dat Black Mermaid Man Lady/The Show
will have it's world premiere at
PILLSBURY HOUSE + THEATRE
in Minneapolis June 1 - JUNE 24, 2018!!
Directed by Ebony Noelle Golden
Dramaturge: Alexis Pauline Gumbs
Composter/Musical Director: Mankwe Ndosi
Cast: Aimee K. Bryant, Florinda Bryant, PaviElle French, and Kenyai O’Neal
Designers: Christopher Heilman - Set Design, Sonya Berlovitz - Costume Design, Mike Wangen – Light Design
Elizabeth MacNally - Production Manager/Stage Manager.
dat Black Mermaid Man Lady /The Show is a performance processional that celebrates African-American cultures/traditions/histories/and multiple ways of embodying gender. The characters HoneyPot, Miss Kitty and dat Black Mermaid man lady work with Oya, Osun and Yemaya (Yoruba deities) to train in a next generation healer, as they lift communal prayers to the Light. In performance all present are invited to make offerings to this world of womanizing, piano playing, knife carrying she’roes and old people that fly. Performers sing, move, tell stories, call the audience to process, chant, holler back, build altars – celebrate life. All present are responsible for the Journey.
PREMIERE DETAILS HERE.
Photos by Rich Ryan
LISTEN TO MPR NEWS INTERVIEW
With Sharon and Marianne Combs HERE.
Rob Hubbard / TwinCities Pioneer Press Theater review says:
"This is a writer with a style and sound entirely her own. The words that come from her characters’ mouths are musical, magical, poetic and pregnant with history. This is a play full of intertwined yarns, family folk tales that call into question the boundaries between past and present. Stories about epiphanies and transformations, communing with ancestors and establishing identities."
READ THE REVIEW HERE.
WHAT AUDIENCES ARE SAYING
"What a transcendent work of theater. I received a gift of deep spiritual medicine that I am still trying to unpack. MPLS: run don't walk to see this show, and everyone else should be figuring out how to bring it to your town."
"I promise you this: The spirit of God lives in PaviElle's voice. There is no describing Dat Black Mermaid Man Lady / The Show. Just do your soul a favor and go see it!"
"This beautiful show is therapy!"
"It was church."
"I felt held by the performance, in a way that felt spiritual, emotional and sensory. I felt inspired creatively and politically and in relationship to healing."
"dat Black Mermaid Man Lady felt so familiar. Like blood memory. A space for blackness celebrated, buoyant, blackness present but not another news headline."
"I am a 52 year old, recent transplant from New Orleans to MN. dat Black Mermaid Man Lady / The Show felt like attending one of my family's "get-togethers" from childhood. Everything was so authentic! Even the character names were like those of family members. I needed this touch of home and the playwright truly understands my culture. What a sweet gift this play was. THANK YOU!!!"
MORE FROM CRITICS
"One of the most stimulating—and therapeutic—pieces of theatre I have seen anywhere in the Twin Cities this year. More than a play, this "performance processional" is a breathtaking, at times achingly beautiful celebration of life and memory and ancestral love." Talking Broadway-Regional Reviews: Minneapolis/St. Paul
"In the end, the performers create a mental space where “the past, the present, the future/the living, the dead, the not yet born, co-exist”, a threshold where much of the action happens in the audience’s imagination instead of onstage. One’s mind grasps at how associations, connected themes, and assembled fragmentary scenes blends into a story. To some, this kind of interactivity is the Holy Grail of abstract, collaborative theatre." - Twin Cities Arts Reader
"A bold and urgent narrative filled with fire, life and sudden flashes of humor... a tale that feels both weighted with mythology and freshly vivid." - Star Tribune
"There are comic incidents and long journeys, gnomic utterances, and loaded guns, all seamlessly woven into a tapestry of song drawing on gospel, blues, and jazz... There's a profound sense of truths that are known but not spoken, wounds that are healed with quiet understanding." - City Pages
Dwight Hobbes / Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder says:
"Playwright celebrates exploration of gender with new play" HERE.
The Show is part of the dat Black Mermaid Man Lady/Home project and was made possible by the Doris Duke Performing Artist Awards program, The Whitman Institute, Thousand Currents Artist In-Residence Program, development support from New Dramatists Creativity Fund (a program made possible by a generous grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation) and is a project of Creative Capital.