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Crowded Fire Theater to Present the World Premiere of Star Finch's SHIPPING & HANDLING

Performances will run August 8 through September 7.

By: Jul. 09, 2024
Crowded Fire Theater to Present the World Premiere of Star Finch's SHIPPING & HANDLING  Image
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Crowded Fire will present the World Premiere of SHIPPING & HANDLING by Star Finch, directed by Lisa Marie Rollins, with Associate Director & Dramaturg Leigh Rondon-Davis. A revolutionary world premiere and 2024-25 Rella Lossy Awardee from Crowded Fire & Campo Santo’s Mellon Foundation Playwright-in-Residence, SHIPPING & HANDLING is a surreal and beautiful future vision from a Black Feminine gaze. 

SHIPPING & HANDLING is a theatrical experience constructed as a night out at the theatre told in reverse. The playwright shuffles chronology in order to scramble our historical expectations around Black plays, and unmap our limited vision of a future AI world. Are creations always a reflection of their creator? Can an AI bear witness to divine prophecy? SHIPPING & HANDLING seeks to transmit a signal for locating the tone of what it means to be human in this specific moment, and collectively reimagine our future design. As an audience member, you’ll start at a moment in time and move back; from an afterparty with actors, to a playwright’s experimental talkback, to the performance of the play you’ve been hearing all about, exploring how our humanity will be measured within the soon-to-be robotic-reality.

From playwright Star Finch, “Shipping & Handling seeks to transmit a signal for locating the tone of what it means to be human in this specific moment of AI, and provide inspiration to collectively reimagine our future design. We need more people questioning the narrative of inevitability that we're constantly bombarded with. There is nothing advanced about  AI technology that destroys the environment; there is nothing futuristic about technology labeled autonomous yet relies on unseen slave labor to function. How do we move our trajectory beyond simply rehashing colonial hierarchies under the banner of innovation? I want this play to give people of all ages confirmation that whatever dreams they may be having about the future: this is it, this is the moment to put those visions out into the world.”

Associate Director and CFT Leader of Artistic Curation & Marketing Leigh Rondon-Davis writes, “Crowded Fire is thrilled to share SHIPPING AND HANDLING with our Bay Area community finally. From Star’s visioning of this piece as part of our inaugural 2017-2019 Resilience & Development Lab cohort, to our 2019 Matchbox Reading Series presentation and postponed 2022 production, this play has been on a long journey, becoming more vibrant and expansive with each year. We are so grateful for all of the collaborators who have enriched this play with their brilliance and cannot wait to invite audiences to engage with the work.”

Director Lisa Marie Rollins with Associate Director & Dramaturg Leigh Rondon-Davis will lead this production featuring an ensemble that includes Tierra Allen, Rolanda D. Bell, Hodari Blue, Cat Brooks, Jamella Cross, Andre K. Jefferson, and Jasmine Milan Williams, with understudies Rezan Asfaw, Sundiata Ayinde, Jessica Dim, and Jerome White. Designers and the creative team include Tanya Orellana (scenic design), Ashley Méndez (props design and scenic design associate), Brooke Jennings (costume and mask design), Monyé Durham (hair and wig design), Ray Oppenheimer (lighting design), Wolfgang Lancelot Wachalovsky (projections design), Miles Lassi (sound design), Alex Fakayode (sound design associate),  OYSTERKNIFE’s Chibueze Crouch and Gabriele Christian (choreography), Rachel Mogan (stage manager), and Latiece Brown (assistant stage manager).

Recognizing COVID is still present and affecting our communities, CFT is committed to the safety of our artists and audiences. We will continue to require masking in the theater at all performances, and a video-on-demand option will be available for those who cannot join us at the theater in person. In addition, affordability and accessibility remain a priority and all tickets for this production will be sliding scale, with no one turned away for lack of funds. 

SHIPPING & HANDLING runs at Magic Theatre, 2 Marina Boulevard, Building D in San Francisco August 8 through September 7.


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