NFT’s reading series was dedicated to the memory of the late playwright Ntozake Shange who died October 27, 2018, 10 days before the opening.
The Ntozake Shange November Readings Series 2018 is devoted to brilliant one- and two-character plays, a dramatic form that most theaters neglect. It will be used to develop African-American writers and to select plays that New Federal Theatre may present as full productions in its 2019-20 season
“The Day Mr. Kemper Talked To Us About Sensual Relations” by J.E. Franklin, directed by Eric Coleman. Performed by Malika Franklin. Based on the true story of a teacher who taught his pupils about sensual relationships and was fired for it in the 1960s. J.E. Franklin is author of “Black Girl.”
“My Story, My Voice (a one-woman play)” by Ivy Omere, performed by the author, directed by Passion. The story of a young girl, child of Nigerian immigrants in England, who is cast out of her family into the foster care system and who later returns to navigate life in the troubled home of her own parents.
Richie McCall in his solo play, “Me and Stepin,” directed by Dathan Williams. A struggling actor journeys through years of side-splitting frustration and disappointment on his way to Broadway and finds his true voice in the unlikeliest of places–the spirit of America’s most “dissed” black film actor, Stepin’ Fetchit.
“Looking for Leroy” by Larry Muhammad, directed by Patronia Paley. In this two-character play, a young theater intern and LeRoi Jones/Amiri Baraka debate fundamental questions of theater, aesthetics and artistic expression, weighing the added responsibility of artists of color. Performed by Russell Jones and NSangou Njikam.
“Baldwin’s Nigger” by Reginald T. Jackson, directed by Anderson Johnson. A two-character play about a fictional meeting between James Baldwin and a Jewish activist named Ezra who comes bearing money for the Civil Rights movement but then refuses to leave because of his intense interest in Baldwin. What transpires is a scandalous and informative evening. Jonathan Newberry will read James Baldwin and Chris Harcum will read Ezra.
All 2018-19 Season productions: