WHO: The Straz Center
WHAT: BIPOC Play Reading Series
WHERE: Straz Center’s TECO Theater
WHEN: Sundays March 5, April 23, May 28, at 2:30 p.m.
DETAILS: The Straz Center’s BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People-of-Color) Play Reading Series is an integral part of the Straz Center’s efforts to be more inclusive and to diversify artistic offerings.
For the second year, this four-part series offers the dramatic experience of hearing excerpts from plays written by talented local and national writers. A question-and-answer period follows, during which writers provide insight into their creative processes.
The second playwright featured, on March 5, will be Ifa Bayeza, a playwright, producer and conceptual theater artist. Local actors will read excerpts from her play, The Ballad of Emmett Till, winner of the Edger Award for Best Play in 2009. The Ballad of Emmett Till is based on the devastating, true story of 14-year-old Emmett Till, who was tortured and killed in rural Mississippi after allegedly whistling at a white woman. This play led to Bayeza getting an artist-in-residence fellowship from Brown University’s Rites and Reason Theater and Providence Black Repertory Theater. Some of Bayeza’s additional works for the stage include Amistad Voices, Club Harlem, Kid Zero and Homer G & the Rhapsodies.
On March 5, actors also will read excerpts from the Tony®-award nominated for colored girls who have considered suicide / when the rainbow is enuf, written by Bayeza’s sister, Ntozake Shange. Shange described her work – a series of poetic monologues accompanied by dance movements and music – as a choreopoem. for colored girls who have considered suicide / when the rainbow is enuf was later performed on Broadway, adapted as a book, a TV movie and theatrical film.
The last playwright to be featured will be Native American playwright LeAnne Howe, on May 28. In addition to being a playwright, Howe is an Edison Distinguished professor in American Literature at the University of Georgia. Excerpts from her play Savage Conversations will be read.
The first playwright to be spotlighted in the BIPOC Play Reading Series’ second season was award-winning playwright Gretchen Suárez-Peña, on February 5. The third playwright, to be featured on April 23, has yet to be announced.
BIPOC Play Reading series play readings will be held on Sundays, March 5, April 23 and May 28. All play readings are FREE and held at 2:30 p.m. in the TECO Theater. Reservations are required by calling 813.229.STAR (7827) or visiting the website at www.strazcenter.org/Events/Straz/Shows/Voices-of-the-Community/BIPOC-Playreading-Series and clicking on the show date.
For more information about the Straz Center for the Performing Arts and its upcoming events, visit www.strazcenter.org.