Custom Made Theatre Co. Stages West Coast Premiere HOODED, OR BEING BLACK FOR DUMMIES

Custom Made Theatre Co. Stages West Coast Premiere HOODED, OR BEING BLACK FOR DUMMIESMarquis and Tru, both 14 and black, meet one evening in the holding cell of a police station. Marquis is a Nietzsche-loving prep-schooler, adopted by white people and living in the affluent suburb of AchievementHeights; while Tru is a super smart, Tupac loving, kid from central Baltimore. Tru decides Marquis has lost his blackness and pens a how-to manual for him entitled "Being Black for Dummies." They navigate through both Marquis' world of cheerleaders, jocks, headmasters and Tru's world in Baltimore all while they debate, struggle and ultimately develop a friendship that reveals that maybe Tupac and Nietzsche were saying the same thing all along. "Hooded, or Being Black for Dummies" is a comedic and truthful examination of growing up black in America by rising-star playwright Tearrance Arvelle Chisholm.

Hooded is a timely, irreverent examination of growing up black in America by rising-star playwright Tearrance Arvelle Chisholm that was called a "breathtakingly on-point new comedy" by The Washington Post and was recently nominated for the Helen Hayes Charles MacArthur Award for Outstanding Original New Play.

The West Coast Premiere of Hooded, or Being Black for Dummies is directed by Lisa Marie Rollins. It runs March 8-31 at Custom Made Theatre, 533 Sutter Street in San Francisco.

Director Lisa Marie Rollins on Hooded, "February 26th is the anniversary of 14-year old Treyvon Martin's murder in Florida. Since then, our world has been inundated with scores of videos of black death. Our world has also been lit up with protests in the streets and in the creative world where artists are finding ways to fight for the lives of black people in the United States. How do we keep moving forward when these videos scroll by us in our timelines over and over? Do we ignore them? Put them on pause with all the other visual and 'news' like noise so we can function in our daily lives?

Hooded: or Being Black for Dummies by Julliard playwright Tearannce Arvelle Chisholm asks us to stay focused on the screen and the noise, even when we want to look away. Hooded invites us into the lives of two 14-year old boys who meet in a police holding cell outside Baltimore. Marquis, a brainy boy adopted by a white family, meets Tru, a street intellectual, in this sharp and comedic exploration of two young men both trying to navigate what blackness means in America from seeming opposite places in the world. Tupac vs Nietzsche, who is black, who gets to decide and how does the outside world at times make all the decisions for you?

I met Tearrance at the annual Playwright Foundation Festival in San Francisco a few years ago. We connected deeply about our interest in seeing new plays on the American stage that investigate ideas about black people by diverging away from the same stories around slavery or as "education" for white audiences around racism. Hooded, or Being Black for Dummies, in its exploration of what it means to be a black boy adopted into a white family, given all of the 'privileges' of whiteness, asks us all to try harder. My work on this piece is an investigation of intimacies, of small moments, both the loving and difficult that for people of color, can quickly turn into racist micro-agressions and danger, and death. Chisholm's skill at making us comfortable with the hilarity of Marquis and Tru's bromance never once lets us not take his suggestions about our world seriously."

Tearrance Arvelle Chisholm. Tearrance Arvelle Chisholm is a current member of the Lila Acheson Wallace American Playwrights Program at Juilliard and a recent MFA Playwriting graduate from the Catholic University of America. His play Hooded, Or Being Black for Dummies received its World Premiere at Mosaic Theatre in Washington, D.C. is followed by the World Premiere of his play Br'er Cotton at Kitchen Dog Theatre in Dallas, TX. His work has been developed with the Signature Theatre, Theatre J, Theatre Alliance, Endstation Theatre, The Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival, the Bay Area Playwrights Festival, and the Djerassi Resident Artists Program. He was named a "Person to Watch" by American Theatre Magazine and a "Rising Star" by Variety. He was a finalist for the inaugural Relentless Award and London's 503 Theatre Award. He was named winner of bot the Rosa Parks Playwriting Award and the Lorraine Hansberry Playwriting Award at KCACTF 2016.

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