Off-Broadway's Dispatches From (A)mended America, With Brandt Adams and Godfrey L. Simmons, Jr., Opens Oct. 18
By Michael Gioia
The Epic Theatre Ensemble production of Dispatches From (A)mended America officially opens Oct. 18, following previews that began Oct. 10, at the Theater at the 14th Street Y. The work runs in repertory with Hold These Truths, which began performances Oct. 12.
Dispatches From (A)mended America, directed by Ron Russell, is written and performed by Brandt Adams (Lulu at Columbia Stages) and Godfrey L. Simmons, Jr. (Sarah Ruhl's Passion Play). They are joined by ensemble members Jacob Ming-Trent, Lori E. Parquet, James Wallert and Sarah Winkler.
The work, according to Epic, "began as a conversation between Godfrey L. Simmons Jr., a 42-year-old black man, and Brandt Adams, a 25-year-old white man. It was post-election 2008 and both men discovered they were nagged by the 'race question.' In the month leading up to the 2009 Presidential Inauguration, Simmons and Adams travelled throughout the South conducting 100 interviews in an attempt to better understand the significance of the election of America’s first African-American President. [The production] uses live theatre, audience participation and interactive social media to challenge assumptions about race through the words of the writers, the interviewees and the audience." Performances continue through Nov. 24.
Jeanne Sakata's Hold These Truths, directed by Lisa Rothe, began previews Oct. 12 and will officially open Oct. 21.
Joel de la Fuente (Ivanov) stars in Sakata's one-man show inspired by the true story of first generation Japanese-American Gordon Hirabayashi. Performances continue through Nov. 25.
Here's how the work is billed: "Agonizing over the forcible removal of all people of Japanese ancestry on the West Coast, Gordon journeys toward a greater understanding of America’s triumphs — and a confrontation with its failures."
Both productions were developed at Epic and include post-show discussions following each performance.
Additionally, Above the Fold, an investigative theatre company founded by the playwrights of Dispatches from (A)mended America, is offering $20 supplement price tickets for Dispatches.
Founded in 2001, Epic Theatre Ensemble is a company of artists and activists dedicated to "creating socially minded Off-Broadway productions, and to connecting these theatrical events to NYC public schools through rigorous in-school and after-school residencies. Epic aims to inspire vital dialogue about social, ethical, and political issues and to build thoughtful citizenship in local communities."
The 14th Street Y is located at 344 East 14th Street. For more information and tickets, call (866) 811-4111 or visit EpicTheatreEnsemble.org.
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