Women Take Center Stage in National Black Theatre's Upcoming Season

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19 Aug 2014

National Black Theatre has announced the lineup for its upcoming season.

The productions, all of which are written by African-American female playwrights, include Carnaval, the story of a trip that takes an unexpected turn, and a workshop production of Mfoniso Udofia's Her Portmanteau. Read Playbill.com's interview with Udofia and Paula Vogel here.

The season will conclude with the new a cappella musical The Burnin', written and directed by Cristal Chanelle Truscott.

"This season at NBT is particularly special for me as we have chosen to focus our lens on the Diaspora’s voices of the African American woman playwright. These powerful contemporary female voices both shape and hold the promise of our past, regale our present and dream the magnificent possibilities of what our future can be," Sade Lythcott, CEO of National Black Theatre, said in a statement. "This is so exciting because when my mother Dr. Barbara Ann Teer created the technology that would be the foundation for NBT, the Divine Feminine principle was at its core. Now, 46 years later, we honor our founder and the cadre of powerful women both alive and in the ancestral realm, who have graced our stage, shaped our community and held this fierce loving sacred space for the46th season to be possible."

The season-at-a-glance follows.



New York Premiere
Carnaval
Written by Nikkole Salter
Directed by Awoye Timpo
Oct. 21-Nov. 16
Opening Oct. 25

"A year ago in Brooklyn, two young men mourned the untimely loss of their best friend. In his honor they decided then and there that, despite their differences, no matter where life took them, they would take care of his younger brother, and get together on the anniversary of his death to celebrate the life he should have had. So, on a cold day in the winter of 1996, these three twenty-somethings board a plane for Rio De Janeiro for a taste of the good life: sun, fun, and, of course, women - what better way to pay homage to a fallen friend? But what starts out as a joyride takes an unexpected turn and the three sex tourists find themselves in a situation that will change their friendships and their lives forever."

Workshop Production
Her Portmanteau
Written by Mfoniso Udofia
Directed by Victor Maog
Feb. 26-March 1, 2015

"Her Portmanteau was developed during the inaurgual I Am Soul - Playwright Residency program and tells the story of legacy and forgiveness. Trapped within a small New York apartment, matriarch Abasiama Ufot and her two eldest children must construct a new definition for their family. As vaults are opened and old pains are re-lived, three women from three different generations, attempt to build the bridge across very different worlds."

New York Premiere
The Burnin'
A New A Cappella Musical
Written/directed by Cristal Chanelle Truscott
By Progress Theatre Company
May 2015

"Inspired by the historic 1940 Rhythm Club Fire and a tragic 2003 event where patrons of a popular urban nightclub were killed, The Burnin', is an acapella musical that straddles time between two clubs to offer an imaginative exploration of the night of the fires and the ensuing media coverage. Trapped inside, patrons’ club personas melt away, changing their destinations, intertwining their lives, and exposing their struggles and desires for life once survival becomes hypothetical. The Burnin' is not a staged, historical reenactment of these tragedies, rather it re-imagines and re-interprets the events as they unfold onstage simultaneously. The piece follows a group of clubgoers through the before and after (even if 'after' is death for some) of the fire to examine the complexities of race, gender and community during times of survival. The Burnin’ traces how African Americans receive and redefine legacies of Black identity and freedom to accommodate their contemporary realities."

The National Black Theatre is located at 2031 Fifth Avenue. Visit nationalblacktheatre.org for more information.