A finalist for the 2019 National New Play Network’s National Showcase of New Plays, Vincent Terrell Durham’s Polar Bears, Black Boys & Prairie Fringed Orchids is being streamed today, in productions by theaters all over the country, as part of the Juneteenth Justice Theatre Project.
Jobsite Theater artistic director David Jenkins has directed six local actors in a recorded reading of the play, which addresses Black Lives Matter and the systemic racism in America. Polar Bears was pre-recorded Thursday at Stageworks Theatre; the two organizations collaborated on the production, which will be streamed all day today (Friday, June 19) on both theaters’ websites and social media pages.
Broadway World asked Durham for his “pitch” on the plot of Polar Bears: “My pitch: A liberal white couple open the doors of their renovated Harlem brownstone to host a cocktail party for a Black Lives Matter activist, his gay white lover, a sistah named Shemeka and the mother of a slain 12 year-old black boy. A night of cocktails and conversation spark emotional debates ranging from underweight polar bears, Lana Turner, saving the planet, gentrification, racial identity and protecting the lives of black boys.”
Jenkins will be our guest today (7 p.m.) on The Catalyst Sessions, to talk about the production, the Juneteenth Justice Theatre Project and the role that theater can play in protesting inequality.
The Tampa Bay cast includes Emily Belvo, Miles Brady, Johnny Garde Patrick A. Jackson, Andresia Moseley, Nancy Mizzell and Derrick Phillips.
From the Jobsite website:
Vincent Terrell Durham is a scriptwriter, author and poet who first honed his storytelling skills as a stand-up comic in comedy clubs across the country. His plays include The Fertile River, Vol. 1, A Post Racial America, and Polar Bears, Black Boys & Prairie Fringed Orchids, among others.
The Juneteenth Theatre Justice Project was launched by Aldo Billingslea to center Black theater artists and new voices, address systemic racism in the theater industry, and help raise much-needed funds in support of Black theaters around the country.
Watch it here