NOVEMBER 4th 10-MINUTE PLAY FESTIVAL PHOTO GALLERY
Sojourner was named Isabelle Baumfree at birth in 1797 and born into slavery on the estate of Johannes Hardenbergh in Ulster County, New York. At an early age she experienced the dehumanizing impact of soul murder leaving her emotionally and physically abused. She argued with God to save her soul and became a fiery preacher for civil rights, human rights, the abolition of slavery, and the rights of women.
ONE VOICE, BY STEPHEN OLSON
A young female student is uncertain what to do with the guilt and fear of surviving a high school mass shooting, until she is visited by the spirits of Sojourner Truth and Amelia Earhart.
RETHA'S FIRST MARCH, REX MCGREGOR
After experiencing her first Black Lives Matter protest, a young teacher is galvanized to take further action against racism.
In J.C. Svec’s play, For God and Country, the author presents a story about politics. At the start of the Primaries and with the opposition party in shambles, it is believed that now is the time to build a transformative political platform for the good of the country. The planners gave considerable thought to choosing the right person to be the face of the party, but they didn’t foresee being in a struggle of ethics and morals in a give and take game of Washington politics.
Sojourner Truth: Soul Murder, written and directed by Percy Thomas, is a one-woman show about one of Americas amazing enslaved black women. The play captures her early days in slavery as a child to her escape. The show details Sojourner Truth’s walk away from slavery, and miraculous name change. The performance is narrated by Sojourner Truth, as she reveals her rebellious nature and the abuse she experienced in slavery. Despite the hardship encountered she survives to give her most memorable speech in 1851 to persuade people that women, black or white, should have rights equal to men.
Josiah Henson: No Uncle Tom, written and directed by Percy Thomas is a one-man show (performed by Chevell Thomas), that is loosely based on the self-narrated story by Josiah Henson in his book, "The Life of Josiah Henson: Formerly A Slave" that reveals the true-life events of the man who was the inspiration for Harriet Beecher Stowe’s book, “Uncle Toms Cabin.” Josiah Henson life and history is a forgotten story of an enslaved man in Montgomery County, Maryland who survived slavery and became an author, abolitionist, and founder of the Dawn Settlement, in Ontario.
Edward Albee’s, At Home at the Zoo combines Albee's classic, The Zoo Story, with its prequel, Homelife, to form a complete story of Peter (a book editor), and Ann (his wife), and Jerry (a desperate man Peter meets in the park).
In act one, Homelife, we get a sneak peek into the boring marital relationship between Peter and Ann, illuminating their brutal failed attempts to communicate about it, while living in their Upper East Side apartment. In the second act, Peter has an odd encounter with a stranger in the park. The stranger’s behavior is unusual and aggressive and has a life altering impact on Peter. Albee’s dark humor, in this brilliantly recombined play, demonstrates the essential loneliness of humanity, as well as the depths of love and cruelty human beings are willing to inflict on each other in their daily encounters.
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Sell Out is a compelling story about a controversial issue that is prevalent in Black America!
The play highlights many ways that Black men and women are perceived to be Sell Outs. It is a disparaging term used in the Black Community to refer to someone who has betrayed the African American race. Individuals like Clarence Thomas, Tim Scott, and Kanye West are current examples.
In the play, Thomas’ intent is to depict any Black person who knowingly seeks personal and political power at the expense of degrading members of the community he purports to serve. The play takes the concept of sell out beyond racial betrayal and white allyship to anyone of any race who works to the detriment of the community or country. Thus, anyone whose efforts results in marginalizing a community or race of people are Sell Outs.
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Thomas weaves a tale of reality and fantasy with hopeful and hopeless spiritual power!
As the play unfolds, we see three homeless men that find themselves entrapped in street culture from different places in time. From a place of powerlessness, each of them must find ways of coping. In the face of hardships on the streets, they must come to grips with the fact their destiny is their choice.
The character Oldman is a feisty individual who is searching for meaning in his life as a denizen of the streets. When he encounters the Young Man character, who is an eighteen-year-old experiencing his first night living on the street, he is compelled to take him under his wing and protect him from the character Mouse. Mouse is a broken man who thrives on dispensing pain and lives by the code of “kill first or be killed.” The story unfolds as the Young Man, Oldman, and Mouse attempt to assert their right to live the life they want on the streets.
The Whipping Man, written by Matthew Lopez, was Co-Produced with the Theatrical Mining Company of Baltimore, Maryland. It is the end of the Civil War, and Caleb Deleon, a badly wounded Jewish Confederate soldier, returns home to find his former slaves, Simon and John. They wrestle with their shared past, the bitter irony of Jewish Slave-owning, and the reality of the new world in which they find themselves.
Great Day in A Morning, written by Percy Thomas, is the second in a three-part series. The first play in the series titled The Last Shall Be First was produced for the Baltimore Playwrights festival in 2013 and won third place.
This play unveils the true nature of slaves coping with the horrors of slavery while finding a way to survive. Monroe, the Master’s black son, is on a quest for freedom at all cost, while his sister Zelma only knows slavery. He wants her to run away with him, however, she is unwilling to leave the plantation for an uncertain future. The untimely death of the Master forces Monroe to escalate his plan to escape and take his family with him. What begins as an impending death of a Slave Owner turns into a conflict between slaves regarding power and authority.
Slave rebellion is part of America’s long and troubled history of slavery and racial conflict. The Last Shall Be First, written by Percy Thomas, is the first play of a trilogy that tells of the excesses and cruelties of slavery as experienced by a fictionalized character named Monroe. Through a veil of prophecy, mysticism, truth and rebellion he leads a band of slaves to revolt against the horrors of slavery. Using slavery, religion, historical accounts, newspaper clippings from 1831, and the account of the November 4, 1979 Iran hostage crisis, the Playwright provides the slave’s perspective and motivations for resisting and rebelling against the institution of slavery.
Zelma is the third and final play in a three-part series written by Percy Thomas. The first play in the series titled The Last Shall Be First was produced for the Baltimore Playwrights festival in 2013 and won third place. The second play, Great Day in A Morning attempted to give breath and life to what it was meant to be a slave during the 17th to 20th century in America.
No one knew that when the Master died that in his will he would acknowledge that Zelma was his daughter and leave her money, land and the plantation.
As the years past, the towns people grow angrier and angrier as Zelma prospers and they became determined to take the land from her before President Lincoln signed the 13th Amendment. This play has an unexpected ending.
The Meeting: Faces of Racism is a socially relevant play, written by Percy Thomas that is laced with humor and historical facts. It is set in 2018 and portrays a few weeks in the lives of Araminta and Isabella, two adult women who have returned to college to make something of their lives. After learning that they are named after Harriet Tubman and Sojourner Truth, women who fought to abolish slavery in the 1800s, the women decide to challenge the conservative black President of the University to rescind an invitation to a speaker, who the students perceive to be a racist.
Fire in My Eyes is a dramatic play, written by Percy Thomas, who inspired by the pain he observed in wives, mothers, and grandmothers who have launched causes to bring about change for some of the senseless deaths of their love ones. Thomas describes the steps a grandmother takes to seek justice for her grandson who was accidentally killed by police. The play tackles the larger issue of justice for black citizens in the context of national values regarding systemic police violence against black men. The story explores the painful conflicts within a community, between police, politicians, and African Americans engaged in finding solutions to complex socioeconomic and education issues in the community, and it reveals how the incident affects the lives of everyone i.e., the families of the victim, policemen, and society.
Harriet Tubman: Defender is a one-woman play, written by Percy Thomas. The play depicts Harriet at the age of 50 reflecting back on her childhood memories, and proclaiming her future. She will share with you her life as a child born into slavery, coming of age in slavery in her twenties, and her daring escape to freedom on the mythical, Underground Railroad. It reveals a courageous woman who set out against all odds to escape from slavery and when she learned that the Underground Railroad was a myth, it did not deter this spirited woman from confronting her fears and under the darkness of night running north to freedom.
It is Harriet's early experiences in childhood that is the catalyst for her emergence as one of the most famous Underground Railroad Conductors.
Revival is presented as a “dramatic reading” that reflects events in Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. life and his early preaching experiences. Written by Leslie Scott-Jones and modified by Percy Thomas the play’s setting is young King’s dorm room and the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Alabama. While sharing several of King’s early philosophies, as a student and young preacher, the play culminates with the re-enactment of King’s famous sermon the “Drum Major Instinct.”
The Dance on Widow's Row is a delightful must-see romantic comedy written by African American playwright and Burgaw, North Carolina native Samm-Art Williams. Mr. Williams is notably known for his famous play, Home. The Dance on Widow's Row is a comedy with a happy ending about four rich widows who have buried nine husbands and live on a street that is considered jinxed. The widows are suspected of killing their husbands; they are also in the midst of giving a spirited party for four of the town's most eligible widowers and divorced men.
The Clock, written by Percy Thomas, is about a family attempting to flee the Jim Crow South to find happiness and prosperity in the North. The Jones family seeks to hold on to some semblance of family tradition, while dealing with unemployment, discrimination, poor education, and changing family dynamics.
After settling in a Baltimore ghetto, the Jones family encounters all types of social ills: alcoholism, drug addiction, crime, and juvenile delinquency. Frank, the patriarch of the family, loses control and the respect of his family. He distances himself further from the family by his loss of faith in God, and preoccupation with putting a Civil War era clock back together. The clock was given to him by his father and he believes that once he can fix the clock and return it to working order it will cure all that ails the family.
For Colored Girls, who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf, written by Ntozake Shange is a choreopoem that tells the stories of seven women who have suffered oppression in a racist and sexist society. The choreopoem is an innovative combination of poetry, drama, music, and dance. For Shange, the combination is important. She learned about her identity as a woman through words, songs, and literature; she learned about her identity as an African through dance.
The seven women are not named; they are meant to stand for the women who make up the rainbow.
Praise the Lord and Raise the Roof , written by Celeste B. Walker, is a light-hearted comedy about a fictional town of Rule Hill County, Virginia where residents are concerned because there have been a rash of fires set to predominantly black churches in the southern part of the country.
Throughout the history of black church burnings and the most recently reported fires of black churches over the last few years, African American congregations and the community at large have been on edge and are very concerned and left to wonder “What is going on.”
Given this background, the play is about an African American church that takes in a friendly white drifter amidst fear and suspicion about a rash of local church burnings, and when tragedy strikes must reconcile their own prejudice with their Christianity.