The Flight Deck's OVERNIGHT Extends Into Spring
Ragged Wing Ensemble announced today that, due to high volume and demand, Overnight will extend one week. Originally scheduled to close on April 22, the show will now run for an additional four performances through Saturday, April 29.
With contributions by Ragged Wing, Gritty City Repertory Youth Theatre, Theatre Aluminous, The Lower Bottom Playaz, and an original musical score by Oakland-based artist Kev Choice, OVERNIGHT is a play about the sudden appearance of a high-rise building in what had been a parking lot only the day before. Performances on Fridays start at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., and on Sunday, April 23, at 5 p.m. Tickets are $25 - $45, and may be purchased online at raggedwing.org/overnight.
Organized into three acts, one each by Ragged Wing, Theatre Aluminous and Lower Bottom Playaz, and joined together with material by Gritty City Rep, Overnight draws inspiration from the dramatic changes occurring in downtown Oakland. "The changes, both those underway and those in the pipeline, hit close to home," said Ragged Wing and Flight Deck Co-Founder and Executive Director Anna Shneiderman. "Two weeks before Overnight opened, a high-rise building of market rate apartments broke ground on the site of a parking lot on The Flight Deck's block, and several other residential projects are currently planned within walking distance. This development impacts our neighborhood deeply."
Each act of Overnight follows a different set of characters responding to a single event: the overnight transformation of a parking lot into a high-rise. "The play explores how this event impacts the very different people that share a common place in a city like ours," continued Shneiderman.
"When it comes to a topic as complex as the changing face of our city, we decided a kaleidoscopic approach was more powerful than the presentation of any single viewpoint. Overnight aims to address questions of power and interconnectedness. Whose voices are heard in the clamor of forward movement? How will our actions impact one another and the shape of the changes to come?"
In the role of creative producer, Shneiderman invited each of The Flight Deck's resident companies to write and direct their own response to the premise of a high-rise building that magically appears overnight. Theater Aluminous' Michael French will direct a script by Sango Tajima. Ayodele Nzinga will both write and direct Lower Bottom Playaz' act. And Addie Ulrey will write and direct Ragged Wing's act. Gritty City Rep's Lindsay Krumbein will choreograph a small ensemble of youth performers in the interstitial sections that tie the piece together.
Shneiderman also commissioned Kev Choice to compose an original score for Overnight. Conservatory trained, Choice is a pianist, composer, lyricist and band director who draws on classical music, jazz and hip hop in his own creations. As the former keyboardist and music director for Michael Franti, Spearhead and Lauryn Hill among others, he has toured nationally and internationally, "but he is also deeply connected to Oakland," said Shneiderman. "His 2014 album Oakland Riviera is essentially a love letter to this complex, beautiful city. Currently, he also teaches piano at Oakland School for the Arts, which is a partner of The Flight Deck. When I heard his music, I thought this is the soundtrack for Overnight."
Additional members of Overnight's creative team are Ella Cooley (sound design), Regina Evans (costume design), Andy Falkner (props design), Lilli Fore (set design), Marc-Éddy Loriston (projection design), Keira Sullivan(lighting design)
ABOUT RAGGED WING ENSEMBLE & THE FLIGHT DECK:
Founded in the East Bay in 2004, Ragged Wing Ensemble is a physical theater company recognized for its original, ensemble-created work. In the past decade, Ragged Wing has produced more than thirty plays, most of them world premieres; established a thriving youth training program; and built a shared, multidisciplinary arts venue in downtown Oakland, The Flight Deck, which houses four resident theater companies, several arts organizations and dozens of individual artists. Ragged Wing has been honored as "Best New Theater Company in the East Bay" by the East Bay Express. The company also received the "50/50 Applause Award" from The International Centre of Women Playwrights for gender parity in producing the work of women playwrights. The Flight Deck was named "Best New Arts Venue" by readers of the East Bay Express in 2014 and 2015.
ABOUT GRITTY CITY REPERTORY YOUTH THEATRE
Gritty City Repertory Youth Theatre is a rigorous, pre-professional training program in Oakland where East Bay youth of color have a standing platform for artistic expression. Gritty City Repertory inspires young adults to risk and explore, developing leadership, confidence, and compassion for their human family through the production of powerful theatre. Founded in 2011 by Executive Artistic Director Lindsay Krumbein, Gritty City Rep produces two main shows per season, one contemporary piece and one Shakespeare play.
ABOUT THE LOWER BOTTOM PLAYAZ
Founded in 1999, The Lower Bottom Playaz are Oakland's "premier" North American African Theater Troupe. Through the creation, production and presentation of theater in the tradition of the Black Arts continuum, the troupe dedicates itself to the critical examination of the conditions of North American inner cities and their inhabitants. The company made history last year when it became the only company to stage all ten plays in August Wilson's American Century Cycle in chronological order.
ABOUT THEATRE ALUMINOUS
Theatre Aluminous is a multidisciplinary group of artists dedicated to exploring the life-and-death struggles of the two-character play - more commonly known as the "two-hander." Founded by Michael French in 2011, Theatre Aluminous has produced plays by David Harrower (Blackbird), Stephen Belber (Dusk Rings a Bell), Stephen Adly Guirgis (The Last Days of Judas Iscariot), Jane Martin (H2O), and Edward Albee (The Zoo Story). The company has also worked with several composers, commissioning original music for its productions. Among these artists are Marko Grubic, Aaron Priskorn, John Steven Morgan and Manu Delagu.
ABOUT KEV CHOICE
Hailing from Oakland, California, Kev Choice is a lyricist, pianist, composer and band director with a classical and jazz background. He studied piano for over 15 years, and obtained his Master's Degree in Piano Performance. Choice began his career as a professional keyboardist supporting artists from the Bay Area such as Michael Franti and Spearhead, Goapele, LyricsBorn, Too Short, Martin Luther and Zion I. Choice has also played with national artists such as Dwele and DJ Quik. In 2007, Choice performed as music director for Lauryn Hill on tours through Europe, Japan and Brazil. After years of supporting other artists, Choice decided to focus on his own rap career. He was nominated for an SF Weekly Music Award three years in a row, and was also named "Most Multi-Talented Musician" by the East Bay Express in 2008 and "Best Musician" in 2009. Choice's recent album The Power of Choice has received much critical acclaim.
Overnight is supported in part by the City of Oakland Cultural Funding program, The East Bay Fund for Artists, The Zellerbach Family Foundation and The Fleishhacker Foundation.
Pictured: Stanley Hunt as Under and Megan Lipari as Becky. Photo by Serena Morelli.