WHY: Because black women producing changes the game – it raises the bar! Jil Chrissie creates a new genre, while giving fellow comedians of color a platform to share their material and have a louder voice.
Comedy Hoe is stand-up comedy meeting high art. You will not find many who would say these are a good match but after seeing Comedy Hoe I saw the possibility, the magic of combining spoken word, fictional storytelling and stand-up into a compelling and powerful piece of new theater. This is a fantastic, innovative show which also features comic Angelica Mackey, who is hilarious – a true comedian with a simmering presence on stage. And Jil can bring a room from uncontrolled laughter to stillness, where reflection takes hold. As an audience member you sense you are witnessing something special, that you are a part of the future. Comedy Hoe belongs in galleries and clubs from the U.S to Europe.
WHY: A woman in a black dress with her face hidden from the audience marks lines on a chalkboard. Silent. We see only the bounce her body makes as she writes on a small board. There’s something about this action that becomes unsettling but, but your fears are set aside as an abrupt entrance brings the room to immediate laughter. This Dynamic Duo’s energy, chemistry and timing are a theatrical treat that will take you outside yourself and on an unexpected emotional journey with a room full of strangers. The Living Room is a place where many families gather together in joy and sorrow. A room of memories.
This show is a wonderful examination and celebration of life and death. By the end of the show you won’t quite understand how, but you’ll find yourself speaking aloud.
WHY: As soon as you enter the theatre you’re immediately swooped into a classroom. What occurs after the teachers enter the space is a whirlpool of unexpected emotions as you begin to understand the heartbreaking realities of Apartheid. We all have heard the legend of Nelson Mandela, but not so familiar is the story of the children of Apartheid who grew up trying to understand how their country was not theirs, and maneuvering in their world with white voices echoing around them and stealing their rights. In a short amount of time, you learn many South African truths, you hear history in Mathka’s voice, and you begin to see just how funny the absurd can be… if it didn’t want to make you cry.
WHY: Marty writes as well as directs Fight or Flight, a bold play showcasing a young girl full of grit. It’s not an obvious play but it is a play of the times. We discover Zoey Jones, a young female fighter, looking for a gym to train at. Through Zoey – who is about to have her first professional boxing fight – we get an interesting look at female fighters finding support in/out of the ring, how much it takes mentally to fight with your fists in a ring, and how we build bonds and friendships with the coaches in our lives. This is a unique new work full of heart!
WHY: CATHARSIS is a meditation on the (de) stabilizing effects of adoption. With paint, a canvas, a hammer and a wood board, CATHARSIS captures the spirit of the Fringe! Megh will steal your heart with her carefree dancing and the way her voice crawls up behind your neck as she sings, like a secret you’ve been hiding. The time she takes within the space – no rushing, using pauses as action – will stir your soul. And when she begins to break the comfortable use of language while reading a letter from her birth mother, you, too, will never quite understand why she Meg was given up for adoption. But you do see a magical, beautiful artist who will thrive and who wasn’t afraid to say aloud in a room full of strangers, “Why me?”
WHY: Kate will take you on a spiritual journey, using mythological narrative to examine violence women have suffered and will suffer at the hands of men. It is not an attack but a look at old truths rooted in ancient and modern day storytelling. Even Kate’s use of her foot to control the electronic music becomes its own form of poetry as her voice soars and roars through the dark space. Watching footage of old ruins swell the tiny theatre, DROUGHT became a new religion. You have one more chance to this regal being. GO!
WHY: A touching exploration of motherhood. The playwright/actress invites the audience to share moments of humor and tenderness, highlighting truisms about millennial parenting, such as “your heart lives outside your body.” Developed with & directed by Jessica Lynn Johnson, the production highlights an appreciation for the challenges of being a parent in an entertaining and engaging way. This one woman show demonstrates the actress’s ability to provide richness to multiple characters.
Shari’s story will sneak up on you and blow your heart away. You’ll find her ability to smile and persevere – through obstacles that no child should face – to be more than inspirational. It will cause you to take action.
I love that Shari is not only an actress but an activist who has something that needs to be said in a theatre. As you go on this journey with her, you’ll see how she gained such a contagiously bright laugh, despite her trials and tribulations. You’ll find that pain can be used as fuel, that what makes us angry can also be released through love and support, that anything is possible if you give yourself a chance to thrive. Shari has done just that and has become a resource and beacon of light for the foster care community, using her voice to create change on a Federal level. Go support this persistent young lady!!
Yokko’s work onstage is nothing short of riveting. She’s created a spare, text-light piece that follows the events of Macbeth in a way that’s both highly physical and mostly focused on Lady Macbeth’s interior life. Honestly, it’s chilling. I’ve seen more than my fair share of Macbeths, and I still couldn’t look away. If Butoh excites you, go see it. If Macbeth turns you off, consider going to see it anyway.
WHERE: Assistance League Theatre 1367 N. St. Andrews Place
As soon as you walk in the theatreyou feel a contagious energy – you are bearing witness to a special performance where actors and non-actors share the stage to honor the promotoras who’ve fought for their community, the safety of their bodies, better working conditions and have built a union connecting janitors across the state of California. Written and directed by Jeanette Godoy, this play is powerful and full of urgency as it gives insight into the battles endured by immigrant janitors who fought to protect women working late night janitorial shifts. This fight for women, led by women, redefined how immigrant women were seen in the workplace. It is a testament to the power of coming together and sacrificing by any means necessary. Go see this show – by the end of the show you’ll be shouting YA BASTA, Sí Se Puede!