McCarter Theatre partners with Princeton University to bring social justice to the stage

McCarter Theatre Center will partner with the Princeton University Lewis Center for the Arts and Department of African American Studies to present “The Every 28 Hours Plays” on Oct. 24 at 7 p.m. on McCarter Theatre Center’s Berlind Stage.

“Every 28 Hours” is a theater project and national partnership inspired by the widely-shared and hotly-debated statistic that a black person is killed by the police, security guards, or neighborhood watch vigilantes every 28 hours in the United States.

Conceived shortly after the August 2014 killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO, “The Every 28 Hours Plays” tap into the role that the arts have played in helping people to process and protest what happened in Ferguson – from the death of Mr. Brown and the unrest that followed, to the issues of racial inequality that it raised.

McCarter, the Princeton University Lewis Center for the Arts and the Princeton University Department of African American Studies will partner to present a 60-minute collection of the plays, performed by a combination of professional and student actors. Casting is currently to be determined.

The presentation of one-minute plays will be directed by Megan Sandberg-Zakian, an award-winning director and a current recipient of the Princess Grace Foundation Theatre Fellowship whose current production of Nathan Alan Davis’ play “Nat Turner in Jerusalem” can be seen at New York Theatre Workshop.

“The Every 28 Hours Plays” include works by such notable playwrights as Terrell Alvin McCraney, Lynn Nottage, Dominique Morriseau and David Henry Hwang, among others.The presentation of the plays will be followed by a community discussion designed to highlight and create awareness of the people and organizations in our community who are doing anti-racism work. This discussion will feature a panel of featured guests gathered to discuss the topics at hand. The most updated list of panelists may be found here.

The goal for the evening is to create a space of artistic response, community discussion, and forward action to address the ongoing national discussion on systemic racism and violence.

Additionally, McCarter’s education staff will work closely with drama students at Middlesex County Vocational Technical High School as they create their own short plays, dances, films, and other artistic responses to ongoing civil rights activism after attending the performance at McCarter. Several MCVTS students will also perform age-appropriate roles in the performance at McCarter. The MCVTS student work will be presented publicly on Oct. 26on the school’s East Brunswick campus.

“Since the beginning of my career in the theater, I have been committed to exploring the connection between theatre and social justice,” said McCarter’s Artistic Director, Emily Mann. “In these heartbreaking and infuriating times, when African Americans are facing so much violence and the rest of the country is finally being forced to witness what black Americans have been facing all along, we as a theater committed to our community have to take action. Bringing members of our community together from all sides of the issue to share stories and engage in constructive, empathic dialogue is a first step towards affecting change. I look forward to the discussion.”

“The Every 28 Hours Plays”  will be performed on Oct. 24 at 7 p.m. on the Berlind Stage. Tickets are free, and may be reserved by calling the McCarter Ticket office at (609) 258-2787 or visiting www.mccarter.org/E28H .

 

 

About Erica Chayes Wida

Erica Chayes Wida is a writer, mom, and complete zealot when it comes to poetry, paella and globe collections. After graduating with a degree in Anthropology from UCLA, Erica moved to Italy where the seasons and old architecture inspired her journey back to the East Coast. Since then, she and her husband have created a nest egg locally and, over time, developed a rather grand love affair with the town of Princeton. Erica is senior editor at The Princeton Sun and enjoys fulfilling her Princeton affections on a daily basis. | View all posts by Erica Chayes Wida