Black Theatre Troupe of Upstate NY Announces Response to Murders and Injustices with 8:46, Set to Air June 30

Black Theatre Troupe of Upstate NY (BTTUNY) announced yesterday the collective group of Capital Region Theatrical organizations involved in 8:46, a theatrical response to the series of murders and assaults of the past weeks, years, decades and the systemic racism that can no longer be tolerated in policing, government, our neighborhoods, our organizations and ourselves.

The response is being cultivated with organizations from the Capital Region that have a track record of producing work of, and with, Black artists – and who vow to be a part of the solution to ending the systemic racism that resides within the American Theatre. 8:46 features responses from Acting with Aaron, Black Theatre Troupe of Upstate NY, Capital Repertory Theatre, Creative Action Unlimited, Illuminate Theatre, Troy Foundry Theatre and Playhouse Stage Co., and will be aired on June 30, 2020 at 7PM (EST) with a talk back following the performance.

This is a free event however, donations are being collected to support the artists involved in the project, with all proceeds from the event going to the African American Cultural Center of the Capital Region, Inc. To make a donation TEXT BTTUNY to 41444.

Each organization involved has been asked to create a response to the moment that takes 8 minutes and 46 seconds, the same time that the police officer knelt on George Floyd’s neck before he died.

Acting with Aaron will present a piece entitled The Eyez in the Wall by Aaron Moore. If the murals of slain Black people could speak, what would they say? How do they cope with their new position “in life?” What would their story be? The piece imagines what happens when Black people die by violence, at the hands of the police etc., and asks what impact do they have on the world once they’ve left it? Directed by founder of Acting with Aaron, Aaron Moore, actors include: Majestic Tillman, Zoë Lewis, Danielle Collins and Aaron Moore.

Black Theatre Troupe of Upstate NY will present a piece entitled The Nub of the Issue by Barbara Jordan. The piece takes us back to September 1987, when Nixon-era Justice Department official Robert Bork was being considered as an appointee to the U.S. Supreme Court. Here we see pioneering black politician Barbara Jordan as she goes toe-to-toe with Republican Senator Gordon Humphrey. She ably demonstrates why Bork is a poor choice in relation to civil rights; hers is the argument that eventually prevails. Directed by Jean-Remy Monnay, founder and artistic director of BTTUNY, actors include Barbara Howard and Tony Pallone.

Capital Repertory Theatre will present Dominique Morriseau’s short play, Night Vision, which brings audiences into Ayanna and Ezra’s apartment right after they witnessed a woman being beaten on the street by a man in a hooded sweatshirt. Once they have diffused the situation, the couple return to their apartment to call the police. However, before they can make the call, they discover how their individual accounts of the attacker differ and both are left questioning the truth of what they saw. Directed by Margo Hall, actors include Kevin Craig West and Susan Spain.

Creative Action Unlimited will present an original piece entitled Privilege. The ensemble performance will explore what is possible to accomplish in 8:46, depending upon one’s level of privilege. Actors include: Archie, Rebekah Brisbane, Sakea Martin, Tim Martin, Maghen Ryan and John Stevenson, under the direction of Artistic Director Michael Kennedy.

Illuminate Theatre will present a piece entitled 8 Ways to say Goodbye, written and directed by Morgan Elizabeth. The piece will be filmed first person on a cellphone and from the perspective of an 8-year-old who lost her dad to police brutality. She will spend 8-minutes trying to explain, understand and accept, the murder of her father. The video stems from the memories of Morgan Elizabeth’s father’s 8-second hugs, and his words to her, “just long enough to really feel the love.” The piece will be acted by Moriah Edmunds.

Troy Foundry Theatre will present 8:46: A Memo on White Fragility, curated by Katie Pedro and directed by David Girard. The piece is a fully devised Troy Foundry Theatre short that was conceived as a part of the larger 8:46 project, and as an artistic response to the larger Black Lives Matter movement worldwide. Using a strong visual metaphor, and several writing prompts, this original piece demonstrates white fragility, issues of complicity and neutrality and the problematic systemic issues in accumulations of power. Actors include: Kelly Artis, Niya Colbert, Emily Curro, Ethan Botwick, David Girard, Raya Malcolm and Christian Steward.

Park Playhouse Inc. will present a piece from Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill by Lanie Robertson. The play portrays a club concert by Billie Holiday, not long before her untimely death. Given the impact that mistreatment by law enforcement had on Holiday’s life, Playhouse Inc. feels this will have meaningful connection to 8:46 and the murder of George Floyd. Directed Michael LoPorto, the piece includes a monologue and the song “Strange Fruit,” and will be performed Gina-Simone Pemberton, accompanied by Brandon Jones. Lady Day was produced originally by Playhouse Stage Company at Cohoes Music Hall.

Tune in on June 30, 2020 to the Black Theatre Troupe of Upstate NY’s Facebook page for a live viewing.
A Zoom link for the talkback will be posted to BTTUNY’s Facebook page shortly after the event begins.
Talk back is limited to 100 people.

The production will also air on the Public Access Channels for Albany, Schenectady and Troy.

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