Following up on their smash-hit A Maze, Just Theater and Shotgun Players reunite with a Bay Area premiere from a rising star of the American Theater. The New York production of the We Are Proud to Present… won a 2013 Obie Award was one of the New York Times ‘Top Ten Plays of the Year’ in 2012.
We Are Proud to Present… is a hilarious, imaginative and incendiary exploration of race, power and narrative in America. A play within a play, six idealistic young actors – three white and three black – attempt to create a theater piece about a little known genocide in the late 19th century. The rehearsal room transforms from inspired to absurd to dangerous as the actors attempt to recreate and understand the genocide of the West African Herero at the hands of the German settlers. Although initially an exploration of a historical events, the the actors (and audience) gradually discover that when talking about race in America “the past isn’t over. It isn’t even past.”
The intensity of the play is balanced with humor and hilarious insight into the awkwardness of tip toeing around a subject as loaded as race.
Formally inventive, incorporating song and dance and small improvisations, the play moves rapidly between two modes: the rehearsal for “the presentation” and “the presentation” itself. By the end, the line between these modes has blurred, and the audience is brought inside the process as it spins out of control. We Are Proud to Present…asks deep questions about who gets to control a cultural narrative – and to what degree we have the right to create work about a history and culture that is not our own.
Artistic Director Patrick Dooley says: “It’s exciting to do a play that deals with race relations in an authentic, comically uncomfortable and even more importantly – highly theatrical way. Plus, I love all the artists working on the show. It’s inspiring to watch Just Theatre emerge from a scrappy, bootstraps
organization to one that is able to breathe inspired life into important stories.”
“I’ve been a huge fan of this play since first reading is as a submission to the Bay Area Playwrights Festival a few years back, when Jackie was just out of grad school,” said Just Theater Artistic Director Jonathan Spector “Since then she’s had work developed all over town – in Berkeley Rep’s Ground Floor, the Magic, the Bay Area Playwrights Festival, ACT and Lorraine Hansberry Theater – there’s so
much excitement around her as a writer, and we’re thrilled to finally be introducing her work to the Bay Area audience.”
The cast comprises some of the Bay Area’s leading young actors including Patrick Kelly Jones, Megan Trout, Rotimi Agiababka, David Moore, Kehinde Koyejo and Lucas Hatton.
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