To celebrate Shadow/Land’s upcoming production, playwright Erika Dickerson-Despenza has released a playlist. The production begins on Thursday, April 20th with a Joseph Papp Free Performance and runs through Sunday, May 21st. shadow/land will officially open on Thursday May 4th.
According to a post on Despenza’s Twitter account, the playlist consists of “50+ songs to move through the entire piece.” She says, “A lot of those songs were also on my writing playlist.”
Listen to the playlist below!
Shadow/Land, which previously premiered as an audio play on The Public in 2021 as part of virtual programming during the pandemic, will make its live debut this spring. The stage production marks the return of Dickerson-Despenza and Jones following the successful production of cullud wattah presented at The Public last season. The production begins on Thursday, April 20th with a Joseph Papp Free Performance and runs through Sunday, May 21st. shadow/land will officially open on Thursday May 4th.
Erika Dickerson-Despenza is a Blk, queer feminist poet, playwright, and cultural memory worker from Chicago, Illinois. Awards: Susan Smith Blackburn Prize Finalist (2021), Laurents/Hatcher Foundation Award (2020), Thom Thomas Award (2020), Lilly Award (2020), Barrie and Bernice Stavis Award (2020), Grist 50 Fixer (2020), Princess Grace Playwriting Award (2019). Residencies and Fellowships: Tow Playwright-in-Residence at the Public Theater (2019-2020), US Water Alliance National Arts & Culture Delegate (2019), New York Stage and Film Fellow-in-Residence (2019), New Harmony Project Writer – in Residence (2019), Dramatists Guild Foundation Fellow (2018-2019), The Lark Van Lier New Voices Fellow (2018). Communities: BYP100 Squad Members, Ars Nova Play Group (2019-2021), Youngblood Collective (EST). Commissions: The Public Theatre, Studio Theater & Williamstown Theater Festival. Productions: CULLUD WATTAH (originally planned at The Public Theatre, 2020; Victory Gardens Theatre, 2021), [HIEROGLYPH] (San Francisco Playhouse/Lorraine Hansberry Theatre, 2021). Erika is currently developing a 10-part Katrina cycle, including [HIEROGLYPH] and Shadow/Land, focused on the impact of Hurricane Katrina and its federally sanctioned man-made disaster that swept through New Orleans.
The full cast of Shadow/Land includes Joniece Abbott-Pratt (Ruth), Lynnette R. Freeman (Ruth Understudy), Perri Gaffney (Magalee Understudy), Lizan Mitchell (Magalee), Christine Shepard (Grand Marshal), and Joy-Marie Thompson ( Grand Marshal understudy).
Shadow/Land by Susan Blackburn Award winner Erika Dickerson-Despenza, which premieres as an audio play on The Public in 2021, returns in Spring 2023 with a stunning live production. As Hurricane Katrina begins its demise, tensions between duty and desire arise, a levee is brought to its knees, and Ruth must wrestle with everything she is willing to let go of. shadow/land is a lyrical meditation on legacy, erotic ephemerality and self-determination. Directed by Lilly Award winner Candis C. Jones, Shadow/Land is the first in a 10-part cycle that traverses the Katrina diaspora and the enduring effects of disaster, evacuation, displacement, and urban renewal in and around New Orleans examined .
The production features scenic design by Jason Ardizzone-West; costume design by Azalea Fairley; lighting design by Jeanette Oi-Suk Yew; sound design by Palmer Hefferan; hair, wig and makeup design by Earon Chew Nealey; musical composition by Delfeayo Marsalis; and Intimacy Directed by Ann James. Janelle Caso acts as Production Stage Manager.