As Black Lives Matter protests filled D.C.’s streets this summer, Raymond O. Caldwell, Artistic Director of Theater Alliance, considered how he and his Anacostia-based theatre company could carry those calls for justice and change beyond the protests.
The result: Strategize, Organize, Mobilize: A Protest in Eight, a series of 8 short films, each addressing a request made by the Black Lives Matter Movement.
“We commissioned this cohort of playwrights this summer in an effort to respond to the protests occurring in our nation’s capital with intentionality, artistry, and nuance ” Caldwell wrote DCTS. “In developing A Protest in Eight, we at Theater Alliance, have been inspired to reimagine how we reach our audience when they need community and conversation the most.”
To do that safely, as Covid numbers soared in the capital, the company created what they call safety ‘bubbles’: one of actors from Howard University, and one of designers. The video below shows the teams working together.
Each short film, presented for that night only, begins at 8pm, with a talkback between Caldwell and the playwright on Facebook Live at 9pm afterwards.
The BLM call to defund the police is the subject of tonight’s opening film, The Obedient Mirage by Rodney Jones.
When asked how he would gauge the success of the series, Caldwell responded: “We already consider this series a success. A collection of artists safely came together to create art that responds to this moment and their lives.”
Strategize, Organize, Mobilize: A Protest in Eight
October 27 – November 3, 2020.
Tickets: $10 per show.
- October 27 — DEFUNDING POLICE:
The Obedient Mirage by Roney Jones
As tensions with protestors rise outside of the Vaughn home over the murder of Dashawn Bashaam, a Black police officer and his family navigate emotional conversations around implicit bias, police accountability, and individual responsibility.
- October 28 — DECRIMINALIZING SEX WORK:
Reap the Reparations by Alric Davis
It’s your favorite game show “The Blackest of the Day!” Tune in to this game show spoof to see who our good friend Uncle Sam chooses to dole out reparations too. But be careful, one wrong answer will get your Black card revoked!
- October 29 — REDUCING PRISON POPULATIONS:
What Happens There by Savina Barini
Maria is running for District Attorney as a prison abolitionist even in spite of her traumatic past with Albert. As the two grapple with their shared history, they unlock compelling notions about prison reform.
- October 30 — REPARATIONS:
Tiffany’s by Emmanuel Key
Another late night at Tiffany’s, a magical diner for the underbelly of American society. Looking to hide, Neith stumbles into the diner and finds herself on a journey of self-discovery and transformation.
- October 31 — ENDING CASH BAIL:
Either You Got It or You Don’t by Kayla Parker
It’s 4th of July weekend, and five different folx from five different walks of life are each trying to make bail. Each gets a phone call. Each has a story. Each has a choice. Or do they?
- November 1 — BANNING STOP AND FRISK:
It’s a New Age, Mammy! by Tehya Merritt
Every afternoon Mammy loves to tune in to her favorite show, but today something is different. The characters aren’t “shucking and jiving” like they normally do! A gripping satire, this short play examines the policy of stop and frisk.
- November 2 — DROPPING CHARGES AGAINST PROTESTERS:
The Death of the Wonderkid by Naima Randolph
Wonderkid, a child superhero has grown up in the public eye. He’s super-fast and a shining example for his community. Now as a grown up, has the world changed? Is there space for a Black superhero in a world that views protestors as villains?
- November 3 — ADDRESSING SCHOOL TO PRISON PIPELINES:
Criminalize Me by Carmin Wong
How do young people navigate a system that doesn’t validate their humanity? Wisdom has a secret she’s been keeping from her best friend Rah. That secret could rock the foundation of their friendship, school, and community. Who can she tell?
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