Jeremy Keith Hunter and Keith L. Royal Smith in "Hooded, Or Being Black for Dummies" at Mosaic Theater Company.

Mosaic Theater Announces Politically Charged 2017-18 Season

The season will include a Trump-inspired play by Jon Robin Baitz, and a world premieres by Caleen Sinnette Jennings.

WASHINGTON, D.C.: Mosaic Theater Company has announced its 2017-18 season, which will include works for the Women’s Voices Theater Festival and the Voices From a Changing Middle East Festival.

“This is a season ripped from real life, and we’re deriving sizable energy from boldly responding with fact-based art in the face of belligerence, resisting despair, rejoicing in our resilience, ” said founding artistic director Ari Roth in a statement. “And that’s really the key dynamic this season. Beyond political resistance, what animates us is the practice of cultural resilience—the act of drawing together as a diverse body, inspired by art, to reflect on who we are and what’s at stake.”

The season will open with The Devils Music: The Life & Blues of Bessie Smith, by Angelo Parra (Aug. 24-Sept. 24). The play is about the life of Bessie Smith, and featuring her hits. Miche Braden will reprise the role of Smith, which she originated Off-Broadway. Joe Brancato will direct.

After that will be Vicuña & An Epiloque by Jon Robin Baitz (Nov. 1-26). The play was inspired by Trump, and is about an Iranian tailor and his apprentice who is charged with making a suit for a real-estate tycoon to wear during his second presidential debate. The play was first performed in 2016. For the Mosaic production, Baitz has written a new epilogue for the play, inspired by his own experience as the victim of assault during the night of Trump’s inauguration. Robert Egan will direct.

Then, Mosaic will present two one-person plays in rep. The first will be The Real Americans written and performed by Dan Hoyle (Nov. 10-Dec. 22). The play was inspired by Hoyle’s 100-day road trip through rural America, and the people he met there. Charlie Varon will direct.

Then, Mashuq Deen will perform his show Draw the Circle (Dec. 1-24), about his experience coming out to his conservative Muslim family. Chay Yew will direct.

As part of the 2018 Women’s Voices Theater Festival, Mosaic will present the world premiere of Queens Girl in Africa by Caleen Sinnette Jennings (Jan. 4-28, 2018). The show is a sequel to Jennings’s Queens Girl in the World, which was performed at the first Women’s Voices Theater Festival in 2015. The sequel sees the main character of that play, Jacqueline Marie Butler, traveling to Nigeria with her family after the assassination of Malcolm X. Erika Rose will star, and Paige Hernandez will direct.

After that will be the American premiere of Paper Dolls by Philip Himberg, based on the 2006 documentary film by Tomer Heymann (March 29-April 22, 2018). The musical is about five Filipino workers in Tel Aviv, who moonlight as drag queens. The musical will be performed as part of the 2018 Voices From a Changing Middle East Festival.

Then, Mosaic will stage a remount of Hooded, or Being Black For Dummies by Tearrance Arvelle Chisholm (May 2-June 3, 2018). The play was sold out during its run earlier this year, and is an examination of growing up black in America. Serge Seiden will direct.

The season will close with three plays by Mona Mansour, collectively called The Vagrant Trilogy, about the life of a displaced Palestinian family over four decades. The first two parts, The Hour of Feeling and The Vagrant will play May 31-June 24, 2018. The Hour of Feeling is about Adham, a Palestinian who travels to London with his wife. The Vagrant follows Adham as he’s forced to respond to terrorist incidents in London and Lebanon. The third play will be Urge For Going, which takes place in 2003 in a refugee camp in Lebanon (June 18-20, 2018).

Mosaic Theater was founded in 2014 by Ari Roth, and is dedicated to making “transformational, socially-relevant art.”

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