West Coast Premiere of In A Daughter’s Eyes, a new play by A. Zell Williams with Britney Frazier and Lisa Porter, directed by Edris Cooper –Anifowoshe
Produced by Brava! For Women in the Arts and Black Artists Contemporary Cultural Experience, Brava Theater Center, 2781-24th Street at York, San Francisco, CA 94110
June 29– July 14, 2013, previews June 27 & 28th; Thursdays-Sat 8pm, Sundays 3pm, cost is $15
In A. Zell Williams’ intense two-hander, the daughter of an Oakland Black Panther – who sits on Death Row for the murder of an Oakland Police Officer – is locked in room and in conflict with the daughter of the murdered officer in an effort to heal their open wounds As the negotiations intensify in familiar ways, the sins of the fathers are visited upon the daughters as they battle to protect their father’s names.
In A Daughter’s Eyes is the recipient of the 2011 National New Play Network’s Smith Award and had its World Premiere at Philadelphia’s InterAct Theatre Company. Black Artists Contemporary Cultural Experience is excited to bring this new work by a local writer to the Bay Area.
Q&A with Edris Cooper-Anifowoshe
Talk2SV: Why are these voices pivotal in today’s conversation on race and gender equality?
Cooper-Anifowoshe: A. Zell Williams is an emerging Black writer who writes from a unique vantage point –incorporating Meisner acting techniques into a script– which becomes an excellent exercise for any actors involved. Also unique to the production are the two leading and complex roles for women– far too few on American stages today. Female directors too are rare and African American women directors even more so.
Talk2SV: What will we learn from this arresting yet poignant story?
Cooper-Anifowoshe: The story explores the legacy of Oakland’s Black Panther politics through the daughters of a police officer and an activist on opposite sides of the political spectrum – the daughters begin on common ground.
Talk2SV: Where does one go with their emotions and thoughts having seen this production?
Cooper-Anifowoshe: Hmmm…I couldn’t say. I suppose people may feel the need to take sides but hopefully they will view the Bay Area’s current situation between the police and the community with a bit more historical depth.
Talk2SV: What was most important to you as director of this play?
Cooper-Anifowoshe: To really take the journey the playwright conceived for the actors in putting lots of unspoken life in the production through the open repetitive Meiner-esque dialogue.
ABOUT THE DIRECTOR
Edris Cooper-Anifowoshe is founder (along with the late great Lester Jones) of Black Artists Contemporary Cultural Experience which grew out of the ground-breaking performance space, Sugar Shack Performance Gallery & Cultural Experience in the Lower Haight Edris is an award-winning director, actor and writer. She has directed at Trinity Repertory Company;
Magic Theatre; TheatreWorks in Palo Alto; Curious Theater in Denver; WaterTower Theatre in Dallas where she is a two time Rabin nominee; Mark Taper Forum, Southern Rep in New
Orleans and Alabama Shakespeare, among others. A one-time performer with the San Francisco Mime Troupe, Edris has performed at many regional and independent theaters and for more than a decade was a lead artist for Rhodessa Jones’ The Medea Project; Theatre for IncarceratedWomen. Edris’ original solo performances have been seen at Northwestern University, the University of Illinois and the University of Florida in Gainesville in San Francisco at AfroSolo Festival, Intersection For the Arts and other small independent venues, including her own Sugar Shack Performance Gallery and Cultural Center in the LowerHaight (1991-1993).
Internationally, Edris has performed in Ibadan, Nigeria and Berlin, Germany and presented scholarship on performance in Mexico, the UK and the Netherlands. Her 2010 performance of Adventures of A Black Girl In Search of Academic Clarity and Inclusion was presented as part of the solo/black/women festival at Northwestern University, is being created as a video game and will be published in an anthology by Northwestern University Press later this year.
ABOUT THE PLAYWRIGHT
A. Zell Williams (Playwright) has won Philadelphia Theatre Company’s Terrence McNally Award, Marin Theatre Company’s David Calicchio Emerging American Playwright Prize, the
National New Play Network’s Smith Prize for Political Theatre, New York University’s Rita & Burton Goldberg Playwriting Prize, and Reverie Productions’ Next Generation Playwright’s
Award. He has been nominated for the Williamstown Theatre Festival’s L. Arnold Weissberger Award by Playwrights’ Horizon and the Playwright of New York (PoNY) Fellowship by Oskar Eustis of the Public Theater. He was a finalist for the Yale Drama Series for Emerging Playwrights, Aurora Theatre’s Global Age Project Award , Kitchen Dog Theatre’s New Works
Festival, and the Van Lier Fellowship at the Lark Play Development Center, as well as a semifinalist for the Princess Grace Award, the Ashland New Play Festival (Ashland, OR), Centre
Stage Theatre’s New Works Festival, (Greenville, SC,) and Victory Gardens Theatre’s Ignition Festival. Zell holds a BA in Theatre Arts from Santa Clara University and an MFA in Dramatic Writing from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. He is the National New Play Network Playwright-in-Residence at Philadelphia’s InterAct Theatre Company and a member of both The Civilians’ R&D Group and Ars Nova’s Play Group. For more on his work, visit www.AZellWill.com.
ABOUT THE ACTORS
Britney Frazier (Raheema Salaam) Britney Frazier received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Theatrical Performance from San Francisco State in the Spring of 2013. She has performed with: Shotgun Players in Bulrusher as Vera, Intersection for the Arts’ preview of Mirrors in EveryCorner as Row, Lorraine Hansberry Theatre’s production of Fabulation as Stephie and most recently in The Voyage with Shotgun Players again, as Miss Chamberline and Katya .Brit can also be seen performing with the Femikazes which is a Berkeley based, all female sketch comedy troupe. In 2012, Brit was co- creator in a collaboration betwen Cal Shakes, Intersection for the Arts’ and Campo Santo’s Artists Training Program (The Triangle Lab), exploring the roots, avenues and confines of storytelling with one ear to the streets. In the summer of 2012, Brit was honored to join forces assistant directing Jip; His Story, with Bay Area, theatrical visionary, Ellen Sebastian Chang at the San Francisco Marsh Theatre. Currently, Britney is an Artistic Associate at the San Francisco Playhouse where she produced a staged reading festival of new works in Feb. and March of 2013 called, “Our Voices, Our Stories”.featuring over twenty plays written by local African American and female playwrights. Britney made her directorial and playwrighting debut in the February festival at the SF Playhouse, directing the workshop performance of Love Balm for my SpiritChild by local playwright Arielle Julia Brown and with a staged reading of her own original one- act, Obeah. Britney is a member of Actors Equity Association.
Lisa Anne Porter (Kathryn Tilman) Lisa Anne Porter is a professional actress, director and voiceover talent , as well as a professional voice/dialect coach, a voice/acting/text professor and a designated Linklater voice instructor. Lisa has performed with numerous repertory companies and Shakespeare festivals throughout the country including the American Conservatory Theatre, California Shakespeare Festival, Shakespeare/Santa Cruz, San Francisco Shakespeare Festival, Syracuse Stage, Geva Theatre Center, Shakespeare Festival/LA, Shakespeare & Company, Sacramento Theatre Company, the Magic Theatre, Marin Theatre Company, Interact Theatre Company, and Boston Theatreworks. She is a member of the Los Angeles Women’s Shakespeare Company where she played Laertes in HAMLET and Buckingham in RICHARD III. She also co-directed and starred in their touring show A WILL OF ONE’S OWN. She has a B.A. in Theatre and American Studies from Wesleyan University and an M.F.A. from the American Conservatory Theatre. Lisa is on the faculty of Shakespeare & Company, the MFA program and Summer Training Congress at the American Conservatory Theatre, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, California Shakespeare Theatre and the Academy of Art University.