2019-20 Season 17

Word Becomes Action Festival III: Everyday Revolutions

August 6 - 18, 2019

The third annual Word Becomes Action Festival launches the season, with six new works that ask us to confront the revolutions and moments of resilience within our daily lives. Shining the spotlight on local theater artists, Word Becomes Action offers a dynamic glimpse into the themes and topics explored throughout our main-stage season.


Blank by Nassim Soleimanpour | Continuing the formal experiment that marked White Rabbit Red Rabbit, Nassim Soleimanpour brings us BLANK. In a joint effort between audience and performer, the gaps in the script are filled in to reveal a story that celebrates the human imagination. As formally inventive as it is engaging, Blank reverses the typical theatre experience: A script riddled with blanks leaves the audience in charge of how the story will unfold. The concept might be simple, the result is nothing short of empowering as a random audience member sees his or her future determined by the imagination of others.

Diagnosed by Iyona Blake | Penny Mitchell is an African American woman searching for her inner peace, both as a wife and a mother. In the past, her faith, community and family were an enormous support and strength. However, as her mental health becomes challenged and events intensify, Penny is forced to go against cultural norms, traditions and instilled beliefs to seek professional help. With the aid of her therapist, she is able to come face to face with her childhood and present day demons. Will she heal?

Four local playwrights. Four areas of our city. For the first time, Theater Alliance is fusing our commitment to developing new work with our focus on community-building. We’ve assigned a different quadrant to each playwright, given them the time and resources to mine their geographic area for story, and will present readings of all four brand-new scripts during the run of The Blackest Battle at the end of the season. To give audiences a flavor of these four local writers, we are featuring readings of their previously-written plays during the Word Becomes Action Festival. These plays are: 

Freshman Year by Moriamo Tẹmídayọ Akibu | A time for new choices, new experiences, new opportunities to prove your the shit. Five young queers gather in a quad to rise up, get down, and make a whole lot of noise.

Before Closing Time & The Devil’s Contract by Shalom Omo-Osagie | In Before Closing Time, six people are held at gunpoint by a not-so-clever bank robber. The Devil’s Contract is a fast-paced thriller exploring what happens when we make deals with the devil. 

Ghetto Symphony by Avery Collins | Mike, an aspiring rapper/part-time drug dealer, grapples with how to navigate America as a Black man while trying to do what he wants with his life. Placed in a box by every external force he encounters, he has to decide if he’ll break the cycle of violence in urban communities and how it affects his survival. 

Follow the Money, This Is America by Khadijah Z. Ali-Coleman | Indifferent to class, gender, race or age, capitalism shapes the ways we interact with ourselves and each other, often defining our concept of justice and inserting itself into every facet of our existence — from the mundane to the explicit. An episodic play fused with music, black comedy and dramatic build, Follow the Money, This is America by Khadijah Z. Ali-Coleman holds us all accountable in determining when enough is enough. 

  • August 6 @8pm: Reading 1 – Freshman Year by Moriamo Temidayo Akibu
  • August 7 @8pm: Reading 2 – Before Closing The Devil’s Contract by Shalom Omo-Osagie
  • August 8 – 10 @8pm: Blank by Nassim Soleimanpour
  • August 11 @2pm: Blank by Nassim Soleimanpour
  • August 12: Community Conversation – Black Artists & Mental Health not ticketed
  • August 13 @8pm: Reading 3 – Follow the Money, This is America by Khadijah Z. Ali-Coleman
  • August 14 @8pm: Reading 4- Ghetto Symphony by Avery Collins
  • August 15 – 17 @8pm: Diagnosed by Iyona Blake
  • August 18 @2pm: Diagnosed by Iyona Blake


The Word Becomes Action Festival is made possible through the generous support of the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities and the Reva and David Logan Foundation. 

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