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.
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.