Sunday, July 27, 2008

More theater...Off-Broadway...Closing Soon...


Closing August 3, 2008

Expatriate written and composed by poet, performance artist, and playwright Lenelle Moïse; directed by Tamille Woodard.


Just reviewed by Andy Webster in the New York Times:

"With all the theater out there, how inspiring it is to be reminded how invigorating an Off Broadway play can be with just two appealing performers, compelling music and a searching, intelligent script. Lenelle Moïse, a poet, playwright and performer, has written, composed and stars in “Expatriate,” a two-woman production at the Culture Project that delivers on all counts.In the first act the play follows the best friends Claudie (Ms. Moïse ) and Alphine (Karla Mosley) from childhood in the Boston projects to New York. Understated, earnest Claudie, in dreadlocks, attends Juilliard while exuberant but needy Alphine, in a glittery short dress, works briefly as a stripper and sings at jazz gigs. Though Alphine goes out with Omar, Claudie’s ne’er-do-well twin, a rising hip-hop star, it’s clear the women reserve their greatest support for each other. When Omar dies, Claudie, despondent, flees to Paris, where she falls in love and moves in with a woman. Alphine follows her there, and the two find success as the singing duo Black Venus. As they struggle to define their relationship, Alphine goes solo, succumbing to the temptations of fame and substance abuse. Claudie emerges from under her shadow and finds her own inner star. With the Black Venus numbers, the play breaks out its big musical guns, suggesting the glory of the stage but with minimal fuss. Ms. Moïse’s compositions, enhanced by Nick Moore’s music direction and sound design, are often recorded percussive vocals accompanied by live singing. The stripped-down result is effective. Nicco Annan’s choreography and Stephen Arnold’s unobtrusive projection design also make an impact. Ms. Moïse has written a thoughtful narrative laden with observations about childhood, black identity in the United States and abroad, and the cost of show business on performers. As directed by Tamilla Woodard, it never lags nor gets ahead of itself. But the production’s greatest asset is Ms. Moïse and Ms. Mosley’s heavenly symmetry, entwined in dialogue and song. Ms. Mosley’s contribution cannot be underestimated. She calibrates Alphine’s decline with subtlety, bringing out her shrill, brittle insecurities and petty vanities organically, without undue pyrotechnics. You see the result but know where it came from. Claudie has her own transformation. When she tears into the song 'Rebel' toward the end, it’s as if a spirit has been passed on — of Nina Simone, of Josephine Baker, of Alphine."

Expatriate
Culture Project
55 Mercer Street (between Broome and Grand)
8pm
Tix :212-352-3101 or go to their website





The Return of Freedom Train Productions! Fire! New Play Festival
Plays in Development That Matter
3 Plays 3 LGBT S/Heroes All Free!
August 6 - 21, 2008

Featuring the public reading of delta dandi a new work by performer/playwright Sharon Bridgforth.
August 6-7
South Oxford Space
138 South Oxford
Fort Greene
Brooklyn, NY
7pm
FREE
About delta dandi:

"About delta dandi...

Theatre in the round. Large screens loop digital images. Platforms house performers. The audience inhabits the space/an installation. Drummers beat out syncopations. A jazz quartet jams. A gospel choir sings. Actors embody the stories. Dancers invoke the world of the piece. I conduct it all. Using the delta dandi text as the 'score' I create in theatre a living cacophony. A theatrical jazz experience of Black American history. The audience are participant/witnesses.
We Be Bop’n/YEAH…

"delta dandi is a Conjure woman born and reborn in Congo Square. The delta dandi text is constructed with monologues, chants, choral tellings and songs which are layered weavings of different time dimensions and contrasting rhythms. Using models that Duke Ellington created with his Sacred concert series and Black, Brown and Beige, (1943) which he called a Tone Poem, I will conduct delta dandi for theatre. delta dandi pays homage to the ways in which art has traditionally been a living form of prayer, power and release for Black Americans."

Endnote:
• Audio interview with Sharon Bridgforth on "Blues, Langston Hughes, and Non-Linear Theater" and more info on delta dandi here.

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