ArtsCenter Stage and Common Ground Theatre with the support of MOJOAA Performing Arts Company and in conjunction with the Ladies of the Triangle Theatre (LoTT) invite audiences to join us in building a performance-based, community response to critical questions regarding race, equity, and social justice.
We begin with three nights of performances at Common Ground Theater in Durham of HANDS UP: 6 Playwrights, 6 Testaments* a collection of monologues by African-American playwrights featuring a wide range of perspectives on being a black man in America in the 21st century. In light of the recent police shootings of Mike Brown in Ferguson, Missouri and John Crawford III in Beavercreek, Ohio, among others, The New Black Fest commissioned 6 emerging black male playwrights to write 10-15 monologues that explore their feelings about the well-being of black men in a culture of institutional profiling.
The six “testaments” to be featured are: “Superiority Fantasy” by Nathan James, “Holes in My Identity” by Nathan Yungerberg, “They Shootin! Or I Ain’t Neva Scared…” by Idris Goodwin, “Abortion” by Glenn Gordon, “Walking Next to Michael Brown” by Eric Holmes and “How I Feel,” by Dennis Allen II. The New Black Fest was founded in 2010 with a mission to develop and support new work among playwrights from the African diaspora.
Directed by Monet Noelle Marshall of MOJOAA Performing Arts Company, HANDS UP: 6 Playwrights, 6 Testaments will feature Malcolm Evans, Kenny Lampkin, CJ Suitt, Justin Peoples and Marcus Zollicoffer, each performance will be followed by an opportunity for discussion with the creative team and a range of community leaders (religious, political, academic, artistic).
These discussions will culminate in the collection of ideas and individuals across all spectrums of identity, profession, and location to create a new work to be performed in late June at The ArtsCenter in Carrboro. From February to June, LoTT will collaborate with interested participants to develop stories that may take a variety of performance forms (e.g., theater, dance, visual art). The goal is to identify the breadth and depth of our own, local experiences; determine how these experiences connect or diverge from the national conversation; and ultimately map a path to positive and sustainable changes in our communities. #LoTTRiseUp
HANDS UP: 6 Playwrights, 6 Testaments
Written by Dennis Allen, Idris Goodwin, Glenn Gordon, Eric Holmes, Nathan James, and Nathan Yungerberg
Directed by Monet Noelle Marshall
Dramaturgy by Jules Odendahl-James and Jacqueline E. Lawton
Featuring Malcolm Evans, Kenny Lampkin, Justin Peoples, CJ Suitt and Marcus Zollicoffer
Stage Manager: JaMeeka Holloway
Produced by ArtsCenter Stage
Plan Your Visit
What: HANDS UP: 6 Playwrights, 6 Testaments
When: February 5-7 at 8:00 pm
Where: Common Ground Theatre, 4815B Hillsborough Rd, Durham
RSVP: (919) 384-7817
Online Tickets: https://www.artful.ly/store/events/4916
*HANDS UP: 6 Playwrights, 6 Testaments is produced in association with the New Black Fest.
About ArtsCenter Stage
ArtsCenter Stage at The ArtsCenter showcases the work of emerging and established artists hailing from next door to around the world. Jeri Lynn Schulke, Artistic Director of ArtsCenter Stage says, “ArtsCenter Stage is community-oriented, professional theatre with a commitment to developing new artists, supporting new work and engaging audiences.”
About Common Ground Theatre
Common Ground Theatre is a performance space in the Triangle area of North Carolina. We are committed to the growth of lively arts, and our performance space is utilized by many of the best young and small theater companies in the region. CG Theatre is also a great new spot to see local music and various other entertainment alternatives.
About Ladies of Triangle Theatre
The Ladies of Triangle Theatre (LoTT) is a group of powerhouse women dedicated to promoting, facilitating, and otherwise encouraging the work of all female theatre artisans in the Triangle, NC area. We find quality opportunities, provide solutions where there are problems, and actively support the work done by each other.
About MOJOAA Performing Arts Company
MOJOAA Performing Arts Company is the Black theatre company of the Triangle run by a Black family in the Triangle. MOJOAA stands for Monet, Jordan and Aaron, the progeny of Robin and Bryan Marshall. MOJOAA is committed to to telling Black stories for the community with the community.
About the New Black Festival
The New Black Fest is a theater organization committed to celebrating, advocating and showcasing diverse and provocative work from throughout the Disapora. It is a convening of visionaries who are determined to reintroduce the way black theater is perceived, who are ready to chart out resolutions and promote action through panel discussions, workshops, and putting both artists and community members on the hot seat.
Tuesday's performance of Out of Silence: Abortion Stories from the 1 in 3 Campaign was a huge success. We were nearly sold out and even caught the attention of Anti-choice protesters. Despite repeated invitations, not one single protester wanted to see the show or engage in conversation. They only wanted to yell and scream.
When their threats of hell and damnation didn't draw the response from me that they wanted, they took to shouting "We can't breathe! We can't breathe!" At which, I turned, smiled, and shook my head. Oh, this got them riled up! One of them asked me, "Would you smile over the body of Eric Garner, Michael Brown, and Medgar Evers?" Their tactics were so obvious, but also ineffective. Did they expect me to cry? Argue? As disappointed as they were in me, I wanted so much more from them too. I found myself laughing at how unproductive it all was. Well, this pushed them right over the edge. One of them screamed, "Would you laugh over a lynched body?" At which point, I just shook my head and went back inside to mix, mingle, and celebrate our work.
I've never been protested. It felt good to stand up not only for these women and reproductive rights, but also for creating space for dialogue and creative expression. And honestly, I should thank the protesters. I learned later that several patrons going to see another play gave donations to Advocates for Youth in support of our work. I'm excited about the next steps for this play and will keep you posted as we make the plays available for production at a conference, college, university or theatre near you.
Show Your Love for the 1 in 3 Campaign
Out of Silence Playwrights
Opening Reception Photos
I'm a playwright, dramaturg, and teaching artist. It is here where you'll find my queries and musings on life, theater and the world. My posts advocate for diversity, inclusion, and equity in the American Theatre and updates on my own work. Please enjoy!