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"Wrestling Jerusalem" by Aaron Davidman, at Mosaic Theater Company of D.C. in 2016. Pictured: Davidman. (Photo by Teddy Wolff)

Mosaic Theater Season to Feature New Ifa Bayeza Trilogy

In addition to the world premiere staging of Ifa Bayeza’s three play repertory on the life and death of Emmett Till, the 5th anniversary season will exclusively feature premiere productions.

WASHINGTON, D.C.: Mosaic Theater Company has announced the lineup for its 2019-20 season, titled #WOKESEASON5. Each of the slated plays is a premiere production, with four world premieres, one U.S. premiere, and three D.C. premieres.

“The eight amazing plays in Mosaic’s fifth anniversary season offer up stages of awakening—urgent, exhilarating, and humble—that hurtle our characters, and by extension, us, forward to new levels of awareness, puncturing bubbles of pretension along the way,” founding artistic director Ari Roth said in a statement. “To be ‘woke’ is to be no longer in the dark about what’s happening around us; about the systems of oppression and persistence of racism that permeate daily life. But it can be tricky terrain, these states of ‘wokeness,’ leading to pats on the back of self-congratulations and new forms of denial. Our extraordinary playwrights are hip to our follies and foibles, just as they’re poised to wake us up to the realities of our moment and the relevance of history still knocking on our door.”

The season will open with the D.C. premiere of Lynn Nottage‘s Fabulation (Aug. 21-Sept. 22), a satire about a successful African American publicist forced to return to her childhood home in the projects after her husband steals her hard-earned fortune. Eric Ruffin will direct.

Next will be the U.S. premiere of Theory (Oct. 22-Nov. 17) by Norman Yeung. In the play, directed in this production by Victoria Murray Baatin, a young tenure-track professor gains an unknown tormentor after encouraging her students to contribute to an un-moderated discussion group.

Jonathan Spector’s Eureka Day (Dec. 14-Jan. 5, 2020), a D.C. premiere, will follow. In a Californian day school where decisions are made by consensus and vaccinations are a personal matter, a mumps outbreak forces the board of directors to confront the issue of reaching a consensus when no one can agree on the facts. Serge Seidan will direct.

The season will continue with the D.C. premiere of Pilgrims Musa and Sheri in the New World (Jan. 16-Feb. 16, 2020) by Yuseff El Guindi. Shirley Serotsky will direct the romantic comedy about Muslim and American identity.

The world premiere of Alexandra Petri‘s Inherit the Windbag (March 11-29, 2020) will be next. The play is a satirical recreation of the series of debates between Gore Vidal and William F. Buckley in 1968. Lee Mikeska Gardner will direct.

The season will close with The Till Trilogy (April 1-June 21, 2020), three plays by Ifa Bayeza about the life and death of Emmett Till and the aftermath of his murder. Part I: The Ballad of Emmett Till follows the title character in the two weeks leading to his death. Part II: That Summer in Sumner chronicles the 1955 trial, the State of Mississippi v. Roy Bryant and J.M. Milam for the Murder of Emmett Till. Part III: Benevolence, explores the lives of those related to the case, including the young white woman who accused Till of threatening her and partially recanted her testimony after 50 years, and two witnesses to the murder. Talvin Wilkes will direct all three plays.

Founded in 2014, Mosaic Theater Company aims to make transformative, socially relevant art through transformative productions, engagement programming, and education initiatives.

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