Black Theatre Troupe of Upstate NY Announces 2022-23 Season at theREP

“Facing problems ranging from the inevitability of long, cold winters, to the possibility of
domestic violence, to the continuing spectra of racial conflict, the women of FLYIN’
WEST include Miss Leah, the old woman whose memories of slavery and its aftermath
comprise a living oral history; Sophie Washington, whose determination to protect her
land and those she loves puts to rest forever the requirement that western archetypes be
white and male; Fannie Mae Dove, the gentle sister, trying to bring in new cultural
influences with fine china and roses, who finds herself falling in love with their soft-
spoken neighbor, Wil Parish; and Minnie Dove Charles, the headstrong baby sister whose
mulatto husband, Frank, introduces a danger into the household that tests their sisterhood
in unexpected ways.”
“Knock Me a Kiss is a fictional account inspired by the actual events surrounding the
1928 marriage of W.E.B. Du Bois’ daughter Yolande to one of Harlem’s great poets,
Countee Cullen. The marriage marked the height of the Harlem Renaissance and was
viewed as the perfect union of Negro talent and beauty. It united the daughter of
America’s foremost black intellectual, co-founder of the NAACP and publisher
of Crisis Magazine, with a poet whose work was considered to be one of the flagships for
the New Negro movement. The play opens as jazz bandleader, Jimmy Lunceford
continues his pursuit of a willing but apprehensive Yolande. She demurs, insisting that
she and Jimmy be married in a manner consistent with her stature. Meanwhile, Du Bois
tries to convince Cullen to take a wife of great breeding, stature and education. When
Countee realizes that Yolande possesses all of the attributes outlined by the elder Du
Bois, he sets out to win her affection. When Yolande is forced to choose between her
passion for Jimmy and marrying Countee, her devotion to her father overwhelms her
heart. The marriage is a triumph of pomp and pageantry but fails to be a union of man
and woman. Eventually Countee goes to Paris with his close friend Harold Jackman, and
Yolande returns to Jimmy only to find that she is no longer wanted.”

Winner of the 2002 Pulitzer Prize.
“A darkly comic fable of brotherly love and family identity is Suzan-Lori Parks’ latest
riff on the way we are defined by history. The play tells the story of Lincoln and Booth,
two brothers whose names were given to them as a joke, foretelling a lifetime of sibling
rivalry and resentment. Haunted by the past, the brothers are forced to confront the
shattering reality of their future.”
Topdog/Underdog tells the story of two brothers, Lincoln and Booth, who, abandoned by
first one parent and then the other, have had to depend upon each other for survival since
they were teenagers. Now in their thirties, the brothers struggle to make a new life, one
that will lead them out of poverty. Lincoln, a master of the con game three-card monte,
has abandoned a life of crime for a more respectable job impersonating Abraham Lincoln
at an arcade. Booth, on the other hand, earns his living as a petty thief, one who wishes to
emulate his older brother’s success by learning how to “throw the cards.” Throughout the
play, the brothers compete against each other, vying for control. At any given moment,
one may yield power over the other, only to relinquish it in the next.
Hence, Topdog/Underdog reveals a topsy-turvy world in which Lincoln and Booth live, a
chaotic world that is as dangerous as it is illusory.”
“A tale of love, magic, jealousy and secrets. Toulou escapes from the Mississippi cotton
fields in the 1930s to pursue her dream of singing the blues in Memphis. When she meets
a rambling blues man, the notorious Ace of Spades, her dreams are realized in a way she
could never have imagined.”

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