The Word Becomes Action Festival explores the diversity of experiences and narratives of the African Diaspora. Local artists will present new work that interrogates the most provocative social issues, providing audiences space for inquiry, reflection, and thought. The goals of each post-show discussion move past simple conversation by linking audiences directly with local nonprofits that provide resources to a number of communities here in DC. Audiences will transform words into tangible actions that make real change!
Kicking off the festival will be Olityelwe (The Forgotten) by Smoke and Mirrors Collaborative. Olityelwe is a hilariously heartbreaking new play that pulls audiences into the music, dirt, and dreams of modern South Africa. The following weekend will be Name Calling written and performed by Goldie Patrick. Name Calling asks what do most girls want to be when they grow up? A lawyer? A teacher? A Goddess?! “Name Calling”, dissects the marginalization of women in their common daily encounters. Next is a staged reading of The Raid by Idris Goodwin. On the eve of Brown’s raid on the federal armory in Harpers Ferry, John Brown and Frederick Douglass argue the merits of violence and pacifism, order and chaos, and the possibility of a nation free of the scourge of slavery. The final presented piece will be Klytmnestra written and performed by Dane Figueroa Edidi. Set in the cemetery of black art; this one-woman epic slam poem deals with the effects of colonization on indigenous cultures. Klytmnestra, a priestess, conjures the spirits of the dead to vindicate a mother slain by her own son’s hand.
In addition to each new-work, community based workshops will be lead by each of the presented playwrights. These workshops will give participants the opportunity to explore their own voices, cultivate their own ideas, and inspire the creation of the next wave of theater for social change! More details about individual festival events are below. To purchase or reserve tickets to any show, workshop or reading, please visit our box office.
The Word Becomes Action Festival is made possible in part from funding by the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities.
Word Becomes Flesh
By Marc Bamuthi Joseph
Featuring additional dramaturgical compositions by Khalil Anthony and Dahlak Brathwaite
Directed by Psalmayene 24
September 7 – October 8, 2017
WINNER OF 5 HELEN HAYES AWARDS, INCLUDING OUTSTANDING PRODUCTION OF A PLAY
Using spoken word, stylized movement, tableau, and music, an ensemble of performers delivers a series of letters from a man to his unborn son, documenting his range of emotions, fears, and expectations. Back by popular demand, Word Becomes Flesh critically, lyrically, and choreographically examines masculinity and responsibility from a young, expectant father’s perspective within the constructs of hip-hop culture.
Led by Raymond Caldwell
SEPTEMBER 11th – 8:00PM
A one day workshop led by the Word Becomes Flesh curator Raymond Caldwell based on lessons learned and exercises from experiences creating work in India and Ukraine. Workshop is $20/participant. Secure your spot below.
By Smoke and Mirrors Collaborative
Featuring Yusef Miller, Jonathan David Martin, Zoey Martinson
SEPTEMBER 16th and 17th – 8:00PM
Olityelwe is a hilariously heartbreaking new play that pulls audiences into the music, dirt, and dreams of modern South Africa.
Workshop with Smoke and Mirrors Collaborative on SEPTEMBER 16th – 4:30PM
Written and Performed by Goldie Patrick
co-directed by Candis Jones
SEPTEMBER 23rd and 24th – 8:00PM
This riveting work is a one-woman show that examines the what happens when the normalized trauma becomes too much for one woman to bear. But when this day is like no day she’s ever experienced before, will she rage against her routine of silence and acceptance or do something totally unexpected and out of character.
This hip hop theatre work filled with music, poetry, and energy, asks us the question, is there a love strong enough to keep you afloat when the world is drowning you?
Workshop with Goldie Patrick on SEPTEMBER 24th – 4:30PM
SEPTEMBER 25th – 8:00PM
SEPTEMBER 26th – 8:00PM
The Hill Center
New 10-minute plays by DC-area playwrights, inspired by, and in conversation Word Becomes Flesh written around the prompt: A mother, a son, and a radio.
By Idris Goodwin
Directed by Colin Hovde
SEPTEMBER 30th – 8:00PM
A staged reading of the second show of Theater Alliance’s season. On the eve of Brown’s raid on the federal armory in Harpers Ferry, John Brown and Frederick Douglass argue the merits of violence and pacifism, order and chaos, and the possibility of a nation free of the scourge of slavery.
Led by Carla Thomas McGinnis, Cecelia Thomas, and Fareed Mostoufi
OCTOBER 1st – 4:30PM
This will be an opportunity for audiences to engage with S.W.A.P. in the creation of a new piece of theater.
Shared World Art Project (S.W.A.P.) is a non-profit organization that ignites the power within artists to investigate, reflect and express their world through the study of museum exhibition and the application of the arts.
by Dane Figueroa Edidi
Directed by Dane Figueroa Edidi
OCTOBER 2nd – 8:00PM
For Black Trans Girls is a celebration of Trans Women, Goddesshood, a lament for our fallen, a sword for our living and a challenge to white supremacy, structural oppression and any who would dare try to erase us from existence.
Written and Performed by Dane Figueroa Edidi
Directed by ——
OCTOBER 7th – 8:00PM
OCTOBER 8th – 2:00PM
Set in the cemetery of black art; this one woman epic slam poem deals with Klytmnestra a priestess who conjures the spirits of the dead to vindicate a mother slain by her own son’s hand.
Workshop with Dane Figueroa Edidi on OCTOBER 7th – 4:30PM