Stagewhispers: Anna Deveare Smith's 'Twilight-Los Angeles' front and center at Chester

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CHESTER — Chester Theatre Company is hosting as Virtual Talkback regarding Anna Deavere Smith's "Twilight: Los Angeles," 2 p.m. July 7. Registration deadline is 5 p.m. July 3. Participants will be e-mailed a link to the Zoom call at least 24 hours before the Talkback.

Registration and a link to the PBS Great Performances presentation of "Twilight: Los Angeles" are available through the Chester Theatre Company website — chestertheatre.org

A professor, playwright, and MacArthur "genius" grant recipient, Smith has appeared in many television shows including "black-ish," "Nurse Jackie," and "The West Wing." She is best known to theater audiences for her "documentary style" full-length solo pieces, forged from hours of interviews. Her subjects have included the 1991 Crown Heights race riot, the press, and the school-to-prison pipeline.

"Twilight: Los Angeles" was created after the acquittal of police officers in the Rodney King trial, and the events that followed.

"(This work) is as relevant today as when it was first created in 1992," CTC producing artistic director Daniel Elihu Kramer said in a prepared statement.

THEATER COMPANIES RESPOND TO 8;46

ALBANY, N.Y. — Capital Repertory Theatre is among six Capital Region theaters participating in "8:46," described by the event's organizer, Black Theatre Troupe of Upstate NY (BTTUNY), as "a theatrical response to the series of murders and assaults of the past weeks, years, decades and the systemic racism that can no longer be tolerated in policing, government, our neighborhoods, our organizations and ourselves."

According to BTTUNY, "each organization has been asked to create a response to the moment that takes 8 minutes and 46 seconds, the same time that the police officer knelt on George Floyd's neck before he died.

The event will be aired live 7 p.m. Tuesday[JUNE 30] on the Black Theatre Troupe of Upstate NY's Facebook page — facebook.com/Blacktroupeupstate/ — with a talk back following the performance. A Zoom link for the talkback will be posted to BTTUNY's Facebook page shortly after the event begins.

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Talk back is limited to 100 people.

The production also will also air on the Public Access Channels for Albany, Schenectady and Troy.

This is a free event, however, donations are being collected to support the artists involved in the project, with all proceeds from the event going to the African American Cultural Center of the Capital Region, Inc. Donations can be made by texting BTTUNY to 41444

In addition to Capital Repertory Theatre and Black Theatre Troupe of Upstate NY, participants are Acting with Aaron, Creative Action Unlimited, Illuminate Theatre, Troy Foundry Theatre and Playhouse Stage Co.

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"The response is being cultivated with organizations from the Capital Region that have a track record of producing work of, and with, Black artists - and who vow to be a part of the solution to ending the systemic racism that resides within the American theater," BTTUNY officials said in a statement.

The program:

- Acting with Aaron — "The Eyez in the Wall" by Aaron Moore. The piece imagines what happens when Black people die by violence, at the hands of the police etc., and asks what impact do they have on the world once they've left it? Directed by founder of Acting with Aaron, Aaron Moore. Performed by Majestic Tillman, Zo Lewis, Danielle Collins, Aaron Moore. facebook.com/ActingWithAaronPage/

- Black Theatre Troupe of Upstate NY — "The Nub of the Issue" by Barbara Jordan. The piece takes us back to September 1987, when Nixon-era Justice Department official Robert Bork was being considered as an appointee to the U.S. Supreme Court. Here we see pioneering black politician Barbara Jordan as she goes toe-to-toe with Republican Senator Gordon Humphrey over the prospectuve nomination of R8bert Bork to the U.S. Suoreme Courty. Directed by Jean-Remy Monnay, founder and artistic director of BTTUNY. Performed by Barbara Howard, Tony Pallone.

- Capital Repertory Theatre — "Night Vision" by Dominique Morriseau. After witnessing a woman being beaten on the street by a man in a hooded sweatshirt, Ayann and Ezra return to their apartment to call the police. However, before they can make the call, they discover how their individual accounts of the attacker differ and both are left questioning the truth of what they saw. Directed by Margo Hall. Performed by Kevin Craig West, Susan Spain. capitalrep.org

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- Creative Action Unlimited — "Privilege," an ensemble performance that explores what is possible to accomplish in 8:46, depending upon one's level of privilege. Directed by Michael Kennedy. Performed by Archie, Rebekah Brisbane, Sakea Martin, Tim Martin, Maghen Ryan, John Stevenson. creativeactionunlimited.com

-Illuminate Theatre — "8 Ways to Say Goodbye, written and directed by Morgan Elizabeth. The piece will be filmed first person on a cellphone and from the perspective of an 8-year-old who lost her dad to police brutality. She will spend 8-minutes trying to explain, understand and accept, the murder of her father. The video stems from the memories of Morgan Elizabeth's father's 8-second hugs, and his words to her, "just long enough to really feel the love." Performed by Moriah Edmunds. facebook.com/IlluminateTheatre518/

- Troy Foundry Theatre — "8:46: A Memo on White Fragility," curated by Katie Pedro and directed by David Girard. Using a strong visual metaphor, and several writing prompts, this original piece demonstrates white fragility, issues of complicity and neutrality and the problematic systemic issues in accumulations of power. Performed by Kelly Artis, Niya Colbert, Emily Curro, Ethan Botwick, David Girard, Raya Malcolm, Christian Steward. troyfoundrytheatre.org

- Park Playhouse Inc. — a segment from "Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill" by Lanie Robertson. The play portrays a club concert by Billie Holiday, not long before her untimely death. Directed Michael LoPorto, the excerpts include a monologue and the song "Strange Fruit." Performed Gina-Simone Pemberton, accompanied by Brandon Jones. parkplayhouse.org

RECREATING GOLDA MEIR

LENOX — Award-winning actress Annette Miller and Shakespeare & Company artistic director Allyn Burrows will discuss " Golda, Leadership, and the Creative Process" in a free webinar 3 p.m. Tuesday.

Registration is available through the Shakespeare & Company website — shakespeare.org.

Burrows and company veteran Miller will discuss one of her most impactful roles, Golda Meir, the first and only woman Prime Minister of Israel.

Miller originated the role of Golda in Shakespeare & Company's 2002 production of William Gibson's "Golda's Balcony," for which she received both Boston's Elliot Norton Best Actor Award and the Independent Reviewers of New England Best Actor Award.


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