With: Lileana Blain-Cruz, Charlotte Brathwaite, Eisa Davis, Jackie Sibblies Drury, Ayesha Jordan, Joie Lee, April Matthis, Jennifer Harrison Newman, Okwui Okpokwasili, Stacey Karen Robinson, Kaneza Schaal, and others.
Throughout spring, AFROFEMONONOMY—a supergroup of Black femme theatermakers—takes over Performance Space’s theatres to explore themes of healing and care guided by the work of literary foremother Kathleen Collins. The artists–who have been collaborators and friends for years but never worked together as a group–plan to use the residency as a sovereign space to translate the ease, free expression, and non-compulsory ethos of their informal gatherings to their working conditions and aesthetic.
WORK THE ROOTS focuses on Begin The Beguine, a quartet of Kathleen Collins’ unproduced one-acts from 1984. Collins, a visionary writer, director, and professor with a prodigious output of films, plays, novels, and short stories, died of breast cancer at the early age of 46. Her premature death, mirroring those of writers Audre Lorde and June Jordan, begs the question of black women artists and their endangered health. Along with Collins’ one-acts, the artists will also explore Adrienne Kennedy’s Etta and Ella On The Upper West Side/The Vanishing Literary Club and Eisa Davis’ The Essentialisn’t, as these texts share overlapping concerns regarding Black women, art, health, and balance.
The four-month-long residency interacts with the public in multiple forms: a dedicated web-based radio station broadcasts AFROFEMONONOMY’s investigations and process for global listeners, a synchronized world premiere of Collins’ texts takes place outdoors in locations around the world, and projected films and an installation with the occasional live sound interaction will unfold outside and inside Performance Space’s theatre.