Anacostia’s Theater Alliance, which scored big earlier this past June with the debut Mollye Maxner’s devised play, Still Life With Rocket, will do itself one better this year, with two plays in redevelopment — and a third play, which Theater Alliance has already produced twice to acclaim.
That third play is Marc Bamuthi Joseph’s Word Becomes Flesh, which will be getting its third Theater Alliance production at the Anacostia Playhouse. Word Becomes Flesh uses movement, spoken word, music and a bevy of performers to portray the fear and hope of a young man, who addresses a series of letters to his unborn, and quite unexpected, son. DCTS’ Ben Demers, viewing Theater Alliance’s 2013 production at Atlas, called it “a dynamite blend of spoken word, dancing, singing, and DJ skills” and Jessica Pearson, reviewing Theater Alliance’s 2016 production at Anacostia Playhouse for DCTS, judged it “a shining example of what hip-hop theatre can and should be: a combination of precise choreography, powerful language, and a striking message.” Psalmayene 24, who directed the 2016 production, will direct this one as well. From September 7 to October 8, 2017.
On February 8 of next year, Theater Alliance will redevelop a play by Idris Goodwin which imagines a conversation between John Brown, the white abolitionist who hoped to launch an anti-slavery resolution by raiding Harper’s Ferry, and the great African-American anti-slavery social reformer Frederick Douglass. Goodwin, who won critical acclaim for his play How We Got On, has designed The Raid as a meditation on the limits, if any, of resistance to injustice. Theater Alliance Artistic Director Colin Hovde will direct. The play is scheduled to end its run on March 18.
Theater Alliance will close its season with Gabrielle Reisman’s play about the Johnstown flood, Flood City, also in redevelopment. Reisman’s “Johnstown flood” refers not only to the iconic 1889 natural disaster, but to the ebb tide of jobs which hit the steel town more than a century afterward. “Gabrielle Reisman unearths up-to-the-minute issues—and some comic gold—in her time-hopping play about the Johnstown Flood,” American Theater Magazine said about the play when it debuted lasted year. Jenna Duncan will direct this play, which will run from May 10 to June 17, 2018.
Theater Alliance will invite local playwrights to write short, responsive plays to its three mainstage plays.