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Asolo Rep's Ground Floor Presents A Staged Reading Of THE PARADOX OF EDUCATION

Greenwood's reading is the first event in Ground Floor's new Muriel O'Neil American Heritage Commission Series.

Asolo Rep's Ground Floor Presents A Staged Reading Of THE PARADOX OF EDUCATION

Asolo Repertory Theatre's new work development program, Ground Floor, will present a staged reading of Ty Greenwood's play The Paradox of Education on Monday, Feb. 28, at 7 p.m., in the Cook Theatre at the FSU Center for the Performing Arts. A donation of $5 is suggested, and proceeds will assist the Ground Floor program in supporting new and local artists.

The Paradox of Education centers on six Black college students who have been lured into a predominantly white institution (PWI) through a Black Excellence scholarship that promises they will be well taken care of across their tenure on campus. They immediately find out they have been sold a falsity and come to realize that "skin folk ain't always kin folk," as the students confront the differences between them.

"This play is inspired by James Baldwin and his timeless words and philosophies," Greenwood said, noting that the work is heavily influenced by their time in undergrad at Washington & Jefferson College. "Like Baldwin, I also wanted this play to speak on issues such as race, education, colorism, so-called scholarships and more. I wanted to create a narrative that featured an all-Black cast dealing with these issues and intertwine Baldwin's words and essence throughout."

Greenwood's reading is the first event in Ground Floor's new Muriel O'Neil American Heritage Commission Series, which is set to commission three plays by BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) playwrights and directors over the next three years, made possible by a generous $75,000 grant from the Community Foundation of Sarasota County.

"Artists who have been historically underrepresented in the American theatre need to have the space and resources to explore in a way they may not otherwise be able to," said Asolo Rep Associate Artistic Director and Ground Floor Artistic Director Celine Rosenthal, who is curating the series. "This wonderful grant allows artists to do exactly that, and we couldn't be more delighted to be working with Ty as the commission's first recipient."

Greenwood is a Black, queer artist who holds a B.A. in Communication Arts with an emphasis in Rhetoric and Honors in Theatre from Washington & Jefferson College and a Master of Fine Arts degree in Dramatic Writing from Carnegie Mellon University. They have presented their short play Not a Fairy Tale and research "Protecting our Black Men: Black Masculinity and the use of the Black Body" in For Black Boys Who Have Considered Homicide... at the Mid-America Theatre Conference. Greenwood developed and had a staged reading of their full-length choreopoem play, Death Dream, at Alumni Theatre Company. They also participated in City Theatre's 2019 Momentum Festival: New Plays at Different Stages, where they presented an excerpt of Untitled Thesis Play as part of the In Their Own Voices event.

Recently, Greenwood was selected as the inaugural recipient of a commission from the Kemp Powers Commission Fund for Black Playwrights through City Theatre, and they were commissioned by The Hansberry Project to develop new works for The Drinking Gourd: Black Writers at Work. Greenwood's work focuses on telling stories that are not damaging to the identity, existence and bodies of Black people, but are rather empowering, unapologetic and radical in nature.

"Our dramaturgical and curatorial ethos is not about creating 'production-ready' or 'accessible' work," said Asolo Rep's Literary Manager and Dramaturg, Adam Ashraf Elsayigh. "We want to give artists support so their imagination and creativity can flow in a space of incubation and development. We want these works to truly represent their voices, not their voices through our lens. We're delighted to be doing so this season with an artist as dynamic as Ty."

A staged reading of Ty Greenwood's The Paradox of Education will be presented in the Cook Theatre at the FSU Center for the Performing Arts on Monday, Feb. 28, at 7 p.m. Tickets are available in person at Asolo Rep's Box Office at 5555 N. Tamiami Trail, by phone at 941.351.8000 or 800.361.8388, or online at asolorep.org. A donation of $5 is suggested, and proceeds will assist the Ground Floor program in supporting new and local artists.


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