Saturday, January 21, 2017

Bringing Emerging Voices to the Forefront: The Fire This Time Festival Writers Group Returns for A Second Cycle!

Khalil Kain
We are so pleased to announce that The Fire This Time Festival Writers’ Group has just completed its second cycle and we have a lot of fresh, provocative work to share this time around! Once again, it has been a productive, engaging creative experience.

The goals of the Writers' Group were to help playwrights of African descent begin the development of new work during bi-monthly sessions and to foster a nurturing, supportive and collaborative environment. Playwrights shared their work with their peers and received constructive feedback that assisted the playwrights with shaping and developing their work during the early stages of writing.

Co-moderated by A.J. Muhammad (TFTT's Outreach Producer) and Cynthia G. Robinson (TFTT Season 4 playwright and educator), the writers’ group will culminate in a public presentation of new works on January 22, 2017, during TFTT's 8th season, at which time excerpts of the plays developed in the workshop will be read before an audience.

Meet our second cycle playwrights (some newcomers, some from our inaugural group), and read about their works in progress.

Uncovered Wagons
by Khalil Kain

Uncovered Wagon follows a father and his two sons as they travel through the forest to retrieve their mother. The mother is a talented mid wife who has travelled to another village to ply her trade. This story takes place in the distant future where the remaining people have back tracked to a simpler time to coexist and survive in this new world. The tale also deals with the issue of identity. Being a member of the people, and how that is achieved. The youngest son has not earned his name at the start of the journey. By the end he has gone through his rite of passage and become one of the people. If the reset button is pushed and the lights go out, how will we treat each other? "Uncovered Wagons" explores the humanity of that question.

Khalil Kain was born and raised in New York City. He is a veteran actor best known for his turn as "Raheem" in the urban classic film "Juice." Khalil has been in eight feature films, last seen in Tyler Perry's "For Colored Girls." Khalil Kain has had consistent work on television. He played the character Darnell as a series regular on the show "Girlfriends" for six seasons. Khalil directed a production of Sam Shepard's "Buried Child" at Aaron Davis Hall in New York City and penned his first play "Lambs to Slaughter," which has had a reading and been workshopped at the Cell as part of the Blackboard Reading Series and CMORE Festival.

In Case of an Emergency Contact 
by Christine Jean Chambers
Christine Jean Chambers

Clara, painfully self-aware and chronically ill, is a frequent flyer at most of the emergency rooms in Manhattan. However, her favorite staff and nurse (Sally) are at Saint Luke's in Hell's Kitchen. After passing out in a grocery store she finds herself there again and shortly after a long lost friend arrives at her bedside.

Christine Jean Chambers is a published author and photographer. In New York City she’s had plays produced at: The Flea; as a part of "The Stupid Plays," Horse Trade; as a part of the “The Fire This Time Festival," Ensemble Studio Theatre; as a part of the “The River Crosses Rivers II Festival, and The "Going to the River Festival", Classical Theatre of Harlem; as a part of "Playwrights Playground," Harlem 9's "48 Hours in...Harlem," Theatre Movement Company, Rising Circle Theatre Collective, National Black Theatre, and 5D. She is currently a member of the "Fire This Time Festival Writer's Group."

Our Father
by Liz Morgan
Liz Morgan
Paul has spent a long time living in his father’s shadow but when he decides to write a biopic about the legendary “T.V. Dad” who raised him while raising America, his career finally starts to generate the kind of momentum he’s always wanted. All he and his team need to do is manage his drinking...and the press!

Liz Nabors is a writer-performer known for her solo show, Deep $h*t. She received her MFA in Acting from Brown/Trinity Rep where she received the Davis Wickham Prize for Excellence in Playwriting. Her work has been developed at the POTPOURRI! World Women Works Series, Rites and Reason Theatre and Manhattan Rep. Liz was recently named a finalist for the I AM SOUL Playwrights Residency at the National Black Theatre where her work will be featured in their Keep Soul Alive Reading Series. She is also slated to present some of her writing at Judson Art Wednesdays Magic Time series in 2017. Liz is a resident artist with Amios Theatre Company where she is expanding her short play, "Motherland" into a full length as part of their First Draughts Series. Other Amios’ writing credits include "Projection," which was nominated as a finalist in the New York New Works Theatre Festival and "Breaking & Entering," which was recently announced as a semi-finalist in the New Works Lab at Stratford. Liz is an alum of the INKtank Lab with Rising Circle where she presented "The Clark Doll" at the 2016 PlayRISE Festival. Her satirical one-act, "A Matter of Taste" is published in the Long Island City One Act Festival Anthology. Liz collaborated on book & lyrics for Trinity Rep’s children show "Boing! A Musical Adventure," and co-produced the web series "Spicy Wit" which has been featured in The Huffington Post and Ebony Magazine. Liz’s acting credits include film and a lot of new stage work. She currently works as a facilitator and teaching artist in NYC and developed the new playwriting curriculum for the Opening Act Summer Conservatory.

Shockoe Bottom
by Shawn Nabors
Shawn Nabors
Shockoe Bottom chronicles the journey of a man named Shepherd. Shepherd was born and marked a slave. Shepherd is his master's "favorite." He gets special treatment. He's a "special slave." It isn't long before Shepherd realizes that a "special slave" is still a slave. What is he willing to risk for freedom?

Shawn Nabors is an actor, writer and rapper from Brooklyn, N.Y. He recently received his MFA in Acting from Harvard University/American Repertory Theatre. He is delighted to be developing this piece through the Fire This Time's writing group. He is grateful for the fire that burns deeply underneath.

Wheel of Life
by Edgar Chisholm
Two soul mates, bound together in a karmic journey across time and space pursue the lasting love they so briefly tasted nearly 3,200 years ago. Chipo continually pushes the envelope of existence, as she challenges the status quo, time after time in her quest for love across four continents and three millennia. We first meet the soul called Chipo on a mountain top somewhere in the after-lives ether, then as a warrior queen in ancient Africa, a proud Knight in 13th century France, a brilliant noblewoman in feudal Japan, a drifter attempting to woo a suffragette away from a Boston marriage in 1915 Ohio and finally we see Chipo as a Carnaval entertainer in modern day Rio. "Wheel of Life" is a diverse play that employs an absurdest structure to push the boundaries of love, language and genre.

Edgar Chisholm is an award winning playwright, director, and producer. He loves crafting ethnically diverse and challenging plays. His plays include, "Without Love," "Holiday Diary," "The Long Dance,"  "Miss Julie" (adaption), "The Savage Queen," "Bhavacakra" and his adaption of August Strindberg’s "Road to Damascus Part 2" premiered in March 2016 at the Strindberg Repertory Theatre. He is the winner of the 2010 Raymond J. Flores Playwriting Prize, The 2003 Eileen Heckart Drama award, The 1999 National Federation of Community Broadcasters Silver Reel and other awards. His work was presented at the Association For Jewish Theatre Conference in Chicago as well as read at the National Black Theater Festival in NC. He is a member of the Dramatist Guild, Lincoln Center Theatre Directors Lab, a Founding member of Harlem Arts Alliance and a Director and Board member of Polaris North Theatre Workshop. In film he is the executive producer of the theatrically released 2010 Movie “Deceptive.”