One of the few area production groups that managed to produce effectively during the pandemic of 2020 is looking forward to returning to the stage in October for the first and only theater festival in Indiana spotlighting the work of Black playwrights. The sponsoring African Repertory Theatre of IUPUI has announced the five plays selected for this year’s event.
ARTI produces the event in cooperation with IndyFringe. Out of three dozen scripts submitted, narrowed down to 21 submitted to a panel of theater jurors, the following five were chosen:
- “1200 MILES FROM JEROME” By Crystal Rhodes. The play is the World War II era adventureof a mother, two daughters, a young school teacher and a Japanese American fugitive forced toleave their hometown of Jerome, Arkansas and flee over 1,200 miles to New York City.
- “FLY BLACKBIRD, FLY: VOICES WE CAN’T UNHEAR” By Latrice P. Young. This production isa choreopoem portrayal of a young girl growing up too fast beyond the watch of her concernedmother and her traumatic journey to find herself, purpose, love, and healing.
- “IN THE END” By Sharai Bohannon. The story of the antithesis to the “Angel of Death,” a morecompassionate cherub, meets three different people in different places in life as they confrontone common denominator – their inevitable mortality as they reflect on their lives.
- “THAT DAY IN FEBRUARY” By Janice Morris Neal. Three siblings try to reconcile thoughts andemotions as they face the prospect of their father being paroled after 16 years in prison for thedeath of their mother. They ponder what could be a life-changing decision.
- “THIS BITTER CUP” By Charla Booth. A southern Black entrepreneurial family wrestles withthe challenge of sustaining their successful business as the son is intent on gong north topursue other interests and the daughter weighs prejudices against women and Blacks.
OnyxFest 2021 will be held October 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10 at both the District Theatre and IndyFringe. Performances continue October 15, 16 and 17 at the IUPUI Campus Center Theater.
Auditions will be held in June. Those interested in acting, or working on the production end of the five plays, may obtain more detailed information at onyxfest.com. Call 317.274.8710 for more info. Visit the website for profiles and photos of each playwright.
About the Africana Repertory Theatre of IUPUI(A.R.T.I.)
ARTI leverages the creative and communal power of the arts as a vehicle to bring about community, youth empowerment, and positive social transformation. Our community-based outreach includes workshops, theatrical productions, school-based programs, university teaching, and arts-based research to develop, promote, and build upon a strong creative art tradition. Through curated events, public conversations, and community-engaged practice, we seek to connect people to the cultural and artistic traditions of the African Diaspora. ARTI’s leadership team includes, Dr. Leslie K. Etienne, IUPUI Center for Africana Studies and Culture; Dr. Khaula Murtadha, Office of Community Engagement; Susan Kigamwa, Office of Community Engagement; Dr. Lasana D. Kazembe, School of Education & Africana Studies; Dr. Regina Turner, Center for Engaged Learning, Division of Undergraduate Education and the Africana Studies Program; and Vernon A. Williams, Office of Community Engagement.