I have been negligent and not written about the issue of underfunded artistic organizations as I’ve meant to do for most of October. Other things keep requiring my attention. That is until this message appeared in my inbox this afternoon.
The video is just under two minutes but if you can’t take the time to hear what Mark Clements has to day…here is the gist of the message from the Rep’s email:
This is great news as we get further into the fall season. By now, in a normal arts fall season, most of us would have attended one or two or three arts performances…whether theater, music, or dance. And you are probably very much like me and frustrated that we aren’t yet ready to attend live performances. But after a very successful virtual play reading summer via their Out of the Woods series, Spring Green’s American Players Theatre is back with three new events!
There will be three readings. Each will originally stream live on a Friday night at 7 PM CST (see dates below) and then will be available for viewing on PBS until December 31, 2020. Here’s a few more…well actually a lot more…details:
For the last few years, APT has been exploring the idea of just what makes “a classic.” In that vein, this reading series focuses on plays by playwrights who are Black, Indigenous or People of Color, and are created in collaboration with BIPOC directors and artists.
Artistic Director Brenda DeVita said, “People who’ve been in our audience for a while will be very aware of our growing exploration of new voices; of new stories; of asking ourselves again and again what does it mean to be a classic? And we were blown away by the response from our audience – people who have been coming to APT for years, and from people who’ve never set foot on our property – about the first “Out of the Woods” play readings. And it was always our hope that we would be able to produce a second series of play readings written by BIPOC writers, and created by BIPOC artists. It feels vital in this moment to keep pushing ourselves to understand more deeply what it means to be human and to keep ourselves moving forward on our path toward a more equitable theatre space, and a more equitable world.”
And here are the times, dates, and plays that will be performed!
November 6 The Sins of Sor Juana By Karen Zacarías Directed by Jake Penner
Juana Inés de la Cruz is a brilliant and controversial poet making waves throughout the Mexican Viceroy’s court –particularly with his wife – in the 1600s by writing about love, feminism, religion and other topics not deemed “appropriate” for women of the time. The Vicereine is so taken with Juana that she arranges an engagement to keep her in court, while the Viceroy plots to ruin her reputation. Told by Juana from the perspective of two different worlds –the court and the convent – it’s the story of her battle for independence and intellectual freedom; weighty and funny and utterly relevant.
Featuring Melisa Pereyra as Juana, Janyce Caraballo as Novice, Triney Sandoval as Padre Núñez/Viceroy, Ronald Román-Meléndez as Silvio, Jeliannys Michelle as Madre Filothea/Xóchitl, Cher Álvarez as Sor Sara/Vicereine, Sebastian Arboleda as Pedro
November 13 Nat Turner in Jerusalem By Nathan Alan Davis Directed by Gavin Lawrence
In 1831, Nat Turner led a slave revolt that has been credited by some with accelerating the onset of the Civil War. While he was in prison awaiting his execution, Turner dictated his story to attorney Thomas Gray, and it was published as “The Confessions of Nat Turner, the leader of the late insurrection in Southampton, VA.” In Nathan Alan Davis’ 2016 play Nat Turner in Jerusalem, Turner’s final night in jail is reimagined in a meditation on past deeds and future repercussions that The New York Times called “an earnest, gravely lyrical gloss on a document that will surely always evoke passionate and widely different responses.”
Featuring La Shawn Banks as Nat Turner and Nate Burger as Thomas Gray.
November 20 Smart People By Lydia R. Diamond Directed by Melisa Pereyra
Just before Obama’s first election, four of Harvard University’s brightest – a surgeon, an actress, a psychologist and a neuropsychiatrist – struggle with a society that considers itself “post-racial,” and is all too often proven wrong. Jackson, Valerie, Ginny and Brian are all interested in different aspects of the brain, particularly in how it responds to race. But they’re also on a quest for love, success and identity in their own lives. A fiercely funny play about social and sexual politics.
Featuring Rasell Holt as Jackson Moore, Cassia Thompson as Vanessa Johnston, Amy Kim Waschke as Ginny Yang and Jeb Burris as Brian White.
*Please note: This play contains profanity, and sexual content and language.
As I said in my opening statement, this is exciting news and I am really looking forward to these productions. The plays that they read/performed earlier this year were marvelous.
But that’s not all that’s been going on in Spring Green! Check this out:
This latest edition of the “Out of the Woods” series joins other virtual content APT and its acting company have been involved in creating, such as the Words from the Woods poetry-reading series; Six Feet Apart: Conversations with the Core Company;and The Empty Box: Tales of Royal Screw Ups And/Or Extraordinary Scene Chewing from the APT Core Company.These videos can be viewed for free at americanplayers.org/news/video.