a local dramaturg and assistant director. Agyeiwaa is the current Artistic Assistant at Round House Theatre and a member of D.C. Dramatists. B.A. in Theatre from the University of Maryland.

Red Red Wine by Rachel Herron

Somm was well on her way to becoming the first Black female Master Sommelier in the world, but she gave it all up to produce her own wine label. Now she's enlisted the help of her mentee, Mel, to help grow the brand; the only question is will Mel still be on board once she learns the secret ingredient in their bestselling red?

Rachel Herron is a playwright, performer, and freelance editorial writer living in Harlem. She received her BFA from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts, where she studied drama as well as dramatic writing. In 2019, she was a finalist for the CBS Writers Mentoring Program. Her satirical writing has been featured on McSweeney's Internet Tendency while her freelance editorials have been published by TV Guide, Bustle, and Elite Daily. In 2020, she competed in the Fresh Fruit Festival's Monologue Project, where she was awarded the audience favorite. She also participated in the virtual writer's room for the Playdate Theatre Development Conference in Los Angeles.

Gurlfriend (Black is Black) by Fedna Jacquet

Two black girls drinking wine and living their best lives. #BlackGurlMagic #UnapologeticAF. We get to see THEM--jokes and bruises on display. By leaving the world outside, these best friends are able to bond in a fresh and delightful way...but what happens when the ever-shrinking classification of blackness threatens to exclude one of them? We ride the bold and excruciatingly confusing rollercoaster of identity, friendship, and regret to a new destination unknown to both Lea and Tonya. #Drama

Fedna Jacquet was born in Boston to Haitian parents. She is a full-time writer and actor in NYC. She is a 2020-2022 National Black Theatre Playwright in Residence, 2019-2021 Huntington Theatre Playwriting Fellow, and a 2019 NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellow in Playwriting/Screenwriting. Written work for the screen includes Isaiah (ABFF/TVOne Screenplay Competition Finalist), Homebase (Juilliard/NYU Grad Acting), Inheritance (2020 Tribeca Chanel Through Her Lens Finalist), Circus (2020 HollyShorts Quarterfinalist) and Going Home. Written plays include Pefeksyon (Playwright's Realm Finalist; DVRF Finalist; Studio Tisch), Inheritance (Classical Theatre of Harlem Playwright's Playground; Studio Tisch), Civic Duty (Commissioned by SUNY Purchase), Gurlfriend (Black is Black) and Heroes (Developed as a Huntington Fellow). BA: Brown University MFA: NYU/Tisch Grad Acting.

Wookiees in The Wilderness by Marcus Scott

Bishop and Smokey are best pals. Smokey will do anything for Bishop, who is in the midst of recovering from a recent trauma. Bishop will do anything for Smokey including go out to the mountainside wilderness of the Lake of the Ozarks to prep him for his upcoming Wilderness Survival test for the Eagle Scouts. But as the sundown begins and night falls upon them, the boys are reminded to truly be prepared for anything. Wookiees in the Wilderness is a buddy drama about race, class, wasted potential, retaliation, Star Wars, and equal opportunity in Trump's America.

Marcus Scott's plays include Sibling Rivalries (2021 Semifinalist for Blue Ink Playwriting Award), Heartbeat Opera's Fidelio (Baruch Performing Arts Center), Tumbleweed (finalist for the 2017/2018 Humanitas Play LA Workshop, Playwrights Foundation's 2017 Bay Area Playwrights Festival and the 2017 Austin Playhouse Festival of New American Plays; semi-finalist for the 2017/2018 New Dramatists Princess Grace Fellowship Award), Cherry Bomb (recipient of Drama League's 2017 First Stage Artist In Residence; 2017 finalist for the Yale Institute for Music Theatre), Malaise (2017 DUAF at Cherry Lane Theater), Blood Orange (2018 DUAF at Theater 80 St. Marks), among others.

Mount Sinai by Phillip Christian Smith

Gladys and Minerva, casual chemo friends, discuss life, the south, children, and the handsome cancer patient in Room A. Has Gladys finally fallen in with the bad girls in her twilight years?

Phillip Christian Smith is a 2020-2021 Playwrights Realm Writing Fellow, Lambda Literary Fellow, Winter Playwrights Retreat, Blue Ink Playwriting Award Semi-Finalist, Finalist for The Dramatists Guild Fellowship and New Dramatists Finalist and Semi-finalist PlayPenn, Two time Semi-finalist for The O'Neill (NPC), Semi-finalist Barrington Stage Burman Award, and runner-up in The Theatre of Risk Modern Tragedy writing competition for his play The Chechens, which also won Theatre Conspiracy's playwriting award, and will be produced in their 2021-2022 season. He has been a semi-finalist for Shakespeare's New Contemporaries (ASC), finalist for Trustus, playwright in residence of Exquisite Corpse and founding member of The Playwriting Collective. His work has been supported by Primary Stages (Cherry Lane) ESPA, Fresh Ground Pepper, the 53rd Street New York Public Library, and Forge. MFA Yale School of Drama, BFA University of New Mexico.

By the way... by Lisa Rosetta Strum

Two best friends have been quarantined for the past month. When one of the friends reveals their true feelings for the other, perceptions, prejudices and fears get exposed and a friendship could be changed forever.

Lisa Rosetta Strum is a writer, director, actor, solo performer and educator. Her solo play, She Gon' Learn premiered at the Emerging Artist Theatre Festival at TADA!, followed by sold out performances at the United Solo Festival on Theatre Row in NYC where the play received one of the festival's Best Solo Show Awards. Lisa was a Finalist for the Doric Wilson Independent Playwright Award and was the recipient of the Playwrights Initiative Fellowship at the Djerassi Resident Artists Program. As an actor Lisa received a Broadway World Award for Best Actress in the regional production of Fences at The Rep at the University of Delaware, and she has appeared in Talking Peace, and many other productions.

Zhailon Levingston (Director) is a Louisiana-raised storyteller, director, and activist. He is the Director of Industry Initiatives for the Broadway Advocacy Coalition. His directing credits include: Neptune (Dixon Place; Provincetown Theatre), The Years That Went Wrong (The Lark; MCC), The Exonerated (Columbia Law School), Chariot Part 2 (Soho Rep for The Movement Theatre Company), Mother of Pearl (LaGuardia Performing Arts Center). He is the co-director of Reconstruction with Tony Award-winner Rachel Chavkin. Zhailon is the resident director at Tina: The Tina Turner Musical on Broadway, the associate director of Hadestown in South Korea, and is currently directing Chicken and Biscuits on Broadway.

FRIGID New York's mission is to provide both emerging and established artists the opportunity to create and produce original work without limit to content, form, or style, and to amplify their diverse voices. We do this by presenting an array of monthly programming, mainstage productions, an artist residency, and seven annual theater festivals that create an environment of collaboration, resourcefulness, and innovation. Founded in 1998, the aim was and is to form a structure, allowing multiple artists to focus on creating and staging new work and providing affordable rental space to scores of Independent artists. Now in our third decade we have produced a massive quantity of stimulating downtown theater.

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