SANKOFA! Photo Above from 2017 Sankofa Theatre Festival (photo byKaren Culley)
-Sankofa Embarks on Its Second Decade [Rochester, New York]
The Sankofa Theatre Festival, Aug. 29 to Sept. 8, celebrates the national bicentennial observance of Frederick Douglass’s birthday with a play imbued by the indomitable spirit of the American social reformer. Produced by MMB Theatre 1 Project, the festival showcases the original works of emerging and established African American playwrights 7:30 p.m. nightly with a 2 p.m matinee Sept. 1 at the Multi-use Community Cultural Center (MuCCC), 142 Atlantic Ave.
“We’re pleased Karen Culley’s play, where the spirit of the great orator and statesman Frederick Douglass literally and figuratively permeates the production, that is opening this year’s festival’’ said Curtis Rivers, playwright and founder/artistic director of MMB Theatre 1 Project. Founded in 2017, the Sankofa Theatre Festival since then has grown from one day to two weeks.
Week one of the Sankofa Theatre Festival starts on Thursday, Aug. 29 with featured dramatist Karen Culley of Irondequoit, and her play The Green Book Chronicles. There will be 6:30 p.m. opening night reception followed by the play’s premiere performance. From 1936 to 1966, the Green Book was an indispensable guide for African American motorists seeking food, gas and lodging on road trips through the segregated South. Caught between running their family business, the long-established Lilly Inn in Virginia, and providing better opportunities for their children, the Greers try to navigate the impending winds of change in hopes of attaining Douglass’s dream of equality for all.
After the Saturday, Sept. 1 matinee, there is a talk-back with the playwright, director and entire cast. Kicking off the second week on Sept. 4 is a new component to this year’s festival, an evening of ten-minute plays, with an emphasis on works that are comedic in nature and pertain to some aspect of the African American experience. The “Night of Tens” playwrights are Ibn Shabazz of Buffalo; Karen Culley of Irondequoit; and Reuben J. Tapp, Stephanie Leary, Jacquetta Harris, Gary DeWitt Marshall, all of Rochester. Sankofa Theatre Festival’s two other full-length productions are on alternating nights.
On Sept. 5 and 7, is The Circle: A Book Club Sisterhood, by Laura A. Thomas of Rochester. A women’s black literary club finds judging a book by its cover easier said than done as some reveal, and others conceal, their personal struggles and turmoil.
Sept. 6 and 8 is, Now & Then, by Grace Flores of Rochester. We’ve heard it said that we are spirits having a human experience. What if eight such spirits have more than one human experience? Cross over and beyond dimensions into the Now & Then.
Admission nightly is $15 in advance; $20 at the door. Tickets can be purchased at Mood Makers Books, Village Gate, 274 N. Goodman St., or at https://www.muccc.org
An all-access festival pass for $48 is available through Monday, Aug. 27 at Mood Makers Books and via the festival venue website.
For details on the all-access pass call (585) 271-7010, emailmoodckr@frontiernet. net or visit https://www.muccc.org .