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14th Annual Sankofa Festival

By MMB Theatre I The 14th Annual Sankofa Theatre Festival features local African American artists in a one week theatrical festival.

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14th Annual Sankofa Festival
14th Annual Sankofa Festival

Time & Location

Sep 07, 2023, 7:00 PM

Rochester, 142 Atlantic Ave, Rochester, NY 14607, USA

Guests

About The Event

14th Annual Sankofa Festival

By MMB Theatre I

This years featured plays include:  

The Return of Double Ax Max: a radio play By Karen D. Culley Directed By Reuben J. Tapp  

Mr. Soul! By Laura A. Thomas Directed By Reuben J. Tapp  

Blood at the Root By Dominique Morisseau Directed By Reenah Golden

$20 online advance

$25 at the door

$45 for all three plays

Tues, Aug 22 - 7:30 PM    The Return of Double Ax Max: a radio play By Karen D. Culley Directed By Reuben J. Tapp

Wed, Aug 23 - 7:30 PM    The Return of Double Ax Max: a radio play By Karen D. Culley Directed By Reuben J. Tapp

Thurs, Aug 24 - 7:30 PM  Mr. Soul! By Laura A. Thomas Directed By Reuben J. Tapp

Fri, Aug 25 - 7:30 PM        Mr. Soul! By Laura A. Thomas Directed By Reuben J. Tapp

Sat, Aug 26 - 7:30 PM.     Blood at the Root By Dominique Morisseau Directed By Reenah Golden

The 14th Annual Sankofa Theatre Festival features local African American artists in a one week theatrical festival.

The Return of Double Ax Max August 22-23, 2023

Written by Karen Culley Directed by Reuben J. Tapp

From the disturbing pen of Karen D. Culley (The Green Book Chronicles)

Welcome To The Lilly and Kaleidoscope) comes a frightful tale of epic proportions, in the tradition of campfire stories, radio dramas, and spooky American legends (i.e., Legend of Sleepy Hollow) with a mix of suspense. Double Ax Max, the heroic spirit that avenges those in which justice has been tainted, returns to even the score. Max is pulled to the current day, 1960, to fight injustice, more than 100 years since he first avenged his Lena, who was sold away during slavery. Previously, the souls of the departed and enslaved assisted "runaways" in navigating the wild terrain to escape the slavecatchers, and now they assist those seeking justice. The Return of The Legend of Double Ax Max and the Shadow People will have audiences wondering about those sounds that go bump in the night and what kind of karma awaits evil-doers. For America, slavery was only the beginning. It created a debt that the Shadow People aim to help collect!!! . Now Max brings his axes to chip away at Jim Crow, hear it in the tradition of radio dramas in time past.

Here is Mr. Soul! August 24-25, 2023

Written By Laura A. Thomas

Directed By Reuben J. Tapp

Before Soul Train and the popularity of American Bandstand, there was what some have called America's first Black Tonight Show, SOUL!. SOUL! was a performance/variety television program that showcased African American music, dance, and literature in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Though it had estimated 65% of the African American community that had access to it watched and it aired on over 70 public broadcasting stations, SOUL! was taken off the air.

Laura A. Thomas (The Brownstone, The Circle, and A Safe Distance from Lov) brings the last moments of this viewing treasure to life in this stage play, Mr. SOUL!. Set in 1973, Mr. SOUL! provides a fictional account of the moments as the show "SOUL!" is in danger of being canceled. Though SOUL! had famous guests on its program, everybody that, was anybody from Earth, Wind, and Fire, Patti Labelle, Minister Louis Farrakhan, Jesse Jackson to Sidney Pointier, Steve Wonder, Gil Scott Heron, Kathleen Cleaver, and Nikki Giovanni, it was still constantly threatened to be put off the air.

An overzealous reporter plans to discover why but has other ideas on how SOUL! could remain on the air. When he threatens to break the story of the hosts' sexual orientation, tensions rise as the battle to save SOUL! It happens on two fronts. Based on the actual show, until the curtain, Mr. SOUL! will have you wondering how the tension will unfold and why the revolution will not be televised.

Blood at the Root August 26, 2023 @ 7:30 PM

Blood at the Root by Dominique Morisseau, Directed by Reenah Golden

A striking new ensemble drama based on the true story of Jena Six (2007); six Black students who were initially charged with attempted murder for a school fight after being provoked with nooses hanging from a tree on campus.

This bold new play by Dominique Morisseau (Sunset Baby, Detroit '67, Skeleton Crew) examines the miscarriage of justice, racial double standards, class, gender, and homophobia, as well as the crises in human and racial relations that contribute to the fragile state of education and Black family life. When a Black student disrupts the status quo at her high school by occupying space typically reserved for white students, her community erupts in hate speech, violence, chaos, and activism. Morisseau’s play scrutinizes the intrinsic links between justice, bias, and identity.

Moving, lyrical, and bold, Blood at the Root probes the complexities of race, individual freedoms, and what justice means when biases have been normalized.

The Sankofa Theatre Festival is an annual theatrical festival primarily of local: playwrights, actors, and directors that come together for one week of theatrical fun. Rochester has long had theatrical productions but has not always had theater festivals, especially that showcase African American playwrights. The Sankofa Theatre Festival is one such festival. 

Originally organized to provide opportunities for African American playwrights to mount their works, the festival has been in various venues, but has remained faithful to its initial calling.    

Initially, the festival was one of one-act plays; it has grown to three main stage plays for five performances. Though the format and content, to a degree, have expanded(other ethnicities are occasionally produced alongside African American plays) audiences can find comfort in viewing theatrical performances agreeing with the culture represented.  

This years featured plays include:  The Return of Double Ax Max: a radio play By Karen D. Culley Directed By Reuben J. Tapp  Mr. Soul! By Laura A. Thomas Directed By Reuben J. Tapp  Blood at the Root By Dominique Morisseau Directed By Reenah Golden

MMB is a project-oriented theatrical organization dedicated to developing original dramatic works by local playwrights, focusing on enhancing writing, directing, and acting skills. Annually, MMB Theatre 1 Project invites local playwrights to submit full-length and one-act plays for staging considerations. Once all entries and scripts are submitted, they are reviewed, and plays are selected.

Tickets

  • Aug 26 - 7:30 PM Blood...Root

    Blood at the Root By Dominique Morisseau Directed By Reenah Golden

    $20.00
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