ABOUT THE SEASON: As America moves forward with the conversations and reckonings about race and privilege that were brought to the surface during the summer of 2020, including the nuances of intersectionality in our conversations remains essential. Advocating for equity includes the understanding of INTERSECTIONALITY, a term coined by Dr. Kimberlé Crenshaw in the 1980s to describe the compounding effects of racism AND gender prejudice that Black women experience. The shows in this season highlight different spectrums of the Black experience — personalities and perspectives that are informed not only by racial identity, but also by gender, sexuality, age, and socioeconomic status. Considering intersectionality is key to a better understanding of this season’s stories and the nuanced (and sometimes complicated) relationships between characters in these shows.
All productions and rehearsals for "Yellowman," "Dirt, Ash, Dead Tree," and "Jar the Floor" will take place at the Dormouse Theatre in Kalamazoo, MI (1030 Portage St. Kalamazoo, MI 49001). The location of rehearsals and performances for "Our Voices Project" are TBD.
*************************************** 1. "Yellowman" by Dael Orlandersmith -- February 2022 Yellowman is a two-person, multi-character memory play about an African-American woman who dreams of life beyond the confines of her small-town Southern upbringing and the light-skinned man whose fate is tragically intertwined with hers. The play explores the negative associations surrounding male Blackness as well as the effect these racial stereotypes have on Black women. In Yellowman, a finalist for the 2002 Pulitzer Prize in Drama, Alma and Eugene have known each other since they were young children. As their friendship blossoms into love, Alma struggles to free herself from her mother’s poverty and alcoholism, while Eugene must contend with the legacy of being "yellow" — lighter-skinned than his brutal and unforgiving father.
PRODUCTION TIMELINE: - Exact schedule TBD -- rehearsals begin in January and continue through February; show runs in February. Exact show dates TBD.
CAST: 2 actors: 1 woman, 1 man - Notes on casting: Both actors should be Black/African-American. The male actor should present as described in the play: lighter-skinned. Both actors will portray various characters.
CONTENT WARNING: The show primarily centers around colorism and heavily discusses and features language that is derogatory toward darker-skin and lighter-skin Black people. The play also features language such as frequent use of the N-slur (N-word) and one instance of the homophobic F-slur (F-word).
There is frequent use of fatphobic language, especially directed toward the woman actor. There are also brief descriptions of child abuse (verbal abuse and physical abuse). There is one instance where the woman actor briefly describes physically harming herself in order to induce a miscarriage.
SCENES OF INTIMACY/UNDRESS/FIGHT CHOREOGRAPHY: All scenes of intimacy, undress, and fight choreography are listed here as they are described in the script, however they are open to modification/change if decided by the director, intimacy advisor, and/or actors involved. All following instances of intimacy and fight choreography will require the actors involved to participate in intimacy calls and fight calls during production, supervised by the stage manager and the intimacy captain/advisor. The following list of intimacy and fight choreography is also NON-EXHAUSTIVE, meaning that intimacy and fight calls may be added at the discretion of the director, intimacy advisor, and actors. If you have any questions/concerns about the production process regarding intimacy coordination and fight choreography, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Intimacy/Undress: - The only instance of physical intimacy between the two actors as listed in the script is one scene where the two actors briefly hold each others’ hands.
Fight choreography: - There are no instances in the script where an actor requires fight choreography.
*************************************** 2. "Dirt, Ash, Dead Tree" by Jarrett McCreary -- May 2022 (with Queer Theatre Kalamazoo) From QTK’s website: A young Black boy, after losing everything, drifts into a fantasy world of memories and monsters. He wonders and wanders in search of his home, his will to live, and the answers to his many questions surrounding what it truly looks like when one considers taking their own life.
PRODUCTION TIMELINE: - Exact schedule TBD -- rehearsals begin in April and continue until May; show runs in May. Exact show dates TBD. - CAST: 4 actors: 2 women, 2 men
CAST: Both women actors and the actor who portrays Dayo should be Black. Both women actors will be double-cast to portray two different characters each. The actor who portrays Micah (the other male role) should be white.
CONTENT WARNING: The show is centered around and includes copious discussion of sexuality/sexually suggestive topics, suicide, self harm, and depression, and includes profanity.
SCENES OF INTIMACY/UNDRESS/FIGHT CHOREOGRAPHY: All scenes of intimacy, undress, and fight choreography are listed here as they are described in the script, however they are open to modification/change if decided by the director, intimacy advisor, and/or actors involved.
All following instances of intimacy and fight choreography will require the actors involved to participate in intimacy calls and fight calls during production, supervised by the stage manager and the intimacy captain/advisor. The following list of intimacy and fight choreography is also NON-EXHAUSTIVE, meaning that intimacy calls and fight calls may be added at the discretion of the director, intimacy advisor, and actors. If you have any questions/concerns about the production process regarding intimacy coordination and fight choreography, please contact email@example.com.
Intimacy/Undress: - Throughout the show, the character of Dayo reveals self-harm scars on his body which he reveals by pulling up his shirt sleeves in one scene and taking off his hoodie in a different scene. The actor portraying Dayo will be asked to wear bandages on their wrists/forearms as well as stage makeup to simulate two self harm scars, one on each forearm/wrist area. - The show also includes a scene of intimacy in which the two male characters are in a state of undress (each character removes his own shirt and pants), their bare torsos make physical contact, and kiss each other on the lips for an extended period of time while their bare torsos maintain physical contact (approximately 60 seconds to 120 seconds). - There is a scene of intimacy in which the two male characters, fully dressed, kiss each other on the lips briefly (approximately less than 30 seconds). - There is a scene in which Owl/Louise embraces Dayo in a hug from behind Dayo, and Dayo struggles to release himself from the hug, however Owl/Louise uses her arms to restrain him in the hug until he forcibly breaks free using his Page 3 of 5 body (the embrace and struggle may last approximately 60 seconds in total).
Fight choreography: - The characters of Dayo and Lion/Julia engage in a physical altercation where Lion/Julia chases Dayo on foot while Dayo flees from her (briefly, approximately 15-30 seconds), then Lion/Julia grabs the body and face of Dayo and directs his face in a certain direction, and then restrains him from physically escaping her. This altercation lasts until Lion/Julia physically forces Dayo to sit down (the exact method of this action is not specified in the script). (The actors of Lion/Julia and Dayo may be in this physical altercation/physical contact for approximately 60 seconds to 120 seconds). ***************************************
3. "Jar the Floor" by Cheryl L. West -- July 2022 This dramatic comedy follows four generations of Black women who get together to celebrate the 90th birthday of the family matriarch, MaDear. Though they’ve gathered for a celebration, dysfunction among the family members ensues throughout the play in this ultimately heartwarming story about motherhood, sisterhood, and family.
PRODUCTION TIMELINE: - Exact schedule TBD -- rehearsals begin in June and continue until July; show runs in July. Exact show dates TBD. - CAST: 5 actors: 5 women. - Notes on casting: 4 out of the 5 actors should be Black women/femmes. 1 actor should be a White woman/femme.
4. Our Voices Project -- November 2022 (with Black and Brown Theatre in Detroit, MI) Our Voices Project is a unique program in which students write their own short plays and direct adult professional actors in performances of the work. Culture, community, and education connect through Black and Brown Theatre’s Our Voices Festival of New Plays. This festival supports students in writing and directing short plays relevant to their own experiences, then realizing productions performed by Black and Brown Theatre’s growing database of diverse talent. The plays are performed in both school and community contexts to reach students’ peers, parents, teachers, administrators and the broader communities of Northwest Detroit and Hamtramck. This youth-driven approach helps build skills and confidence, validating students’ experiences and perspectives. Developed by award-winning playwright and educator Emilio Rodriguez, empowers students as leaders to tell the stories of their neighborhoods, aspirations, and the issues important to their lives.
PRODUCTION TIMELINE: - Playwrights will begin the writing process in late September. - Plays will be workshopped for 6 weeks. - After 6 weeks, all actors will receive the final copy of their script. - After the actors receive the final copy of the script, rehearsal and tech will take 2 weeks. - At the end of the 2 week rehearsal and tech process, all shows will be performed the week of November 14, 2022.
CAST: - Because each play is an original work that will be created during the workshopping process, there is no current information about the cast size or demographics needed as of this moment. - We will produce up to (but no more than) 8 short plays. These short plays may be anywhere from 1-2 page scenes or 10-minute plays at the longest.