Courtesy of JAG Productions
Playwrights Nathan Yungerberg, Zhailon Levingston, Korde Arrington Tuttle, and NSangou Njikam.
Feb. 9-11—WHITE RIVER JUNCTION— JAG Productions is pleased to announce the second annual JAGfest, a weekend performing arts festival of new works all celebrating the talents of African-American playwrights and performing artists.
Presented Feb. 9-11 at Briggs Opera House in White River Junction, the weekend-long festival features rehearsed staged play readings celebrating and exploring diverse, new voices in American theater. JAGFest will include four staged readings over the course of three days, each featuring a post-show conversation with the artists and moderated by Dartmouth scholars.
Founder and Producing Artistic Director Jarvis Green said, “I am beyond excited to lift black voices in the American theater by having JAGfest serve as an incubator for new works that are written, directed, and performed by black theatre artists. Introducing residents and visitors of the Upper Valley to the newest voices in American theatre with a festival that brings attention to the black experience in America, in my opinion, is very necessary. Our company sees itself as playing a key role in bringing diverse actors and stories to the stage and to the Upper Valley, one of the most racially homogeneous regions of the United States, via powerful art that are artfully staged.”
Readings are as follows:
Play No. 1: “Esai’s Table” by Nathan Yungerberg, directed by Kimille Howard, Friday, Feb. 9, 7:30 p.m. “Esai’s Table” follows the journey of three young black men on a mythical night sea journey atop a magical old table. Through artistic expression and personal revelations, audiences learn why they’ve been chosen to navigate this journey. Destiny meets eternity in this story of friendship, family, and love.
Play No. 2: “The Hole” by Zhailon Levingston, directed by Rod Gailes OBC, Saturday, Feb. 10, 4:30 p.m. A riff on “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,” “The Hole” explores the relationship and personal struggles of two inmates in solitary confinement.
Play No. 3: Untitled by Korde Arrington Tuttle, directed by Stevie Walker-Webb, Saturday, Feb. 10, 7:30 p.m. Korde Arrington Tuttle’s currently untitled play is an ensemble-driven investigation of the relationship between space exploration and the Middle Passage of the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Inspired by the joint stock method, where work is generated by a non-hierarchically organized company, Korde and director Stevie Walker-Webb have organized a series of workshops. In the time between the winter workshops and the company’s residency in Vermont, the playwright has taken time to construct a story and generate a brand new play. Korde is thrilled that JAGFest will be the very first public presentation of this new, company-based experiment.
Play No. 4: “Re:Definition” by NSangou Njikam, directed by Dennis A. Allen II, Sunday, Feb. 11, 4 p.m. After feeling like an outsider during the West Indian Day Parade, Glenn is determined to find his cultural roots. When he receives the results of an African Ancestry DNA test, he feels he must now become a “for real African.” But how? Soon, audiences follow him on an ancestral journey has he attempts to discover what it takes to truly connect to roots. Using Hip Hop Theatre and West African performance conventions, NSangou Njikam explores what it means to define yourself for yourself … and what self-definition actually costs. Can Glenn be a “for real African” or will he always be “just black”?
Admission is $15 per performance, or $50 for a weekend pass that includes access to all presentations. For more information and to buy tickets, visit jagproductionsvt.com/jagfest2.