In honor of Tony Award-winning playwright Athol Fugard's visit to UNC, StreetSigns presents ACTS OF WITNESS, two theatrical events in rotating rep, featuring Athol Fugard's BLOOD KNOT directed by Joseph Megel and POETIC PORTRAITS OF A REVOLUTION created by Kane Smego, Will McInerney, Mohammad Moussa and Sameer Abdel-khalek.
Athol Fugard's BLOOD KNOT is the story of two South African brothers whose lives are twisted by the madness of apartheid. The New York Times calls the play "a contemporary classic . . . . both a deeply human experience and a symbolic statement." The powerful allegorical story continues to resonate deeply in a world still unable to deal openly with issues of race and wracked by seismic shifts in response to social injustice from the Arab Spring to Occupy Wall Street. The cast features J. Alphonse Nicholson, highly-praised for his recent performance in Mike Wiley's THE PARCHMAN HOUR at PlayMakers, and Lucius Robinson, whose work locally has ranged from his adaptation of VERTIGO in which he played the Jimmy Stewart role to memorable performances on area stages from Manbites Dog to Cary's Koka Booth Amphitheatre, as the two brothers. Joseph Megel directs.
POETIC PORTRAITS OF A REVOLUTION is a poetry-driven, multi-media documentary theatre piece about the tranformative events in the Arab uprising. The project began when the Academy Award-winning organization Empowerment Project sent nationally-recognized spoken word poets Will McInerney and Kane Smego of the Sacrificial Poets, along with Mohammad Moussa and Sameer Abdel-khalek, to Egypt and Tunisia to collect documentary testimony in video, photographs and poetry. Poetry and recordings from their journey have been featured in nationally-broadcast radio segments from American Public Media and National Public Radio. Their work was featured locally in the Process Series: New Works in Development as they shaped a theatre performance from their experiences, an event recognized by The Indy in ByRon Woods' wrap up of the best Triangle theatre of 2011. This production marks the premiere of this important new work.
"These vibrant young artists have brought back crucial testimony and I wanted to put that in conversation with Athol Fugard's soul-searing work of protest," said Joseph Megel, director of the Process Series at UNC and Co-Artistic Director of StreetSigns. "The news that Athol Fugard would be coming to our community, thanks to UNC's Creative Writing Department and their invaluable Morgan Writer-in-Residence program, was galvanic for me. I was working at the time with POETIC PORTRAITS OF A REVOLUTION in the Process Series and the two pieces seemed to be talking to each other across a great divide. I wanted to explore that. And I needed to honor Athol Fugard in a way that demonstrated our deep appreciation for his extraordinary body of work, his artistry and his activism."
Multimedia designer, Jared Mezzocchi, helps to design an envelope for both shows that will integrate the documentary video component into the spoken word poetry of POETIC PORTRAITS OF A REVOLUTION and works with set designer, Joncie Sarratt, to create a set that can serve and contextualize both productions. "We wanted to be sure that we could experience Fugard's classic cry against South African apartheid as something allegorical that applies equally here and now to any situation in which racism and social injustice place an untenable torque on the individual. As with BLOOD KNOT, so also the Arab Spring. Not there and then. But here and now. We have racial and religious intolerance and major social and economic inequities to address in our own communities and in the direction of our nation," said StreetSigns producer Elisabeth Lewis Corley, "Designer Jared Mezzocchi and director Joseph Megel share an aesthetic and a commitment to the power of good storytelling. They place all the considerable tools and skills at their disposal in service of that."
BLOOD KNOT and POETIC PORTRAITS OF A REVOLUTION will run in rotating rep. The full schedule is as follows:
3/2: 8:00pm – Poetic Portraits
3/3: 8:00pm – Poetic Portraits
3/4: 7:30pm – Blood Knot
3/5: 7:30pm – Blood Knot
3/6: 8:00pm – Poetic Portraits
3/8: 8:00pm – Poetic Portraits
3/9: 8:00pm – Blood Knot
3/10: 7:00pm – Blood Knot
& 10:00pm – Poetic Portraits
3/11: 3:00pm – Blood Knot
& 8:00pm – Poetic Portraits
3/19: 7:30pm – Blood Knot
3/20: 7:30pm – Blood Knot
& followed by a reception in honor of Athol Fugard
Tickets are $10 - $20 and can be ordered through The ArtsCenter at www.artscenterlive.org, by calling 919-929-2787, or by visiting the box office at 300-G East Main Street, Carrboro. For more information visit www.streetsignscenter.org.
Audience talkbacks will follow the performances of BLOOD KNOT on March 5 and 19 and Poetic Portraits on March 6. A reception in honor of Athol Fugard, who will be in attendance, will follow the final performance on March 20.
StreetSigns Center for Literature and Performance is an award-winning professional performing arts and educational center based in Chatham County, North Carolina. Founded in Chicago in 1992, StreetSigns has presented nearly fifty productions in its twenty-year history. StreetSigns has worked in partnership with Northwestern University, the Department of Communication Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Georgetown University, always dedicated to the development and presentation of new literary adaptations, company-created theatrical works, innovative new plays and bold re-imaginings of classics. StreetSigns is committed to celebrating the region's rich oral and written traditions and to engaging cultural and political issues through the performance of literature. Learn more at www.streetsignscenter.org.
ABOUT THE ARTSCENTER
InterNational Theatre at its most local, ArtsCenter Stage showcases the work of emerging and established artists hailing from next door to around the world. Featuring new works and re-inventions of the classics, ArtsCenter Stage is community-oriented, professional theatre with a commitment to developing new artists and audiences. Learn more at www.artscenterlive.org.