Experiments 17: Before Evening Comes

February 27, 2017

La MaMa Galleria

Monday at 7PM

Written by Philana Omorotionmwan

Directed by Nehprii Amenii

With his 13th birthday around the corner, Totome is excited to meet “the butcher” and finally become a man. His mother, however, hopes to keep him whole for just a little while longer. Before Evening Comes is a poetic exploration of what becomes of black boys and men in a dystopian future rooted in the belief that the black male body is a threat to public safety.

 

About the Artists

Philana Omorotionmwan is originally from Baton Rouge, LA where she was born to a Louisiana Creole mother and a Nigerian father.  Production of Philana’s short plays includes THE SETTLEMENT (Ensemble Studio Theatre) and BLACK BOYS DON’T DANCE (Manhattan Theatre Source). BEFORE EVENING COMES was recently developed as part of the 2016 Bay Area Playwrights Festival (Playwrights Foundation) and the Br!nk New Play Festival (Renaissance Theaterworks). Her ten-minute play DIS DA HOOD is currently a finalist for the 2016 Heideman Award. Philana earned her BA from Stanford University where she began writing plays under the mentorship of Cherríe Moraga. Philana is currently pursuing an MFA in Playwriting at Ohio University. She is a member of the Dramatists Guild of America, Inc.
Nehprii Amenii is an artist, writer, director, and educator. As a theatre artist, she has a passion for both puppetry and grand-scale spectacle. She creates experiences that dismantle the wall between players and audiences aiming to enchant the imagination and inspire new ways of seeing and thinking. She has created and worked with Penumbra Theatre Company, The Flea, Pan Asian Repertory Theatre, The Bushwick Starr, La Mama Experimental Theatre, Virginia Stage Company, In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre, The Czechoslovak-American Marionette Theatre, Bread and Puppet Theatre, and Cirque Du Soleil. After eight years of teaching and staging puppet performances for The Alvin Ailey American Dance Foundation, she now serves their creative consultant. In 2013 she was honored with the Stanley and Evelyn Lipkin Prize for playwriting, for her play Food for the Gods. Most recently, she was invited as a U.S. delegate for the 2015 Women Playwrights International Conference in Cape Town South Africa. Nehprii Amenii has enjoyed over 17 years of teaching and curriculum development for all ages within the Department of Education, private institutions, as well as post-secondary education. Nehprii Amenii is founder and Artistic Director of Khunum Productions. She holds a BA in Creative Communications from the University of Minnesota and an MFA in Theatre Production from Sarah Lawrence College.
Renee Joshua-Porter has over 30 years experience as an educator, performer, voice over artist and  playwright. She has appeared in national commercials, industrial films and regional theater. In 2003, she founded The Burning Bush Family Foundation Inc, a not for profit organization which implements multimedia programs to aid underserved families, ignite women and redirect at risk youth. As a regular teaching artist for Alvin Ailey Dance Foundation Inc. she uses her brand of “edutainment” to instruct our youth on personal growth and development. In addition, Renee serves as a New York State Chaplain and has partnered with Project Redirect to provide various resources and services to families in transitional housing.  

She is the recipient of numerous awards recognizing her commitment to leadership and community service.Renee is the author of "Legacy", a resource guide equipped with original plays and helpful tools for building an outreach theater company. Her latest work "BACKBONE: Narratives From Mothers Behind the Apron”, is a provoking multimedia production that explores the often unspoken complexities of motherhood. She also hosts the original web show, "Working with What You Got' which empowers audiences to "un-not" their minds.

A longtime huge fan of LaMama Experimental Theater Club and its cutting edge approach, she is excited to be a part of its Experiments Play Reading Series.

Dion Graham has performed on Broadway, Off-Broadway, internationally, in films and in several hit television series. He has performed a wide variety of classical and contemporary roles. He has also originated roles in numerous world premieres of works by major playwrights. These include Tennessee Williams' NOT ABOUT NIGHTINGALES (London's Royal Nat'l. Theatre/B'way) and Kenneth Lonergan's LOBBY HERO (Lucille Lortel award nominee), Marcus Gardley's ON THE LEVEE (Lincoln Center), Cori Thomas' WHEN JANUARY FEELS LIKE SUMMER and many others. In film and television he has performed featured, recurring, and guest leads in MERCY, MADAM SECRETARY, MALCOLM X, THIRTEEN CONVERSATIONS ABOUT ONE THING, THE GOOD WIFE, GOSSIP GIRL, NYPD BLUE, HACK, HOMICIDE, NEW YORK NEWS, HOOP LIFE, the LAW & ORDER franchise, and more. He also played State's Attorney Rupert Bond on HBO's THE WIRE. Critically acclaimed, his work has been praised as thoughtful and compelling, vivid and full of life.
Olivia Luna is an actress, writer and producer in NYC. In 2012, she received her BFA in theatre performance from Virginia Commonwealth University. She has recently been seen in ABC's How to Get Away with Murder and various national commercials. She currently manages an arts based after-school program for unprivileged public schools and communities in the Bronx. (www.olivia-luna.com)
Joseph Monroe Webb is an international award winning dancer, choreographer, actor, educator and poet who has showcased his talents in a number of performances throughout the years, including the Tony Award winning Broadway production, Bring in ‘Da Noise Bring in ‘Da Funk. Following his Broadway success, Webb ventured into acting in television and film, including Martin Scorsese’s film Bringing Out The Dead, Black Nativity starring Angela Basset and Forest Whitaker, a short film by Red Bull Academy Music NYC, and more. He has also performed on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The Oprah Winfrey Show, and Live with Regis and Kathy Lee. Joseph was recently cast as a principal in a short Morningstar Farms documentary, released May 2016. In early 2017, Joseph was nominated for Helen Hayes Best Supporting Actor and Best Ensemble for his performance in Tony Award winning Broadway musical Jelly’s Last Jam at the Signature Theatre.

Joseph has appeared as a feature and/or starring act in the cast of the Thank You Gregory, Tap Stars (Hamburg, Germany), Cotton Club Parade with Wynton Marsalis, and more.Joseph received raves reviews for his first major work at University Settlement, with the NY Times citing Joseph and his ability to blend various genres of art into one show as,“too hard to categorize, but there is no doubt he is a natural star.” In March 2016, Joseph returned to University Settlement (NYC) to debut the premiere of his latest work, Dancing Buddhas: The Three Jewels, to a sold out audience. Joseph is excited to continue developing part II and III of this dance-theatre series with the Dancing Buddhas professional dance company. When he is not onstage, Joseph choreographs for various dance organizations, including his pre-professional youth tap company, House of Tap. Joseph is the founder and director of American Embassy of Dance, a dance school specializing in percussive dance in Washington, DC. www.jwebbmedia.com.