“Many pioneering artists have endured abuse from critics and naysayers. But once in a blue moon, time brings acceptance and acclaim, making those early detractors look silly to future generations. Check out how the following works—whose ‘classic’ status now seems self-evident—were once butchered by the Simon Cowells of yesteryear.”—
“After the general discussion, three of us—a middle-aged black woman, an older white woman, and a Jewish man—continued to talk about our experience of race, shared history, and the handing down of tradition. Where else in this wonderfully diverse city do such conversations occur? Thanks to all at Center Stage for a most memorable evening….”—
In response to our current production of The Whipping Man, we got this lovely, unsolicited email from a patron. Couldn’t ask for more:
The play, the actors, the direction, the set, lighting were ever so much better than the review led me to expect. …the subplots and subsidiary detail enhanced our experience of the intricacies of relationships under the slave system.
The follow-up discussion engaged all of us in opening up the characters and plot lines as we talked about religion, politics, and race. I was so impressed that [the actor] stayed to hear and interact with the audience - and describe some of the directorial process. …I have to disagree on one point: We do talk about race in America - not frequently, not enough, but at Center Stage on a spring Sunday following a shared experience of artistic genius.
After the general discussion, three of us , a middle-aged black woman, an older white woman, and a Jewish man, continued to talk about our experience of race, shared history and the handing down of tradition. Where else in this wonderfully diverse city do such conversations occur? Thanks to all at Center Stage for a most memorable evening!
From Arena Stage comes this can’t-miss insider offer: The Neo-Futurists are back in town as part of the Eugene O’Neill Festival! Catch their production of The Complete & Condensed Stage Directions of Eugene O’Neill, Volume 1: Early Plays/Lost Plays Thursday, April 19th – Sunday, April 22nd. Arena’s offering a special 2 for 1 deal when you use the promo code NYNFbogo for any of the performances (that’s only $10.00 per ticket!). More information about the show appears below.
The Complete & Condensed Stage Directions of Eugene O’Neill, Volume 1: Early Plays/Lost Plays April 19-22 in the Arlene and Robert Kogod Cradle at the Mead Center (times vary) To purchase, visit arenastage.org or call 202-488-3300.
Approx. 90 min with no intermission
The New York Neo-Futurists release Eugene O’Neill’s stage directions from their dissertation prison and transform them into rip-roaring physical comedy – in under 90 minutes. Now a Broadway mainstay, O’Neill was considered an experimental playwright when he defied the melodramatic conventions of his day. The Neo-Futurists return O’Neill to his roots in this chronicle described by the New York Times as “an impish illustration of how lively entertainment can be created from theatrical spare parts,” which includes selections from two “sea plays,” the one-act A Wife for a Life (O’Neill’s first play) and the satire Now I Ask You.
Pub Events: CENTERSTAGE and Baltimore Open Theatre are joining forces and creating a platform for Baltimore performing artists to showcase, workshop, and explore new artistic ideas—beer in hand.
These events will be hosted at Liam Flynn’s Ale House, 22 W. North Avenue, and are free and open to the public. No tickets are necessary, but please arrive a bit early to buy a beverage and snag a primo seat.
On April 22, at 7 pm, UnSaddest Factory presents a reading of A Day By Yourself by Lola Pierson, which follows two women as they formulate the often arbitrary boundaries between secrets, sentimentality, and intimacy. Based on actual events in the lives of the actors in the show, A Day By Yourself explores what it means to be present in one’s own life. Probably you will cry, but only if you’ve ever made a terrible decision. This exciting new play features Sophie Hinderberger, Naomi Kline, Cricket Arrison, Sarah Lloyd, and Jessie Hughes.
Give your readers as much information as possible as soon as possible. To hell with suspense. Readers should have such complete understanding of what is going on, where and why, that they could finish the story themselves, should cockroaches eat the last few pages.
Dr. Raymond A. Winbush, celebrated author and historian, will host a discussion focusing on the legacy of slavery in American: What are the historic and modern implications of slavery in our country? How does it continue to influence race relations and public policy?
"Richmond Jews: A Curious Confederate History" By Janet Lubman Rathner
In what might seem to many as highly unusual, and a strange allegiance, Richmond, Va., is home to the Soldiers’ Section at Hebrew Cemetery, believed to be the only Jewish military cemetery in the world outside the state of Israel.
Jewish presence in Richmond predates its designation as a city and state capital, and, for that matter, Virginia’s designation as a state.
Jews were among the colonists who established Jamestown in 1607, and may well have been in the group of 120 men who left that enclave days later to sail up what is now known as the James River, in the first effort to settle an area that today is part of downtown Richmond.
At the time of Richmond’s founding in 1737, Jews were engaged in trade throughout the Virginia Territory. By 1790, approximately 100 of the 3,700 colonists calling Richmond home were Jews. On Shabbat, they gathered at the Orthodox Kahal Kadosh Beth Shalome, a synagogue that followed Sephardic ritual worship.
With the arrival of more Ashkenazi Jews, a second synagogue, Beth Ahabah, was established in 1841. Khal Kadosh Beth Shalome eventually merged with Beth Ahabah, which continues to this day as a Reform house of worship and is the sixth-oldest synagogue in the United States.
“BALTIMORE — At the age of 4, [Maryland Institute College of Art Professor Jason] Sloan understood what cities across America have begun to see and encourage — the important connection between technology and art. Cities want to attract talented and innovative thinkers — and artists and technology types are often one and the same. Their collaboration can lure investment, lead to innovation and fuel the economy…. In art classrooms, in museum galleries, on smart phones, in ticket lines and in weekend workshops, Baltimore’s artists and technology innovators are working together.”—
"Technology, Art Forge Vital Connection" By ERIN E. BORG
The hamsa has been variously interpreted by scholars as a Jewish, Christian, or Islamic amulet, and as a pagan fertility symbol…it is recognized today as a kabbalistic amulet and as an important symbol in Jewish art…As the references to Fatima (Mohammed’s daughter) and to Miriam (Moses’ sister) suggest, the amulet carries significance to both Jews and Muslims. One of the most prominent early appearances of the hamsa is the image of a large open hand which appears on the Puerta Judiciaria (Gate of Judgment) of the Alhambra, a 14th century Islamic fortress in southern Spain.
It would not be unusual for an Islamic symbol to find its way into Sephardic Jewish culture, which flourished alongside Islam. However, amulets are somewhat problematic in Judaism. Still, the Talmud refers on several occasions to amulets, or kamiyot, which might come from the Hebrew meaning “to bind.” One law allows for carrying an approved amulet on the Sabbath, which suggests that amulets were common amongst Jews at some points in history. (Shabbat 53a, 61a)…
It is difficult to pinpoint the exact time when hamsas emerged in Jewish culture, though it is clearly a symbol of Sephardic nature. Jews might have used the hamsa to invoke the hand of God, or to counteract the Evil Eye with the eye embedded in the palm of the hand. Some hamsas contain images of fish, in accordance with Rabbi Yose son of Hanina’s statement in the Talmud that the descendents of Joseph, who received Jacob’s blessing of multiplying like fish in Genesis 48:16, are protected from the evil eye like fish. He explains: “the water covers the fish of the sea so the eye has no power over them (Berakhot 55b).”
Other icons besides eyes and fish have also found their way into the hamsa, including the Star of David, prayers for the traveler, the Shema, the blessing over the house, and the colors of red and blue, both of which are said to thwart the Evil Eye.
Hamsas still play a role in some Sephardic rituals today. During the henna ceremony, when brides are decorated in the preparation for their wedding, brides may wear a hamsa around their neck to ward off the evil eye.
“Dreaming the Americas,” the 6th Annual NoPassport Theatre Conference will stream live on #NEWPLAY TV at newplaytv.info this Saturday and Sunday, April 14 and 15 from the Arizona State University-Tempe Campus.
Throughout the production of The Whipping Man, CENTERSTAGE will be providing numerous opportunities for audiences to engage in discussion inspired by the themes of the show. Conversations will focus on the notion of inheritance— inherited faiths, political systems, racial struggles, and all of the inherited gifts and issues associated with our multifaceted identities. Prominent leaders of Baltimore’s African American and Jewish communities will participate, to encourage exploration of these two communities’ relationships over time. Theater scholars and artists will also contribute, offering historical and cultural expertise as well as behind-the-scenes insights to enhance audiences’ experiences of The Whipping Man and its rich subject matter. Click here for events, dates, times, locations, and guests.
This project was made possible by a grant from the Maryland Humanities Council, through support from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this programming do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities or the Maryland Humanities Council.
Richmond Slave Trail is a walking trail that chronicles the history of the trade in enslaved Africans from Africa to Virginia until 1775, and away from Virginia, especially Richmond, to other locations in the Americas until 1865. […] It follows a route traveled by some of the thousands of Africans who made their journey south by crossing the James River chained together in a coffle, or by getting on ships to New Orleans. The trail then follows a route through the slave markets of Richmond….
This online resource was created in 2009 as part of an ongoing initiative to help document the history of slavery in Richmond, Virginia. Its sponsors include the Richmond Slave Trail Commission, the public history program of VCU’s Department of History and the Special Collections and Archives department of the VCU Libraries.
This site will function as a learning resource and will help identify images, print sources, manuscript collections, and other online resources related to the history of slavery in Richmond. This project is also intended to identify, acquire, and organize for public access the archives of the Richmond Slave Trail Commission.
Kwame Kwei-Armah, Artistic Director of Baltimore’s CENTERSTAGE, is embarking on his first full season that bears his stamp. And you can find his stamp in all corners of the shows they have planned, not only is he acting as artistic director, he’s directing and he has even written a play. Kwei-Armah talks with Tom Hall about the upcoming season and his work.
Taking the helm of his first production since becoming Artistic Director, Matthew Lopez’ The Whipping Man. Final dress Tuesday, first preview Wednesday. All the pieces in place, ready to add audience to the mix.