New York Theatre Workshop has announced casting for its spring production of Mfoniso Udofia’s Sojourners and Her Portmanteau, which will be staged in repertory with direction by Ed Sylvanus Iskandar. The two-part theatrical event will begin performances April 22 ahead of a May 16 opening.
Both plays are part of Udofia’s nine-part saga, The Ufot Cycle, which chronicles the triumphs and losses of the tenacious matriarch of a Nigerian family, Abasiama Ekpeyoung, to be played by Chinasa Ogbuagu (The Qualms) and Jenny Jules (The Crucible) in the two different plays.
The cast of Sojourners will be made up of Lakisha Michelle May (Everybody) as Moxie Wilis, Ogbuagu as Abasiama, Hubert Point-Du Jour (Every Angel is Brutal) as Ukpong Ekpeyoung, and Chinaza Uche (Dolphins and Sharks) as Disciple Ufot.
The cast of Her Portmanteau will feature Jules as Abasiama Ufot, Adepero Oduye (The Trip to Bountiful) as Iniabasi Ekpeyoung, and Ogbuaga as Adiagha Ufot.
In Sojourners, a young, pregnant Abasiama struggles within her arranged marriage and with a husband who is obsessed with 1970s American culture. Determined to complete her university degree, she weighs her dreams and obligations as she attempts to move forward. Decades later, the full impact of her decision comes to the surface when Abasiama’s family is reunited in Her Portmanteau. In the following play in The Ufot Cycle, Nigerian traditions clash with the realities of American life, and Abasiama and her daughters must confront complex familial legacies that span time, geography, language, and culture.
Both plays will feature scenic design by Jason Sherwood, costume design by Loren Shaw, lighting and video design by Jiyoun Chang, and sound design by Jeremy Bloom. Dawn-Elin Fraser (Nat Turner in Jerusalem) will serve as the dialect coach, and Janice Paran (Anna in the Tropics) will serve as dramaturg.
The limited Off-Broadway engagement is scheduled to play through June 4 at New York Theatre Workshop, located at 79 East 4th Street, New York. Tickets are on sale at NYTW.org and by phone at (212) 460-5475.