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Visions and Voices, a Black Playwrights’ Reading Series

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Northwestern University's Virginia Wadsworth Wirtz Center for the Performing Arts

Visions and Voices, a Black Playwrights’ Reading Series

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The Black Playwrights’ Reading Series presented by the Wirtz Center for the Performing Arts and features first year Master of Fine Arts directing students and undergraduate and graduate actors. The three plays were chosen by the directors in consultation with faculty and the center’s managing director from among hundreds and hundreds of scripts some which are familiar and others that deserve a wider audience and center around Racism in America, Police Brutality, Anti-Blackness, the Fight for Justice, and the Celebration of Black Lives. These directors are the first all-black cohort to join Northwestern University’s MFA Directing Program.

JAN 22-24: A Few Short Plays to Save The World and What You Did by Steve Harper, directed by Tor Campbell

These two short plays tackle some of the thorniest and most urgent issues of equity facing our country today through the lens that we know best: the work of the theater artist. Wryly hilarious and startlingly direct, these contemporary pieces fling us into high stakes situations at full speed; alongside the puzzled characters, we are left to try to make sense of the blunt racial disparities we are complicit in. What is the responsibility of the artist in serving the greater good? Is it possible to make a real difference by making plays? Jovial aliens, fierce women, playwrights just trying to get heard: everyone’s jumping into the fray! Tickets.

FEB 5-7: Encore presentation of Wine in the Wilderness, by Alice Childress, directed by Jasmine B. Gunter
Run time: 90 minutes, with a talk back and designer presentations.

“For a time I thought I was about to move into another world, the so-called ‘integrated’ world … but that’s a lie.”

With race riots outside his apartment in 1964 Harlem, artist and sophisticate Bill Jameson paints his view of Black womanhood. While searching for his final model, a woman he describes as “as close to the bottom as you can get,” he thinks he has found a match in Tommy. But Tommy soon tests his toxic assumptions. Rarely staged since its debut in 1969, Alice Childress’ masterwork examines the intersection of race, gender and class in Civil-Rights-Era America. Tickets.

FEB 12-14 The Death of the Last Black Man in the Whole Entire World AKA the Negro Book of the Dead by Suzan Lori-Parks, directed by Manna-Symone Middlebrooks

A woman tries to feed her husband a fried drumstick. Dragons roam a flat earth. The last Black man in the whole entire world dies again. And again. Careening through memory and language, Parks explores and explodes archetypes of Black America with piercing insight and raucous comedy. A riotous theatrical event, The Death of the Last Black Man in the Whole Entire World hums with the heartbeat of improvisational jazz. Tickets.

Patrons will receive a link via e-mail that will allow them to view the performance On Demand.

Northwestern University's Virginia Wadsworth Wirtz Center for the Performing Arts

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Friday, Jan 22
  1. 11:59pm
    $25

Saturday, Jan 23
  1. 11:59pm
    $25

Sunday, Jan 24
  1. 11:59pm
    $25

Friday, Feb 5
  1. 11:59pm
    $25

Saturday, Feb 6
  1. 11:59pm
    $25

Sunday, Feb 7
  1. 11:59pm
    $25

Friday, Feb 12
  1. 11:59pm
    $25

Saturday, Feb 13
  1. 11:59pm
    $25

Sunday, Feb 14
  1. 11:59pm
    $25