Season 16 launches with the WORD BECOMES ACTION FESTIVAL, building on the success of last year’s inaugural festival, and thanks to the generous support of The Revada Foundation and DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, Season 16 kicks off with works that explore themes from upcoming productions. Word Becomes Action: Flipping the Script brings together performances, readings, and workshops to illuminate divergent perspectives.
The festival launches the first week with four performances featuring Regina Aquino, Josh Adams, Alina Collins Maldonado, and Nicole Brewer who will each take a turn reading the experimental WHITE RABBIT/RED RABBIT by Iranian playwright Nassim Soleimanpour. The second week of the festival will feature THE GUN SHOW by E.M. Lewis with direction from Arena Stage’s Anita Maynard-losh, and featuring DC veteran actor Ed Christian.
The festival additionally acts as an incubator for playwrights to develop new and existing work that includes public readings and conversations. Moving from one-woman show to an ensemble piece, Madeline Joey Rose will present an experimental adaptation of MOM BABY GOD directed by Otis Ramsey-Zoe. Local hip-hop playwright Psalmayene 24 will present a reading of his newest play THE BLACKEST BATTLE directed by Raymond O. Caldwell with choreography by Tiffany Quinn and music by Nicktha1da. A reading of an updated version of DEPORTING THE DIVAS by Guillermo Reyes will be directed by Ricky Ramon. Teatro La Bolsa who are currently developing their three-part production MADRES DE LA REVOLUCIÓN will present part-one of their play followed by a 45-minute workshop for audience. The workshop will share their creative process while simultaneously help company members develop the rest of their play.
The term “flipping the script” means taking an old idea, and seeing it anew. The WORD BECOMES ACTION FESTIVAL attempts to flip the script through conversations about guns and violence in WHITE RABBIT/RED RABBIT, THE GUN SHOW, and THE BLACKEST BATTLE. While MOM BABY GOD, MADRES DE LA REVOLUCIÓN, and DEPORTING THE DIVAS flip the script on conversations around gender and identity.
Post each performance/reading, community partners will participate in conversations that connect audience members to resources and opportunities that incite action that leads towards community change.
White Rabbit Red Rabbit
by Nassim Soleimanpour | An Aurora Nova Production
August 30, 2018 – 8:00PM | Regina Aquino
August 31, 2018 – 8:00PM | Josh Adams
September 1, 2018 – 5:00PM | Nicole Brewer
September 1, 2018 – 8:00PM | Alina Collins Maldonado
A different actor reads the script cold for the first time at each performance. Will you participate? Will you be manipulated? Will you listen? Will you really listen?
Imagine being 29 and forbidden to leave your country. Nassim Soleimanpour dissects the experience of a whole generation in a wild, utterly original play from Iran. Forbidden to travel, he turns his isolation to his own advantage with a play that requires no director, no set and a different actor for every performance.
Madres de la Revolución – by Leora Lihach and presented by Teatro La Bolsa
September 2, 2018 – 2:00pm
Madres de la Revolución is a bilingual two-act undertaking of the Salvadoran Civil War, based on the testimony of a mother turned revolutionary commander, and later, resilient captive. Nidia Díaz recounts her revolutionary journey and prisoner-of-war ordeal in her testimonio, I Was Never Alone: A Prison Diary from El Salvador. This play serves as a fictional retelling to represent the revolutionary narrative of the war, sculpting imagined characters who are true to the spirit of the historical participants. “Madres” is a tribute to Commander Nidia Díaz and the untold revolutionaries who fought for freedom.
Director | Karen Morales-Chacana
Adaptors | Karen Morales-Chacana & Melissa Strova-Valencia
Deporting The Divas – by Guillermo Reyes
September 2, 2018 – 5:00PM
Though it is a full-on, frenzied drag farce informed by the work of Charles Ludlam and infused with magical realism and a dose of film noir, Guillermo Reyes’ play presents serious messages about the borderlands of sexual preference and identity, gay and Latino cultural expectations, and immigration. Michael is a conflicted Mexican-American border patrol agent who doesn’t speak Spanish. Though he is married with a family, Michael has fantasies of same-gender wedding ceremonies and men-in-drag divas. As in Ludlam’s The Mystery of Irma Vep, the actors in Reyes’ play portray male characters and the titular divas, as well.
Director | Ricky Ramon
Ensemble | Eric Teran, Dani Rodriguez, Mario Ramirez, Carlos Saldaña
The Gun Show – by E. M. Lewis
September 6, 2018 – 8:00PM
September 7, 2018 – 8:00PM
September 8, 2018 – 5:00PM
September 8, 2018 – 8:00PM
From a farming community in rural Oregon to the big cities of Los Angeles and New York, playwright EM Lewis takes aim at her own relationship with firearms in “The Gun Show.” An actor shares Ms. Lewis’s unique perspective and true stories about America’s most dangerous pastime as if they were his own, with brutal honesty and poignant humor. Leaning neither right nor left, “The Gun Show” jumps into the middle of the gun control debate, and asks “Can we have a conversation about this?”
Director | Anita Maynard-Losh
Performer | Ed Christian
Mom Baby God – by Madeline Joey Rose
September 9, 2018 – 2:00pm
Take a cupcake, put on a name tag, and prepare to be thrown into the world of the Christian Right, where sexual purity workshops and anti-abortion rallies are sandwiched between karaoke sing-alongs, Christian EDM raves and pro-life slumber parties. Mom Baby God is an immersive dark comedy about American girl culture in the right-wing.
Director | Otis Ramsey-Zoe
Ensemble | Alina Collins Maldonado, Adanna Paul, Neko Ramos, Gary Perkins III, Stephanie Wilson
Blackest Battle – by Psalmayene 24
September 9, 2018 – 5:00PM
It’s the Fourth of July in the fictional city of Chief County, New York—a place where so-called Black on Black violence rains down like a fiery storm. In this unique hip-hop musical, Bliss and Dream, members of warring rap factions, fall in love and wrestle with making sense of their turbulent lives.
Director | Raymond O. Caldwell
Music | Nicktha1da
Ensemble | Adanna Paul, Jasmine Hall, Billie Krishawn, Neko Ramos, Gary Perkins III, Louis E. Davis, Da’Von Moody
The Word Becomes Action festival is generously supported by The Revada Foundation and the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities.