Good theater in New York is something many people expect, but theater in Harlem goes as deep as the roots from when Harlem became such an influential neighborhood in New York City. On Tuesday, April 5, 2016, The National Black Theatre presented the cast of a much talked about upcoming show entitled “Blood at the Root.” The evening moderator for the event was Keith Josef Adkins, the artistic director of The New Black Fest and he discussed the play with the actors.
Inspired by the incident that happened with the Jena Six in Louisiana in 2006, playwright Dominique Morisseau (author of New York Times Critics Pick Skeleton Crew and Sunset Baby) created “Blood at the Root”. This story follows a group of high school students desperately trying to define themselves while seeking to persevere amidst the relentless injustice happening in America. Using music, dance and poetry this ensemble driven piece weaves into stunning effect an impactful theatrical experience that ask us to explore the current state of student activism in the 21st century (i.e.: Black Lives Matter).
“This Penn State University commissioned drama is a powerful collaborative piece. Director Steve Broadnax makes impressive use of the minimalistic set to change pace, scene and mood. That he makes it seem easy to convey so many elements using only what is effectively a bare set, and his six-strong cast, is a real skill. What Morisseau, Broadnax, choreographer Kikora Franklin, soundscape designer Liz Sokolak and the cast—who were all collaborators in devising and developing this piece—have managed to achieve is that rare beast: a piece which shows you the complicated and myriad reasons people have for prejudice or injustice.” – Edinburgh Spotlight
This production will ignite powerful discussions, and the partnering organizations want to use this moment to galvanize the youth audience in NYC towards civic engagement. Consistent with the current climate in theater to engage young diverse audiences, we are pleased to announce a ticket subsidy program sponsored by the Andrew Mellon Foundation that will enable us to provide affordable tickets for families and young audiences.
The event was sponsored by Lady Lexis Sweets, a bakery located at 1931 Madison Avenue in Harlem. Other sponsors included: PapiWines, Organo Gold Coffee, Harlem Park To Park, Global Network of Black Pride and the Harlem 2020 Small Business Resource Club.
‘Blood at the Root runs April 20 – May 15. Performances are Monday, Thursday & Friday at 7:30pm; Saturday at 2pm & 7:30pm and Sunday at 4pm. The National Black Theatre is located in the heart of Harlem at 2031-33 National Black Theatre Way (at the corner of 125th Street and Fifth Avenue. Regular ticket price is $25, available at 212-722-3800 or The National Black Theatre website .