Iron Age Theatre Presents THE SLAVE, 10/9

Iron Age Theatre will be presenting LeRoi Jones/Amiri Baraka's "THE SLAVE" on October 9 at the Centre Theater at 8:00pm.

This controversial classic by one of America's greatest African American Playwrights has been chosen to appear at The Philly Urban Theatre Festival and Iron Age Theatre has decided to extend its run to offer the production on the Norristown Arts Hill.

"The Slave" tells the story of a broken inter-racial family who tries to come to terms with their relationships as a racial revolution is happening on the streets around them. The play if a metaphor for our national struggles with race, extremism and love.

Walker Vessels, a young intellectual late of the white college scene leads a rebellion of blacks against the establishment. As his campaign comes towardan apparent victory and his army is shelling the city, Walker decides to see his ex Caucasian wife and her new husband. As the army approaches and the bombs fall around them, the three characters, Grace, Vessels' estranged wife, Easley, Walkers old College professor Grace's new husband, and Vessels himself drop bombs of their own. Vessels is determined to take the children from his marriage with Grace away from her and all three struggle with their sense of betrayal, righteousness and loss.

This politically charged production offers an intense look at the issues of race and more: the issues of extremism and violence. The clever mixture of philosophy, argument and relational trauma make the play an emotional thrill ride as well as a piece to be mused over.

Director John Doyle again collaborates with nationally recognized collage artist Theodore Harris for the production design of the play. "We are lucky to be able to access Mr Harris again. His work and it passionate political overtones underscores the play." Harris has published a book with Baraka.

Iron Age Theatre ignites the war of words in this rarely produced shocker from one of African American Theatre's most controversial playwrights.

"We have been waiting to produce this play since our 2002 production of Baraka's "The Dutchman" which made the cover of Theatre Journal." stated Doyle.

The play features Richard Bradford as Walker Vessels Bradford has been seen all over the region in works including THE LIFE OF John Henry, JUNETEENTH, A SOLDIER'S PLAY, THE COLORED MUSEUM and many more. He recently performed Baraka's "The Dutchman" at the Philadelphia Fringe Festival. He has worked extensively at Freedom theatre in DEATH OF THE BLACK JESUS, STREAMERS, TWELFTH NIGHT, RAISIN IN THE SUN, FENCES, A.B.R., ANNA IN THE TROPICS and WIT. Lesley Berkowitz appearing as Grace, is an alumna of Dell'Arte International and Muhlenberg College and has appeared rnationally in productions including Waterbears in Space, Marilyn Monroe has Sex for the Last Time with Groucho Marx, As You Like It, Romeo &Juliet, Midsummer Nights Dream,The Complete Works Abrgdand Very Like A Whale. Bob Weick brings Bradford Easley to lite. Weick has worked with Philadelphia Theatre Company, Arden Theatre, South Camden Theatre Co., Phila. Young Playwrights, ESP, Triangle Theatre, Prior Circumstances, Theatre Outlet Nice People Theatre and Civic Theatre. He has been touring the nation since 2004 with Howard Zinn's Marx in Soho with more than 200 performances in almost every state.

Amiri Baraka, born in 1934, in Newark, New Jersey, USA, is the author of over 40 books of essays, poems, drama, and music history and criticism, a poet icon and revolutionary political activist who has recited poetry and lectured on cultural and political issues extensively in the USA, the Caribbean, Africa, and Europe. He was removed from his post as Poet Laureate of New Jersey in 2002 as a result of his controversial poem, "Somebody Blew Up America."

The second annual Philly Urban Theatre Festival is the brainchild of playwright/director Kash Goin's and features 50 performances, including 13 new plays and one classic work by a variety of local playwrights. The festival runs from September 19th to October 9th at all three stages at the Adrienne theatre in Philadelphia.

"Iron Age Theatre is honored to be a part of Kash Goins' Urban festival. It is thrilling to bring our work into the company of so many other amazing new plays." stated Doyle.

Iron Age Theatre has been part of the Philadelphia theatre scene for almost 20 years. Iron Age began its relationship with the Fringe Festival in 2002 with Baraka's Dutchman, featured on the cover of Theatre Journal. Based at the Center Theatre in Norristown, they brought a multitude of plays to packed houses during previous Fringe Festivals including works ranging from the east coast premiere of the hilarious and irreverent Shakesploitation to Waiting for the Ship from Delos by Steve Hatzai at the American Philosophic Society. The Iron Age production of Howard Zinn's Marx in Soho, first performed at the 2004 Fringe Festival, has gone on to tour the nation for the past four years in over 170 venues with Bob Weick as Karl Marx.

Iron Age Theatre has receivEd Barrymore nominations for Best new play for DW Gregory's Molumby's Million, Outstanding Ensemble in Terra Nova and Best Lead Actor in The Elephant Man. As City Paper's Mark Cofta put it so eloquently: "Iron Age Theatre keeps defying the odds, producing quality plays with loving care." Toby Zinman of The Philadelphia Inquirer review about Delos, "Iron Age Theatre has found a perfect venue for this intellectually satisfying play. What a pleasure to see a Fringe show that takes serious ideas seriously."

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