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Black Playwrights Series - Winter Quarter
Black Playwrights Series Package - Winter Quarter
Virtual Admission to all three productions in the Visions and Voices Black Playwrights' Reading Series in Winter Quarter:

The Black Playwrights' Reading Series features first year students in our Master of Fine Arts in Directing programs and undergraduate and graduate actors. The three plays were chosen by the directors (Manna Middlebrooks, Tor Campbell, and Jasmine B. Gunter) in consultation with faculty and the Wirtz Center’s managing director from among hundreds and hundreds of scripts some which are familiar and others that deserve a wider audience and center around Racism in America, Police Brutality, Anti-Blackness, the Fight for Justice, and the Celebration of Black Lives. These directors are the first all-black cohort to join Northwestern University’s MFA Directing Program.

"A FEW SHORT PLAYS TO SAVE THE WORLD" and "WHAT YOU DID"
By Steve Harper. Directed by Tor Campbell (1st year MFA).
A pre-recorded production via Vimeo. Available to access Fri.,1/22/21 - Sun.,1/24/21.

These two short plays tackle some of the thorniest and most urgent issues of equity facing our country today through the lens that we know best: the work of the theater artist. Wryly hilarious and startlingly direct, these contemporary pieces fling us into high stakes situations at full speed; alongside the puzzled characters, we are left to try to make sense of the blunt racial disparities we are complicit in. What is the responsibility of the artist in serving the greater good? Is it possible to make a real difference by making plays? Jovial aliens, fierce women, playwrights just trying to get heard: everyone’s jumping into the fray!


WINE IN THE WILDERNESS
By Alice Childress. Directed by Jasmine B. Gunter (1st year MFA).
A pre-recorded production via Vimeo. Available to access Fri.,2/5/21 - Sun.,2/7/21.

Rarely staged since its debut in 1969, Childress’ masterwork examines the intersection of race, gender and class in Civil-Rights-Era America.

“For a time I thought I was about to move into another world, the so-called ‘integrated’ world … but that’s a lie.”

With race riots outside his apartment in 1964 Harlem, artist and sophisticate Bill Jameson paints his view of Black womanhood. While searching for his final model, a woman he describes as “as close to the bottom as you can get,” he thinks he has found a match in Tommy. But Tommy soon tests his toxic assumptions. Rarely staged since its debut in 1969, Alice Childress’ masterwork examines the intersection of race, gender and class in Civil-Rights-Era America.


THE DEATH OF THE LAST BLACK MAN IN THE WHOLE ENTIRE WORLD aka THE NEGRO BOOK OF THE DEAD
By Suzan Lori-Parks. Directed by Manna-Symone Middlebrooks (1st year MFA).
A pre-recorded production via Vimeo. Available to access Fri.,2/12/21 - Sun.,2/14/21.

A woman tries to feed her husband a fried drumstick. Dragons roam a flat earth. The last Black man in the whole entire world dies again. And again. Careening through memory and language, Parks explores and explodes archetypes of Black America with piercing insight and raucous comedy. A riotous theatrical event, The Death of the Last Black Man in the Whole Entire World hums with the heartbeat of improvisational jazz.