Theater Alliance Announces Its 2017-2018 Theater Season, Including Return of ‘Word Becomes Flesh’

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Theater Alliance announces its 15th Season with an impressive lineup, including the return of its Helen Hayes Award–winning production Word Becomes Flesh, presented with two regional premieres by up-and-coming American playwrights, and an exciting new format to its Hothouse Play Development Series.

The cast of Theater Alliance’s 2016 production of Word Becomes Flesh: Gary L. Perkins III, Clayton Pelham, Jr., Justin Weaks, Chris Lane, and Louis E. Davis. Photo by C. Stanley Photography.

Theater Alliance’s mission is “to develop, produce, and present socially conscious thought-provoking work that fully engages our community in active dialogue.” Season 15 embodies that mission with the season launch in September with an encore presentation of Word Becomes Flesh by Marc Bamuthi Joseph. First performed as part of Theater Alliance’s 13th Season, this production was the recipient of 11 Helen Hayes nominations, receiving five, including Outstanding Production of a Play, Outstanding Director, and Outstanding Ensemble. The entire team will return for the production of this seminal work. In conjunction with the run, Theater Alliance will curate and present a suite of auxiliary programming, featuring DC artists who will perform work inspired by, in reaction to, or in counterpoint to the themes and forms in Word Becomes Flesh.

The season will continue with two regional premieres of new plays in redevelopment. In February, Idris Goodwin’s The Raid will be directed by Producing Artistic Director Colin Hovde, and in May the final production of the season will be Flood City by Gabrielle Reisman, directed by Jenna Duncan. Both playwrights will be given the opportunity and support throughout the year to further develop and/or reimagine these powerful pieces. Through continued support from the Reva and David Logan Foundation, these productions will have development workshops and extended rehearsal time to test the new material and further refine the plays.

Theater Alliance Producing Artistic Director Colin Hovde.

“Theater is a truly collaborative art form and needs time, space, and compassionate collaborators to create lasting and great works of art,” says Producing Artistic Director, Colin Hovde. “Theater Alliance’s 15th Season has shaped up to be one of reimagining, reworking, and growth. All three of our productions next season are being given another chance to take the next great leap forward.”

After 5 years of growth, The Hothouse New Play Development Series returns for a 6th season with a new, two-tiered format focused on the continued cultivation of new works by local playwrights over the course of Season 15.

ABOUT SEASON 15

Word Becomes Flesh
By Marc Bamuthi Joseph
September 7—October 8, 2017
Directed by Psalmayene 24

“Gives voice to frustrations, but also to dreams. The questioning spirit and synchronized energy of its performance are particularly galvanizing.” — The Washington Post

“At the end comes an image of extraordinary transcendence. There can be no mistaking in that moment the hope and love that became Word Becomes Flesh.” — DCMetroTheaterArts

Encore Presentation   Using spoken word, stylized movement, tableau, and music, an ensemble of performers delivers a series of letters from a man to his unborn son, documenting his range of emotions, fears, and expectations. Back by popular demand, Word Becomes Flesh critically, lyrically, and choreographically examines masculinity and responsibility from a young expectant father’s perspective within the constructs of hip-hop culture.

This encore of Word Becomes Flesh will be the centerpiece of a curated series of auxiliary programming. This series will feature solo shows, readings, and workshops of pieces whose content serves to broaden the conversation and expand upon themes presented in Word Becomes Flesh. This series will celebrate the diversity of performers and performance styles our city has to offer. A full calendar of programming will be announced closer to the date.

The Raid
By Idris Goodwin
February 8—March 18, 2018
Directed by Colin Hovde

A Radical Reimagining   Is it better to work within the system to change it or take up arms against the system to destroy it? Idris Goodwin’s The Raid is a fabulation of a debate between two American icons: White abolitionist John Brown and Black abolitionist and social reformer Frederick Douglass. On the eve of Brown’s raid on the federal armory in Harpers Ferry, these men argue the merits of violence and pacifism, order and chaos, and the possibility of a nation free of the scourge of slavery. The Raid examines the difference between being an ally and an accomplice, the implications of race in social protest, and the limits of radicalism in the age of #Resistance.

Flood City
By Gabrielle Reisman
May 10—June 17, 2018
Directed by Jenna Duncan

“Tall metal beams, endless metal beams, that a dozen men can’t even move that are bigger than any train and we’re all making steel all day and all night in smoke. I know I’m seeing the future.”

 Regional Premiere    In Johnstown, Pennsylvania, in 1889 the Great Flood has decimated the vibrant steel town, leaving behind a ragtag crew of survivors, aid workers, and surveyors to assess the damage and speculate what, or who, could be responsible. A century later, at a bar in Johnstown, recently laid-off steelworkers ponder their uncertain futures in a time when industry, and the world, seems to have left them behind. Traversing time and space, Flood City is a hopeful, dark comedy about disasters, corporate (ir)responsibility, and a community’s resilience in the wake of the unimaginable.

6th Annual Hothouse New Play Development Series

Continuing its commitment to sparking dialogue, Theater Alliance will ask local playwrights to write new short plays in response to a prompt relevant to the themes, ideas, and characters for each of the three mainstage productions. Up to six of the new works will be selected for an evening of public readings and conversation with the audience.

Similarly, Theater Alliance will foster the long-term development of two new full-length plays by working closely with the playwrights and a team of artists during three weekend retreats focused on generating ideas and developing the pieces. At the end of Season 15, each of the full-length plays will receive a public reading with audience feedback for continued creative development.

Theater Alliance performs at the Anacostia Playhouse – 2020 Shannon Place, SE in Washington DC. Subscriptions for its 2017-2018 season may be purchased online, through the Office at 202-241-2539, or by email at info@theateralliance.com. Single tickets will go on sale on August 1, 2017.