Summer’s here, and it’s time again for the biennial Paul Robeson Theatre Festival, presented by The Robey Theatre Company in association with The Los Angeles Theatre Center. This year, the theme is Words & Wine, featuring staged readings of five brand-new plays commissioned by The Robey Theatre Company. The 2022 Paul Robeson Theatre Festival is the first time the public will experience these new works by emerging playwrights.
The intimate staged readings will be performed at The Los Angeles Theatre Center in historic Downtown L.A., 514 S. Spring St., Los Angeles, CA 90013, in Theatre Four. Funding for the Robey Commissioned Plays Project is made possible through grants from The California Community Foundation L.A. Arts Recovery Fund, The Ford Foundation, The California Arts Council, and The Los Angeles County Arts Commission. One of these plays will be selected for full production by The Robey Theatre Company in Fall 2022.
All events are free on a first-come-first-served-basis. Reservations are required because of limited seating. Donations are welcomed and 100% of the contributions support the work of The Robey Theatre Company’s ongoing mission to present stories about global Black experiences and foster a community of theatre actors and playwrights.
Each reading in the Festival will be followed by a Q&A.
Because of Los Angeles County pandemic guidelines, everyone is asked to wear a mask (except when eating or drinking) and provide proof of vaccination or recent negative Covid test results and government I.D.
Register for all events at https://therobeytheatrecompany.org or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org beginning July 1.
Here’s the schedule of events:
Friday, July 15, 2022. Day One- Opening Night Wine Reception and Staged Reading. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. with the reading at 8:00 p.m. of Negra , written by Julio Hanson and directed by Daphne Sicré.. Negra (named Amelia at birth) is a story about a young 17-year-old Afro-Panamanian woman coming full circle from a place of strength to defeat to inner growth. Featuring Alexis Malespin, Jhan Mena, Mariana Escobar, David Towne, Teddy Alexis Rodriguez, Chanda Harman, William Warren, Kit Dezotl, Shavonne Grandison, Carolina Pilar Xique, Gabriella Okomna, Kyle Sparks, James Cane Walden, JC Cadena.
Day Two- First reading. Saturday, July 16. Doors open at 1:00 p.m. with the reading at 2:00 Saturday, July 16 at 2:00 p.m. Looking for the Hustle written by Nui Brown and directed by Gabrielle Jackson. Looking for the Hustle is a choreopoem with characters sharing their experiences through spoken word. Life is a hustle, and the hustle is real every day of the week . Most people don’t talk about it, but it happens all over town. You don’t have to be a big-time hustler to play the money game. One has to do their thang as they Looking for the Hustle. The cast features Terrance Stewart, Nate Lovell, Tina Tena Ansah, Saadiqa K. Muhammad, Alex W.S.T. Chumley.
Day Two- Second reading. Saturday, July 16. Doors open at 7:00 p.m. with the reading at 8:00 p.m.: Man’s Favor, Devil’s Plan, written by Kwik Jones and directed by C. Julian White. Mr. Avery believes in one hand washes the other when doing business. In the hotel started by his father, his workers feel the brunt of this, especially housekeeper DD. As the hotel loses money Avery feels the pressure from his father to turn things around or lose the hotel. The cast features Damon Rutledge, Darnell Trujeque, Leilani Scott Young, Christina Childress, Crystal Nix, Darrell Philip.
Day Three- First reading. Sunday, July 17. Doors open at 1:00 p.m. with the reading at 2:00 p.m. Vaccination Elevation is written by Lorinda Hawkins Smith and directed by Bernadette Speakes. Vaccination Elevation is the story of three Church ladies, Black women (of a certain age) reluctant to get the coronavirus vaccine. They finally give in and take the shot, and they each have very different life-changing experiences. The cast features Sonia Jackson, Joy DeMichelle, Yolanda T. Ross, Nakasha Norwood, ReSheda Terry, Cherish Monique Duke, Rodnesha Green, Antoinette Westcott, James Cane Walden, Paulette Clarke, Marcus Clark-Oliver.
Day Three- Second reading. Sunday, July 17 . Doors open at 6:00 p.m. with the reading at 7:00 p.m. Buffalo Meets the Thunder is written by Pauletta James and directed by Dylan Southard. Buffalo Meets the Thunder is a gumbo, a dark stew consisting of a strongly-flavored stock of Buffalo Soldiers, Pancho Villa, Jack Johnson, Charles Deslondes, a Storyville brothel owner, a modiste and a couple engaged to be married. The story is seasoned further by the Holy (or Unholy) Trinity of 1917, Mexico and New Orleans, thickened by the roux of Mardi Gras. The cast features Stan Sellers, Lorinda Hawkins Smith, Moises Rodriguez, Randahl Brisco, Matthew Lawrence Jennings, Marcus Clark-Oliver.
Producing Artistic Director: Ben Guillory. Associate Producer: JC Cadena. Production Stage Managers: Jermaine Alexander, Crystal Nix. Assistant Stage Manager: Christina Childress. Video Editor: Jermaine Alexander. Graphic Artist: Jason Mimms. Music Director: Cydney Wayne Davis. Costume Design: Naila Aladdin Sanders. Lighting Design: Benedict Conrad. Dramaturgs: Dr. Daphne Sicré, Dylan Southard. Food and Wine Coordinator: Princess Guillory. Intern assistant to Ms. Guillory: Lauren Hazel. Friends of The Robey Coordinator: Akosua Hobert.
Spend a weekend with the works of some of America’s best up-and-coming Black playwrights. Enjoy a glass of wine and listen to the words.