New York Theater: SHOWING UP (The Civilians)

Post image for New York Theater: SHOWING UP (The Civilians)

by Gregory Bernard on April 11, 2021

in Theater-New York,Virtual

Coming up on April 16, the New York Theater Company The Civilians is presenting Showing Up, a free live streamed evening of music and performance inspired by photographer Accra Shepp’s portraits of Black Lives Matter activists.

Showing Up will be hosted by Nidra Sous la Terre
with Actors:
Becca Blackwell
Cecil Blutcher
Sheldon Best
Marsha Stephanie Blake
and Songs By:
Rashaan Carter, vocals: Anaïs Maviel
Jacinth Greywoode & Rebecca Hart
Jamie Lozano, performed by: Javier Ignacio, mixed by: Demián Cantú
Katie Madison & Jarret Murray, performed by Ms. Madison and Deborah Cowell

In the spring of 2020, Shepp began taking portraits of first responders at work on the frontlines of the pandemic. Shared on Instagram these images became the first chapter “Contagion” of his Covid Journals, which also include a second chapter “Hunger,” and then, as historic activism filled the streets of New York following the murder of George Floyd, a third, ongoing chapter, “Justice.” The Civilians, a company known for its innovative approach to documentary theater, interviewed some of the activists depicted in Shepp’s “Justice” chapter, each photographed at various Black Lives Matter gatherings in NYC. Showing Up, directed by Colette Robert and premiering on April 16 at 7:30pm ET, draws on these interviews to create performances and original songs. A conversation with Accra Shepp frames the evening. To register for this free event, please visit The Civilians.

The event is co-presented with the International Center for Photography, and Alice Austen House, and with the collaboration of the Alfred Stieglitz Society at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The creative team of Showing Up includes video director Sadah Espii Proctor, stage manager Fran Acuña-Almiron, dramaturg Phoebe Corde, associate dramaturg James La Bella, associate producer Sarah Boess, and interviews were conducted by Jesse BaxterMarsha Stephanie BlakeBailey Jordan GarciaDee HarperMatt Maher, and Riley Tollen.

“I was introduced to Shepp’s Covid Journals this past Fall and was moved by his striking ability to connect with each subject,” says The Civilians’ Artistic Director Steve Cosson. “In Shepp’s photos, I saw an individual assert their presence on his or her own terms, giving a human-scale dimension to these larger, collective events. I’m delighted that Shepp agreed to work with us on this project, offering an opportunity for the voice of the individuals in these photos to ‘show up’ through their conversations with our company of interviewers, and the interpretation of their words by actors and musicians.”

Showing Up is part of The Civilians annual cabaret series featuring new works made from creative investigations into real life; the series is supported by The Axe-Houghton Foundation.

photos by Accra Shepp

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