One-woman play prompted by Ferguson shooting opens Friday at Whitney Center for the Arts

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PITTSFIELD — "Until the Flood," a one-woman play by Dael Orlandersmith about the social unrest in Ferguson, Mo. following the shooting of teenager Michael Brown, begins a two-weekend run Friday at Whitney Center for the Arts, 42 Wendell Ave.

Performances through July 21 are 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and 2 p.m. Sundays.

The 90-minute intermissionless play is directed by the Whit's artistic director Monica Bliss. Local actor Brittany Nicholson plays all nine roles —a retired school teacher, a retired police offer, a street kid, a high school teacher, a barber, a high school student, a minister, a poet and a racist.

A full-time Berkshire resident, Nicholson attended Taconic High School, where she participated in every stage production. After graduating from Taconic, Nicholson studied theater at Berkshire Community College and then transferred to Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, where she received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in theater. She has has since performed in over 15 productions on various Berkshire stages.

According to a news release from the Whit, Bliss saw Nicholson in Pittsfield's Shakespeare in the Park's outdoor productions of "The Tempest" and "Twelfth Night," and then again in the Whit's July 2018 production of David Lindsay-Abaire's "Fuddy Meers." Impressed by the young actress' skills, Bliss invited her to be a cast member in her upcoming fully staged production of Eve Ensler's "The Vagina Monologues."

Wanting to work together again, Bliss asked Nicholson if there were any roles or shows in which she had interest. The actress said she was interested in doing a piece that would benefit the black community. She first suggested "Facing Our Truth" which she performed in 2016 at the Colonial Theater, co-produced by WAM Theater, Multicultural BRIDGE and Berkshire Theatre Group. "Facing Our Truth" comprises six 10-minute plays prompted by the shooting of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin. Bliss found Orlandersmith's "Until the Flood," a one-woman drama which, like "Facing Our Truth," gives racial issues the stage,

Ticket information is available online at thewhit.org or by phone at 413-443-0289 to make a reservation by phone.

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