Press Release: Jacqueline E. Lawton to Serve as Guest Dramaturg during Penumbra Theatre's 2014-2015 Season
Dramaturg Jacqueline E. Lawton will serve as Guest Dramaturg during Penumbra Theatre's 2014-2015 Season. She will create the study guides for Lynn Nottage's By the Way, Meet Vera Stark and Dominique Morrisseau's Detroit '67. Penumbra Theatre is lauded in the theatre field for their rich, comprehensive study guides, with theatre across the country using their materials to support plays by and about African Americans. The guides create a context for the art and include an overview of the artistic process; the history of African American theatres; play specifics; a contextual essay; standardized curricula with innovative lesson plans and vocabulary terms; and an annotated bibliography. Guides for this season can be downloaded at penumbratheatre.org in September 2014.
“Next season we’re celebrating the triumphs and tragedies of women, black women in particular," said Sarah Bellamy, Associate Artistic Director. We’re doing that through education and films, through conversations and community engagement, and through the great work onstage.”
About the plays:
By the Way, Meet Vera Stark
by Lynn Nottage
Directed by Lou Bellamy
February 5 through March 1, 2015
Pulitzer Prize winner Lynn Nottage turns a keen eye toward Hollywood as she tracks the life and career of Vera Stark, a talented black actress who can’t catch a break in the 1930s. Like many of the uncredited black stars of the Golden Era, Vera is relegated to playing the maid to white Southern belles and socialites, but in a world of illusion, nothing is quite what it seems. Evoking Hollywood “firsts,” from Hattie McDaniel to Halle Berry and Lupita Nyong’o, this charming and witty play follows Vera over a lifetime career, only at the end of which is she finally being lauded for her talent.
by Dominique Morrisseau
Directed by Shirley Jo Finney
April 23 through May 17, 2015
When their parents died, Chelle and Lank inherited their childhood home in Detroit, Michigan. To make ends meet the siblings host “basement parties” spinning the newest records to come out of Motown, a risky business as police crack down on after-hours joints in black neighborhoods. When Lank happens upon a badly beaten white woman stumbling along the avenue, he decides to bring her home to his sister for help. As tensions between police and black residents rise, Chelle and Lank suddenly find themselves in danger. Winner of The Edward M. Kennedy Prize for Drama, Detroit ’67 is a tense, entertaining portrayal of the hazards of idealism at the epicenter of a riot.
Penumbra Theatre creates professional productions that are artistically excellent, thought provoking, relevant, and that illuminate the human condition through the prism of the African American experience.
JACQUELINE E. LAWTON was named one of 30 of the nation's leading black playwrights by Arena Stage’s American Voices New Play Institute. Her plays include: Anna K; Blood-bound and Tongue-tied; Deep Belly Beautiful;The Devil’s Sweet Water; The Hampton Years; Ira Aldridge: the African Roscius; Lions of Industry, Mothers of Invention; Love Brothers Serenade (2013 semi-finalist for the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center’s National Playwrights Conference); Mad Breed; Noms de Guerre; and Our Man Beverly Snow. Ms. Lawton received her MFA in Playwriting from the University of Texas at Austin, where she was a James A. Michener Fellow. She is a 2012 TCG Young Leaders of Color award recipient, National New Play Network (NNPN) Playwright Alum, and member of Arena Stage's Playwrights' Arena. She is also a proud member of the Dramatist Guild of America.