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May 22

Classix: A Reading Series Celebrating Classic Plays By Black Playwrights

Alice Childress,Kathleen Collins,Bill Gunn,and Ron Milner. Photo courtesy of the artists

Monday + Tueaday, May 22 +23
Segal Theatre

4:30pm + 6:30pm Readings

FREE + Open to public. First come, first served.

Please join us as we expand our collective knowledge of the classical canon with an exceptional group directors and actors for this unique series—curated by Awoye Timpo as “an exhibition of rarely seen Black classic plays.” Play readings are followed in the evening by a discussion with the theatre artists involved. Alice Childress, Kathleen Collins, Bill Gunn, and Ron Milner are just four out of a long line of writers whose extraordinary plays were produced in the 20th century. This series celebrates classic plays that feature dynamic characters, extraordinary dialogue, and compelling stories—all written by an eclectic group of Black writers, whose plays speak to their own time in a way that deeply resonates with our own.

 

Monday, May 22

4:30pm What the Wine-Sellers Buy by Ron Milner
Written in 1974, What the Wine-Sellers Buy was originally produced by Joseph Papp at the New York Shakespeare Festival at Lincoln Center. The play centers around Steve Carlton, a carefree high school student, who wrestles between his dream to become a professional basketball player and the other possibilities in his life.

6:30pm Wine in the Wilderness by Alice Childress
A timeless and thrilling play, Wine in the Wilderness (1969) revolves around a young girl who befriends an artist in the midst of painting his triptych. In this piece Childress explores the depths of Black womanhood.

Tuesday, May 23

4:30pm The Plays of Bill Gunn
Bill Gunn was the author of numerous extraordinary plays. This reading will explore a variety of his works.

6:30pm The Brothers by Alice Childress
In this memory-drama Collins weaves together a series of scenes and monologues about black men who “should have been born white’’ because they “spent their entire lives trying to jump out of their skins.’’ The Brothers (1982) was originally produced by the Women’s Project at the American Place Theater.

 

Playwright, novelist, actor, and screenwriter Alice Childress was a visionary artist. Born was in Charleston, South Carolina in 1916 she later moved to Harlem where she began writing and immersing herself in the vibrant arts scene. Ms. Childress wrote over a dozen plays over the course of her career including Florence, Wedding Band:
A Love/Hate Story in Black and White, Trouble in Mind, Mojo: A Black Love Story, and Wine in the Wilderness. She also wrote the novels Like One of the Family and A Hero Ain’t Nothin’ but a Sandwich which was later turned into a film. A Tony Award nominee for her performance in Anna Lucasta, Ms. Childress was also a tireless advocate for actor union rights.

Photo by Mark Reid

Born in 1942, raised in Jersey City, and educated at Skidmore and the Sorbonne, Kathy Collins was an activist with SNCC during the Civil Rights Movement who went on to carve out a career for herself as a playwright and filmmaker during a time when black women were rarely seen in those roles. She was married twice, and had
two children who she raised in Piermont, New York. She died young, at age 46, from breast cancer. Her most known work is the film Losing Ground, followed perhaps by two plays, In the Midnight Hour, and The Brothers. A never-before released collection of short fiction, Whatever Happened to Interracial Love?, was published by Ecco Press in Fall 2016. kathleencollins.org

Bill Gunn was an extraordinary artistic force with an exceptional body of work across various mediums. He began his career as an actor and appeared on Broadway in The Immoralist and off-Broadway in the classic play Take A Giant Step by Louis Peterson. Several of his plays were produced at the New York Shakespeare Festival
under the leadership of Joseph Papp and include masterpieces such as Black Picture Show, Johnnas, and The Forbidden City. In addition to his extensive work in the theater, Mr. Gunn wrote and directed films including his best-known work Ganja and Hess as well as the film Stop. He is also the author of two novels, All the Rest Have Died and Rhinestone Sharecropping. Bold, inventive, and surprising the work of Bill Gunn is impressively resonant and dynamic as ever.

Ron Milner was a legendary playwright with an extraordinary body of work including the plays Who’s Got His Own, Season’s Reasons, The Warning—A Theme for Linda, Jazz Set, and Roads to the Mountaintop which was a tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.. Born and raised in Detroit, his work is infused with a rhythmic and regional
authenticity and an uncompromising depth of character. His play Checkmates appeared on Broadway in a production directed by Woodie King Jr. and featuring extraordinary an exceptional cast including Denzel Washington, Ruby Dee, Paul Winfield and Marsha Jackson. Mr. Milner is also the author of the book for the musical Don’t Get God Started, written in collaboration with the Winans family.

Awoye Timpo is a New York-based director. Credits include Sister Son/ji (Billie Holiday Theater), Carnaval (National Black Theatre), Ndebele Funeral (59E59; South African tour; Edinburgh Festival), The Libation Bearers (Shakespeare Theatre NJ), Chasing the Bird (Joyce Theater), Children of the Road (NYU Grad Acting), In the Continuum (Juilliard), Tears of Anatolia (Columbia), Araby (La Mama), Clybourne Park (Farmers Alley), Ruined (WMU), The Vanished (Novisi, site-specific), Rhinoceros (Novisi). Broadway: Assistant Director, Shuffle Along; Associate Director, Jitney. Segal Center: PEN World Voices, Feast (Fall 2016), Other: Page 73, TerraNOVA, Ma-Yi, Royal Shakespeare Company, WNYC, ABC/Disney, Soho Rep Writer/ Director Lab, Cherry Lane Mentor Project, Lincoln Center Directors Lab.

Start: May 22, 2017
End: May 23, 2017
Venue: Segal Theatre
Category:
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May 30

Artist talk with Tadashi Suzuki (Japan)

Photo courtesy of the artist

Tuesday, May 30
Segal Theatre
12:00 Artist Talk with Tadashi Suzuki & Kameron Steele, with Frank Hentschker
+ 11:30am, 2:00pm, 2:15pm, 3:45pm Screenings

FREE + Open to public. First come, first served.

The Segal Center welcomes legendary Japanese theatre artist Tadashi Suzuki on his perhaps last visit to the United States.
Suzuki (born 1939 in Shimizu) is a theatre director, writer, and philosopher working out of Toga, Toyama, Japan. He is the founder and director of the Suzuki Company of Toga (SCOT), organizer of Japan’s first international theatre festival (Toga Festival). With director Anne Bogart he co-founded the Saratoga International Theatre Institute in Saratoga Springs, New York. He is the creator of the Suzuki Method of Actor Training. In conversation with Kameron Steele (editor and translator of Tadashi Suzuki’s Culture Is the Body) and Frank Hentschker.

Tadashi Suzuki will present his 2016 Theatre Olympics version of his 1986 signature work The Trojan Women in a rare performance at Skidmore College in upstate New York as part of the Transformation through Training: Symposium on the Suzuki Method of Actor Training, taking place May 31 – June 3 at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, NY. 
Please visit www.siti.org/symposium2017 for more information.
Questions? Contact SITI at symposium@siti.org.

Event Schedule

11:30am Special Feature Program on SCOT and Toga 2015 20min
12:00pm Conversation with Tadashi Suzuki, Kameron Steele, Frank Hentschker
2:00pm Interview with Tadashi Suzuki from 2015 15min
2:15pm Suzuki’s production of Chekhov’s Ivanov 2004 80min
3:45pm Documentary on Suzuki’s Taiwan production of La Dame aux Camélias 2011 56min

 

Tadashi Suzuki is the founder and director of the Suzuki Company of Toga (SCOT) based in Toga Village, located in the mountains of Toyama prefecture. He is the organizer of Japan’s first international theatre festival (Toga Festival), and the creator of the Suzuki Method of Actor Training. Suzuki also plays an important role with several other organizations: as General Artistic Director of Shizuoka Performing Arts Center (1995~2007), as a member of the International Theatre Olympics Committee, as founding member of the BeSeTo Festival (jointly organized by leading theatre professionals from Japan, China and Korea) and as Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Japan Performing Arts Foundation (2000~2010), a nation-wide network of theatre professionals in Japan.
Suzuki’s works include “On the Dramatic Passions”, “The Trojan Women”, “Dionysus”, “King Lear”, “Cyrano de Bergerac”, “Madame de Sade” and many others. Besides productions with his own company, he has directed several international collaborations, such as “The Tale of Lear”, co-produced and presented by four leading regional theatres in the US; “King Lear”, presented with the Moscow Art Theatre; “Oedipus Rex”, co-produced by Cultural Olympiad and Düsseldorf Schauspiel Haus; and “Electra”, produced by Ansan Arts Center/Arco Arts Theatre in Korea and the Taganka Theatre in Russia.
Suzuki has articulated his theories in a number of books. A collection of his writings in English, Culture is the Body is published by Theatre Communications Group in New York. He has taught his system of actor training in schools and theatres throughout the world, including The Juilliard School in New York and the Moscow Art Theatre. Also, a book written on Suzuki titled The Theatre of Suzuki Tadashi is published by Cambridge University Press as part of their Directors in Perspective series, featuring leading theatre directors of the 20th Century. This series includes works on Meyerlhold, Brecht, Strehler, Peter Brook and Robert Wilson among others.
Not just one of the world’s foremost theatre directors, Suzuki is also a seminal thinker and practitioner whose work has a powerful influence on theatre everywhere. Suzuki’s primary concerns include: the structure of a theatre group, the creation and use of theatrical space, and the overcoming of cultural and national barriers in the interest of creating work that is truly universal. Suzuki has established in Toga one of the largest international theatre centers in the world. Surrounded by the beautiful wilderness of Toga, the facility includes six theatres, rehearsal rooms, offices, lodgings, restaurants, etc.
Suzuki’s activities, both as a director creating multilingual and multicultural productions, and as a festival producer bringing people from throughout the world together in the context of shared theatrical endeavor, reflect an aggressive approach to dealing with the fundamental issues of our times.

 

Photo courtesy of the artist

Kemeron Steele In 1991, Kameron Steele joined Tadashi Suzuki’s SCOT company in Toga, Japan where he has since worked as an actor, assistant director, teacher and translator, appearing in KING LEAR,  IVANOV, and DIONYSUS among others.  From 1998-2007, Mr. Steele also worked at Robert Wilson’s Watermill Center, appearing in Wilson’s touring productions of PERSEPHONE, WOYZECK, THE DAYS BEFORE and the title role in PROMETHEUS.  In 2003, Steele formed The South Wing (alaSur) with Argentinean director Ivana Catanese.  Since then their work has been seen regularly in Argentina and in NYC at HERE Arts Center, Japan Society, Prelude Festival, PS122, LMCC, LIU and the Watermill Center. Steele is currently a guest lecturer at Williams College, where he directed Caryl Churchill’s THE SKRIKER last fall. He also leads the summer training program in Toga for SCOT.  His translation of Tadashi Suzuki’s CULTURE IS THE BODY was published by TCG in August, 2015. BFA: Northwestern   MFA: CalArts

Start: May 30, 2017
End: May 30, 2017
Venue: Segal Theatre
Category:
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