Afro-Atlantic Playwrights Festival
TISCH DRAMA STAGE in collaboration with the Camargo Foundation presents a festival of new readings on the African experience, December 4–6.
Camargo Foundation’s Cultural Diaspora Playwrights Residency was conceived and curated by award-winning Minneapolis-based playwright Carlyle Brown and theater director Chuck Mike. The residency’s goal was to bring together mid-career and established African and African-American theatre artists, in Brown’s words, “from opposite ends of the Africanist Diaspora,” engaging them in debates about identity and authenticity and exploring the different ways in which international boundaries shape the African experience. This fall, Camargo Foundation is partnering with Tisch Drama to present the Afro-Atlantic Playwrights Festival, featuring staged readings of three works completed in the Camargo residence.
DECEMBER 4 @ 8 p.m.
By France-Luce Benson
Directed by Christina Acosta Robinson
The second installment of Benson’s Haitian Revolution trilogy, Deux Femmes on the Edge de la Revolution Part 2, continues the journey of Cécile, an enslaved African healer turned rebel soldier, and Valentine, a French woman sold into marriage to a plantation master form an unlikely alliance. As Toussaint L’Ouverture and Jean-Jacques Dessalines continue the fight for freedom and equality, both women are forced to choose between their obligations to fulfill a prophecy, and their allegiance to the new nation rising from the ashes.
DECEMBER 5 @ 8 p.m.
By Zainabu Jallo
Directed by Melissa Crespo
Three first-generation immigrants from Senegal, Albania, and South Korea who have all had distinguished careers as an astrophysicist, a chemist, and a filmmaker, find themselves in a nursing home in Europe. In their seclusion from the world they each knew, they form an unusual bond where they explore their existential anxieties. Youssouf agitates over the omnipresence of people in a panopticon, Moon-So has sleepless nights over haunting voices, and Bajran just wants to get baptized before he leaves this world.
DECEMBER 6 @ 8 p.m.
By Femi Osofisan
Directed by Tiffany Rachelle Stewart
In the 1960s, under the first president, Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana was the undisputed headquarters of freedom fighters from all over the black world. Three truly exemplary women, who are now among the giants of the literary world, made Accra their home base, including two expatriates—Maya Angelou from North America, Maryse Condé, from Guadeloupe—and a Ghanaian, Efua Sutherland. They were in the early years of their womanhood, and their careers were in such a budding stage that not even the most intrepid soothsayer could have dared predict their later spectacular achievement. But what part did their Ghanaian sojourn play in their maturation—literary, political, and otherwise? What effect did their presence have on the local population and on the eventual failure of the Nkrumah revolution? This play is a fiction born out of imagined scenarios between these three great black female writers, brought together at that most momentous period of our history, when one daring, visionary black man tried to change our racial destiny from that of perennial victims.
DECEMBER 7 @ 2 p.m.
The Camargo Foundation is pleased to host a roundtable discussion to close the Afro-Atlantic Playwrights Festival, a collaboration with Tisch Drama. Moderated by Professor Judith Miller, a specialist in French and African theatre, the roundtable will address the influence of the diaspora experience on playwrights from both sides of the Atlantic.