The work of African-American women playwrights France-Luce Benson, Stephanie Berry, Dhana-Marie Branton, Charlotte A. Gibson, Nancy Giles, T. Tara Turk and Shay Youngblood will be celebrated Feb. 12-20 at New York City's Ensemble Studio Theatre. Going to the River, the second annual festival of staged readings and performances by African-American women, will feature Lost Creek Township, Notes of a Negro Neurotic and a Town Hall Meeting moderated by AUDELCO winning actress Elizabeth Van Dyke.
Feb. 12 at 3 PM, Van Dyke will bring together a panel of women producers, directors, playwrights, actors, literary managers and agents to discuss recent triumphs and what the future will hold for African-American women. Slated for the roundtable are producer Elizabeth I. McCann, director Seret Scott, Public Theatre producer Rosemarie Tichler, New York Theatre Workshop associate artistic director Linda Chapman, Tribeca Arts producer Linda Herring, writer-performer Giles, agent Wendy Streeter, playwright Cassandra Medley and agent Cheryl Andrews.
The concert readings on the mainstage follow, one every two days. The schedule:
Feb. 13 & 14: The Shaneequa Chronicles by Stephanie Berry
Feb. 15 & 16: Lost Creek Township by Charlotte A. Gibson (Dawn and Still Dark)
Feb. 17 & 18: Notes of a Negro Neurotic by Nancy Giles (Black Comedy -- The Wacky Side of Racism)
Feb. 19 & 20: Talking Bones by Shay Youngblood (Square Blues)
Feb. 19 & 20: Five Rooms of Furniture by Dhana-Marie Branton
Two readings will take place in the Sixth Floor Series, Feb. 13 and 18. First will be Silence of the Mambo by France-Luce Benson, followed by If Eve Left by T. Tara Turk. Suggested donation is $7. The panel discussion is free. For more information or reservations, call (212) 247-4982. The Ensemble Studio Theatre is located at 549 West 52nd Street.
-- By Christine Ehren