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African-American Shakespeare Company Plans Five Productions for 2021-22 Season

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African-American Shakespeare Company Plans Five Productions for 2021-22 Season

With their 25th anniversary season interrupted by a global pandemic, The African-American Shakespeare Company will mount 5 productions in their 2021-22 season versus 4, which has been the norm for the last decade. Noel Coward's Private Lives-set in the time of the ex-pat Harlem Renaissance scene of Paris in the 1920s-along with The Complete works of Shakespeare were originally scheduled for spring and fall of 2020 respectively, are now moving to fall 2021.

The season will then continue with their annual and original holiday presentation of Cinderella in December, followed by The Glass Menagerie in Februrary '22 before finishing up with Twelfth Night in May '22.

In the meantime the company plans to offer online programming that will include This Conversation, a series of interview/talk backs by Artistic Director L. Peter Callender with actors, directors and others involved with theater. The series is loosely based on The Actor's Studio with James Lipton, and debuted this in June with a live presentation of Artistic Director L. Peter Callender in conversation with stage and screen actor, writer and director Colman Domingo.

"I think we can agree that 2020 has been very difficult," says company founder and Executive Director Sherri Young. "But I look forward to creating new content and having the ability to reach beyond our boundaries to artists and community on a national level with our programming."

Among the content planned will be a directed Zoom reading of Antigone under the direction of Artistic Director L. Peter Callender. "In 2015 we produced XTIGONE by Nambi E Kelley," says notes Callender, "which was a contemporary retelling of the great Greek tragedy. But given the times we are in, there is an opportunity to look at the original work through a different prism perhaps, one where the patriarch Creon is a white man dealing with Antigone, a mixed race black woman, her brothers being young black men. The strength, simplicity and complexity of this is striking to me."

Another directed reading the company plans is Jesus Moonwalks the Mississippi, a 2010 re-working of the Greek myth of Persephone and Demeter set in the time of the American Civil War by Oakland native and playwright Marcus Gardley. It concerns a recently lynched African-American soldier resurrected as a woman named Demeter who has only 3 days to locate her daughter Po'em before having to return to the underworld. Amy Marie Haven who recently joined the AASC will direct this production.

Other programming will include:

Remember When: Clips from prior productions of note the company has mounted over the years

Season Teasers: Actors and directors involved with the upcoming season's productions discuss their roles

Vision Series: Directed table readings via Zoom of plays under consideration for future seasons

Arts Education Classes: An online program module that will provide creative content-making for youths, as well as a Master Class Series with L. Peter Callender and others in the field

Note: A schedule of guests for This Conversation hosted by L Peter Callender will be announced in September along with details on the arts education module and master classes.

2021-2022 Live Productions

The Complete Works of Shakespeare
September 2021
Venue: Taube Auditorium

Private Lives
October/November 2021
Venue: Alcazar

Opens: December 2021
Venue: Herbst

Glass Menagerie
February 2022
Venue: Taube

Twelfth Night
May 2022
Venue: Marines Memorial

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