Black Playwrights Festival | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader
This is a past event.
When: Dec. 6-13 2010
Price: $15, festival pass $40
The Black Ensemble Theater hosts its sixth annual showcase of new works by local African-American playwrights. Produced by the theater's Black Playwrights Initiative--which also provides classes, workshops, and resources for black writers--the fest features staged readings of six full-length new plays, all of them directed by Daryl Brooks. The opening ceremonies (Mon 12/6, 7:30 PM) include a wine-and-cheese reception; readings of excerpts from plays by Wendell Etherly, Runako Jahi, and Black Ensemble associate director Rueben Echoles; and a tribute to Eric Monte, a pioneer in black television. The showcase proper kicks off with The Rare Pearl (The Story of Pearl Bailey) (Tue 12/7, 7:30 PM), Etherly's look at the legendary singer and actress. Lyle Miller's Urban Legend (The History of Tupac Shakur) (Wed 12/8, 7:30 PM) explores the prolific rapper's life and music. The Punk Ain't No Punk No More (Thu 12/9, 7:30 PM), by Black Ensemble founder and executive director Jackie Taylor, follows a "punk who saved himself" from drugs and violence. Kelvin Roston's The Psychology of a Genius: Donny Hathaway (Fri 12/10, 11 PM) focuses on the final three hours of the soul singer's life. On Saturday, December 11, come Echoles's Sounds so Sweet (3 PM) and Jahi's More Than Words (A Tribute to Langston Hughes and Paul Lawrence Dunbar) (11 PM). The Shorties II--Sisters With Voices (Sun 12/12, 7 PM) presents four "bite-size" plays, no longer than 15 minutes apiece, by female playwrights Jasmine Coles, M.H. Pope, Loy Alexandria Webb, and Marylene Whitehead. The festival concludes with The Writer's Party Time (Mon 12/13, 7-9 PM), a networking event. Refreshments, dancing, and an open mike for poets, singers, actors, and storytellers are part of the mix. —John V. Santore


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