(Photo by Julie Zeglen)
This is part of "Leaders of Color" month of the Generocity Editorial Calendar. Find the series here.
What is it to be a Black play? According to “New Black Math,” a Black play is “by the people, for the people.” It is “deep.” And it “bows to God.”
For the third year, Theatre in the X is presenting free theatre in Malcolm X Park while offering acting opportunities for theatre professionals of color — beyond North Philly’s Freedom Theatre, “there isn’t really anything dedicated to actors of color,” said LaNeshe Miller-White, who cofounded the group with Carlo Campbell and Walter DeShields in 2013.
This season, the cofounders each selected one of three featured plays. Miller-White chose “Love, Queens who Suffer from Post-traumatic Stress Disorder“ by Jamila Capitman and Heather Thomas, an ensemble piece about resilience in the Black female community.
“I thought it would be a great time to bring ‘Love, Queens’ back, especially in this current climate of police brutality and crime,” she said. “It’s unfortunate that it’s still relevant, if not more relevant now.”
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“The Meeting” by Jeff Stetson imagines an encounter between Malcolm X and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., while “New Black Math” by Suzan-Lori Parks examines, of course, what a Black play “is.”
Together, “it’s all about talking about the current state of the Black community, where we’ve come from and where we’re going,” Miller-White said. “All three are pulling from history and contemplating the best way to go and envisioning what a great future would look like.”
It’s in Theatre in the X’s DNA to be as accessible as possible. It’s about meeting the Black community where is is — especially those who aren’t necessarily theatre goers, and children who aren’t exposed to the performing arts in schools, Miller-White said.
“We wanted to take away the boundaries,” she said.
Theatre in the X’s final performance is this Sunday, Aug. 21, in Malcolm X Park. Find more information here.-30-
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