Uppa Creek, a new play by Keli Garrett inspired by the work of artist Kara E. Walker, ends its well-received run Oct. 6 at Off-Off Broadway's Dixon Place Theatre. According to a Shirley Herz office spokesperson, the show was to start previews Sept. 12, but the chaos engendered by the terrorist attack the day before turned that performance into a dress rehearsal and pushed the first preview to Sept. 13. The show officially opened Sept. 15.
Based on a silhouette etching by Walker, entitled “The Means to an End...A Shadow Drama in Five Acts”, Uppa Creek revolves around a young Negress slave who plots to poison her white master and escape from his plantation.
The play, which received positive notices, is directed by Dominic Taylor. The cast features Amy Fellers, Yvonne Jung, Bradford Olson, Kaipo Schwab, Ron Riley, Keli Garrett, Rodney Owens and Gwen Mulamba.
Playwright Keli Garrett has written stage adaptations of Alice Walker’s Meridian and Charles Johnson’s Faith and Good Thing. She has also written two original works, Funkland and The Red Clay Hills for Chicago’s Victory Gardens Theatre.
In addition to Uppa Creek, Dominic Taylor has also directed Sound Check and Driving to Providence for HERE’s Culture Mart, and Cantana Negroes Burial Ground at The Kitchen. Kara Walker’s controversial silhouettes first appeared in 1994 at The Drawing Center in New York. Her work, which is often composed of sexually suggestive and violent images, has been displayed in galleries and museums worldwide, appearing at The1997 Whitney Biennial, Wooster Gardens, Des Moines Art Center, Armand Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, San Francisco Museum of Art and The Museum of Modern Art in Paris, among others.
For tickets ($15) and information on Uppa Creek at Dixon Place, located at 309 East 26th Street, just east of 2nd Avenue, call (212) 532 1546 or visit the website at www.dixonplace.org. Tickets are still available for all remaining performances (as of Oct. 4).
— by Esther Sapan
and David Lefkowitz