Mainstage Season (2019-2020)

A Season of Black Plays

Poster for Production of King Hedley II

King Hedley II

By: August Wilson

A quest for redemption for one man and a whole community 1980s Pittsburg, a city in decay. Against the backdrop of Regan's America, King, an ex-con, is trying to rebuild his life and start a family. He's got hopes and dreams of opening up a video store and building a new life. If only he can get ten thousand dollars together if only he can catch a break. In his dusty backyard, he plots and plans with his friend Mister, but is this all a pipe dream?

Poster for Rep Company's Production of Zomo the Rabbit: A Hip Hop Creation Myth

Zomo The Rabbit

By: Psalmayene 24

Once he gets dissed by school friends for being weak and ineffectual, Zomo the Rabbit vows to prove them all wrong by becoming powerful and never having to take no mess from anybody ever again. His quest leads him to the Ultimate power master, Sky God, who promises to grant his request, but he has to do something in return by securing and bringing her three special things: 1) get the dance shoes of Big Fish; 2) get the spray paint can from Wild Cow; 3) get the turntable from DJ the Leopard. The first act sets up the story and Zomo starts securing the items in trickster fashion, complete with split second lighting and sound cues, and of course, enough toe-tapping rap for a full scale slam. Along the way, though, Zomo learns the consequence of taking precious items that mean something to others and discovers another purpose for his life than trying to be all powerful. Citation here.

Fires in the Mirror

By: Anna Deavere Smith

“In 1991, in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn, an Hasidic man’s car jumped a curb, killing Gavin Cato, a seven-year-old black child. Later, in what appeared to have been an act of retaliation on the part of a faction of the black community, Yankel Rosenbaum, an Hasidic rabbinical student was stabbed and killed. The ensuing riots that wracked Crown Heights’ previous atmosphere of tolerance for its divergent cultures made national headlines and pointed to the growing friction in racial and cultural relations across America.” Although it’s been nearly twenty years since the incident in Crown Heights, Brooklyn that sparked Anna Deavere Smith to create Fires in the Mirror, the climate of misunderstanding and mistrust amongst different groups has continued throughout the country. UofL’s actors will be asked to relate to the experiences of others (as actors often do) and inhabit the identity of another group without erasing differences between identities. In so doing, the production will challenge the audience to vicariously open up to this process and try to shift their perspective, their experience, and their identity to that of another, rather than passively sitting in judgment from the perspective of the voyeur.

Detroit '67

By: Dominique Morisseau

In 1967 Detroit, Motown music is getting the party started, and Chelle and her brother Lank are making ends meet by turning their basement into an after-hours joint. But when a mysterious woman finds her way into their lives, the siblings clash over much more than the family business. As their pent-up feelings erupt, so does their city, and they find themselves caught in the middle of the '67 riots.

Six Degrees of Separation

By: John Guare

Inspired by a true story, the play follows the trail of a young black con man, Paul, who insinuates himself into the lives of a wealthy New York couple, Ouisa and Flan Kittredge, claiming he knows their son at college. Paul tells them he is the son of actor Sidney Poitier, and that he has just been mugged and all his money is gone. Captivated by Paul's intelligence and his fascinating conversation (and the possibility of appearing in a new Sidney Poitier movie), the Kittredges invite him to stay overnight. But in the morning they discover him in bed with a young male hustler from the streets, and the picture begins to change. After kicking him out, Ouisa and Flan discover that friends of theirs have had a similar run-in with the brash con artist. Intrigued, they turn detective and piece together the connections that gave Paul access to their lives. Meanwhile, Paul's cons unexpectedly lead him into darker territory and his lies begin to catch up with him. As the final events of the play unfold Ouisa suddenly finds herself caring for Paul, feeling that he gave them far more than he took and that her once idyllic life was not what it seemed to be.

Milk Like Sugar

By: Kirsten Greenidge

It is Annie Desmond’s sixteenth birthday and her friends have decided to help her celebrate in style, complete with a brand new tattoo. Before her special night is over, however, Annie and her friends enter into a life altering pact. When Annie tries to make good on her promise to her friends, she is forced to take a good look at the world that surrounds her. She befriends Malik, who promises a bright future, and Keera, whose evangelical leanings inspire Annie in a way her young parents have not been able to do. In the end Annie’s choices propel her onto an irreversible path in this story that combines wit, poetry, and hope. Citation: Samuel French