Archive for the Theater Category

Under The Tongue Festival

Posted in Artists, Education, Events, Theater on April 14, 2008 by blackrep

Charles Mulekwa
It’s a great week for Black artists at Brown as the Literary Arts Department along with a couple of other notable co-sponsors (Africana Studies, the International Writers Project and the office of the President) is bringing a full slate of writers, play writes and intellectuals to campus to discuss issues such as freedom of speech and new trends in African literature. Our very own affiliate artist, Charles Mulekwa, will be participating in a staged reading at 3pm on Wednesday the 16th of April at 155 Angel St. (Churchill House/McCormack Family Theater)


Posted in Events, Genre-defying, Theater, White Privilege on December 12, 2007 by blackrep

Al Jolson

Tabanca’s first incarnation premiered last week. For those of you who missed the stage reading, it was a conglomeration of texts, songs, stories, jokes, taboo nursery rhymes and monologues revolving around constructions of Black masculinity and the crisis of Black manhood/fatherhood. But don’t get it twisted; Tabanca is still in development and has a long way to go before it is fully realized. Printed below is an email response we received to Saturday the 8th’s talkback and performance:

I attended last Saturday evening’s showing of “Tabanca” and stayed for the feedback segment. A question was posed by you which I didn’t not think about deeply enough at the time, but in retrospect discovered I would like to comment on.

The question was related as to how the audience felt the play portrayed Black masculinity in America. The question was answered by a few people (mostly, if not all White I believe) and the conversation moved on.  Upon deeper thought, I realized that I too had an opinion on the matter.

While I think that critiquing the stylistic and linguistic elements of the play is something which anyone can and should do, I worry about accepting criticism about any definition of Black masculinity from Whites. My fear is that Whites will be prone to push for an interpretation of Blacks which plays off of two factors: either they will seek to reify bunk stereotypes held by Whites or they will simply move toward an interpretation which is palatable to Whites or which Whites may consider to be the “right” way Blacks should be defined.

As an admirer of Stokely Carmichael, I find that people, regardless of race, should more or less freely interact with one another romantically, socially, politically, economically, etc. However, in the spirit of Carmichael in addition to my studies as an African/Afro-American Studies student, I find that defining the characteristics of Blacks by Whites is an inherently flawed notion which, even if it produced fruitful results, would be undermined purely by the fact that Whites can never possibly know what it is like to be Black. I also question the wisdom of including non-Blacks in the creative process of Tabanca (though using them as actors in the play doesn’t rub me as troublesome.) These are simply my opinions. The show was excellent and I can find little to criticize about the production itself. I shall (and have) most certainly refer my friends to it.

Houston opera acknowledges creole city with Immigrant Song

Posted in Articles of Interest, Events, Genre-defying, Theater on November 26, 2007 by blackrep

Immigrant Song
The Houston Grand Opera
has been doing some spectacular work galvanizing the city’s multi-ethnic communities and making Opera tangible. Christopher Theofanidis may have created a model for other cities who are interested in working with professional artists to translate stories of migration. Thanks to Ralph Blumenthal at the NY Times for his piece on Immigrant Song:

The 90-minute work proceeds without intermission through seven tableaus in which the company’s regular soloists, choristers and orchestra, joined by non-Western musicians and some of the immigrants themselves, recount the ordeals that brought people here from Africa, Vietnam, Mexico, Pakistan, India, the former Soviet Union and Central America. They are heard speaking their own words as tape-recorded by Ms. Lax in hundreds of interviews.

Catch THE BLUEST EYE at Company One

Posted in Events, Theater on October 25, 2007 by megansz

Bluest Eye
You can get a preview of Black Rep’s next production right now in Boston — the excellent Company One is producing THE BLUEST EYE, adapted from the novel by Toni Morrison, and starring Black Rep Affiliate Artist Aaron Andrade.

THE BLUEST EYE is a haunting and tragic portrait of a black girl’s coming of age in the racially turbulent 1940s. With rich language and bold vision, this powerful adaptation of an American classic explores the crippling toll that a legacy of racism has taken on a community, a family, and an innocent girl. Directed by award-winning director and Company One member, Summer L. Williams.

FIRST LOOK! Feedback

Posted in Theater on October 25, 2007 by blackrep

First Look Header

We had a great crowd on Monday night, October 22nd, for the FIRST LOOK reading of Ugandan Playwright Charles Mulekwa’s play A Time of Fire. Here’s what one of our subscribers had to say about it:

Please let everyone know who was connected to last night’s reading that it was an outstanding reading – stimulating, engaging, and thought-provoking. I hope that Black Rep will do this play next season if at all possible, there should be no hesitation….at Black Rep I continue to be touched by the poetry of language and its power to reveal the human condition.

Thank you so much for your feedback!


Two Can Play: Feedback on People’s Matinee

Posted in Theater on October 25, 2007 by blackrep

Two Can Play

Every week during theater season Black Rep offers the People’s Matinee: each Sunday is pay-what-you-can and followed by a structured humanities talkback that helps provide context for discussing the historical, social and cultural implications of the play. Here’s what one patron had to say:

I thoroughly enjoyed the performance on Sunday. It was the third time I have been to a play at the Black Rep. Here is my two cents worth.

I think the play covered many social issues that are not exclusive to poor or minority citizens.

I think Joseph ( is that the male lead’s name?) called himself the “General” to give himself power, since he was basically a scared person.

I think Gloria was always a strong woman who, like many wives, put their energy into raising their children and maintaining a home.

She was probably cooking for her kids every day, so his constant demands for her to cook for him were more easily ignored , since she had to feed the children.

When they decided to go to America to join the children, he “sent” Gloria probably because he was afraid.

She got away from him for a while and was able to recognize strengths she always had possessed. She was  then able to find her voice in the house and take him to task over some of his behaviors.

As many men do, in my opinion, when he felt his security, or refuge of marriage threatened, he immediately accused her of having an affair, called her a bitch and tried to force himself on her. He raised his voice and used his size and strength to try to intimidate her. Switching rather quickly from the “teddy bear” type person he portrayed early on in the performance.

As I said at the performance, many couples struggle with their relationship when the kids are not such a constant presence in their lives. They have to figure out who and what they have become over 15 or 20 years of raising children.

I think that kind of scenario plays out in many relationships, in all socio economic groups. I believe many women are intimidated by their husbands and remain in the relationship out of fear for their safety.

I think the characters in the play could be traded with any couple in suburbia, and substitute the bullets for the noise and violence of video games and cable TV, which has invaded the homes and stopped people from communicating. I think many parents would like to “send” their children away to a more peaceful environment.

So for me ,messages in the play became more powerful the more I thought about it.