ABOUT THE PLAY:
I BLACK WOMAN I: A Pilgrimage Through Self
Whatever modicum of prestige her community and the country currently bestow on women of African descent living in America, ranks as a faint accolade to the countless debilitating occurrences that plague her past, and continue to blemish her present-day existence.
Harking back over more than four centuries, her life in this hemisphere has been an unrelenting series of degradations and limitations guaranteed to decimate even the hardiest of souls.
She has borne witness to the desperate greed of men who manipulated the Christian ethic to barbarically destroy millions of her offspring – the illusion of superiority their smug excuse.
Acquiescing (though not without degrees of protest) to the demands of nursemaid and concubine, women of color have always struggled valiantly to retain their dignity. Despite harrowing violations of their basic rights, the desire to survive summoned reserves of strength gathered from deep faith.
Paying homage to this inspirational force, “I Black Woman I: A Pilgrimage Through Self”, salutes the resolute spiritually of Africa’s daughter. In scenes linked by common sentiment, a trio of female performers carry us on a journey from the Motherland, across the Middle Passage to the Americas. It is a tale of serenity shattered, cruel betrayal and the triumph of destiny.
In a sequence of abbreviated scenes, the dynamics of voices rising a capella, accompany the call of the drum. Poetic passages reveal inner transformation. And humor mingles with drama to underscore delicate truth.
“I Black Woman I”, written by Franz Reynold, is a work for the theater that seeks to challenge the limited concepts attributed to our potential. It speaks to all of us who hold our dreams sacred and strive for a more sublime self, rooted in enlightened consciousness.
ABOUT THE PLAYWRIGHT
Franz Reynold was born in Belize, Central America, but spent most of his life living in Los Angeles, before relocating to the East Coast eight years ago.
He is a published writer, having worked as a columnist for several publications including “Latin Beat Magazine”; and his projects for the theater have been presented at the Los Angeles Arts Festival, the California African American Museum, on KPFK radio and elsewhere.
He completed his undergrad education in Print Journalism and Cinema-TV at the University of Southern California, and in 2005 he earned a grad degree in Dramatic Writing from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts.
Franz recently completed a new play that takes a humorous, twisted look at gentrification in Harlem.
MaameYaa Boafo hails from Ghana, West Africa and is an MFA alumni from Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University. She is also the executive director of Shaggae’s Song Performing Arts Collective INC. Past credits include Ophelia from America Globe Theatre’s educational tour of Hamlet, 2010-2011 company member of George Street Playhouse, Biftu in Antu Yacob’s debut play “Mourning Sun”. MaameYaa will next be seen in the webseries An African City as Sade Tetteh and will be filming Kwaku Ananse with Focus Features in 2012. SDG.
Toccarra Cash Off-Off Broadway: Lorna in Bonfire Night; Roxy in The Roxy’s and Bleu (The Cell Theatre). Regional: Dussie Mae in Ma Rainey’s Black Botto (Centerstage/Philadelphia Theatre Company), Starr in A Long and Happy Life (New York Stage & Film Festival), Moliseng in The Syringa Tree; Beneatha in A Raisin in the Sun (u/s); A Christmas Carol (Kansas City Repertory Theatre), Mayme in Intimate Apparel (Unicorn Theatre), Joretta in A Star Ain’t Nothing But A Hole in Heaven (Coterie Theatre), LaTonya in Blue (Horizon Theatre), among others. Film–ATL (Warner Bros.) A native of Dayton, Ohio and a resident of New York City, Ms. Cash is a proud graduate of Spelman College, and received her M.F.A. in Acting from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. She is also a Princess Grace Award Winner (George C. Wolfe Theatre Award – Acting).
Antu Yacob was born in Dire Dawa, Ethiopia and raised from the steep hills of San Francisco to the translucent lakes of Minnesota. She received her MFA in Acting from Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University and her BA in Communication from the University of Minnesota-Duluth. She was last seen on stage as Velma in The Theater Project’s production of the gospel musical Crowns. Regional theatre credits include Primary Stages national tour of In the Continuum, Pillsbury House Theatre’s The House That Crack Built, A Jew on Ethiopia Street at Mixed Blood Theatre, Pangae World Theatre’s No Longer At Ease and The Guilded Six-Bits with Word-for-Word Theater Company. Film & television credits include Law & Order: SVU and Inspiration. She is founder of Shaggae’s Song Performing Arts Collective, a nonprofit organization dedicated to developing and producing new works focused on international women’s issues as well as providing performing arts training to students grades 4-12. Earlier this year, her script, Mourning Sun, a play that explores the fistula epidemic in Ethiopia, held its first NYC reading at the Bruce Mitchell Room in A.R.T./NY with Project Y Theatre Company. In addition to teaching acting at Somerset County Vocational & Technical High School, she teaches poetry and scene writing to 4th-7th graders enrolled in after school programs through a partnership between Shaggae’s Song and Plainfield Community Outreach.