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The Spotlight Reading Series will run March 15 – 17, 2023 from 6:30pm – 8:30pm at the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts, 915 E 60th Street. Optional pre-show Communal Activations begin at 5:30pm, doors open for seating at 6:00pm, and the readings begin at 6:30pm.
All events as part of this year’s Spotlight Reading Series are free and open to the public, and reservations are required.
Since 2016, Court’s Spotlight Reading Series aspires to redefine—and ultimately expand—the canon of classic theatre by presenting readings of rarely produced plays by authors of color. Originally curated by Ron OJ Parson as a series of readings throughout the year, this year’s Spotlight Reading Series is a three-day event celebrating playwright Sonia Sanchez. Each day will feature the reading of a play by Sonia Sanchez, a corresponding optional pre-show Communal Activation, and a post-show conversation. A list of past readings is available here.
This playlist speaks to the moods and themes of Sanchez’s works, and even features a poem reading by Sonia Sanchez herself. It is a great way to engage with Sanchez, the featured plays, and other artists inspired by, or in conversation with, Sonia Sanchez’s work. Give it a listen, and carry the Spotlight Reading Series with you.
The Spotlight Reading Series is sponsored by the Poetry Foundation, the Joyce Foundation, and Allstate.
Header image: Krista Franklin, Post No Bills (Fly, Robin, Fly), 2019. Pulped album covers with collage inclusions, library catalog card, deconstructed painting, and vintage magazine page in handmade paper. (Photo: LATITUDE)
Sister Son/Ji – March 15, 2023
A woman travels through time and space to tell the story of all the women she has had to be and is forever becoming. Drifting gracefully from scene to scene, she shares her labors, her joy, and her pain. She is longing for a strong and safe male presence to rely on in a world where the contributions of Black women, their tangible physical presence, and their needs are often rendered peripheral – if not entirely invisible. Even when the world can’t see her, Sister Son/Ji sees herself and, in telling her story, makes herself real.
Communal Activation: Sister Son/ji takes us through a journey of memories, using the items in her drawer as a conduit to access moments in the past. In this maker activity, explore the idea of memory using images and words to create a mini scrapbook page.
Materials will be provided onsite at the Spotlight Reading Series, though attendees are invited to bring printed images from their home collections as well. Take your scrapbook page home with you after the event, or leave it behind as a contribution to the Altar Call on the final evening of Spotlight (see the 2×2 Communal Activation to learn more). Attendees are invited to participate in this optional Communal Activation between 5:30pm – 6:30pm.
The Bronx is Next – March 16, 2023
In 1968, a nation on fire was set ablaze by the assassination of both Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Senator Robert F. Kennedy as the Vietnam war raged on. This is the backdrop for an unlikely encounter in Harlem nearby a tenement building soon to be evacuated. A white police officer, departing from the company of his Black mistress, is confronted by the neighborhood’s strong men, who invite him to take part in a game of improvisation where the tables are turned. When the motives of his mistress are interrogated by this street corner judge and jury, she sets the record straight.
Communal Activation: Erasure. Effacement. Revision. Redaction. Before attending a reading of The Bronx is Next, explore these related themes through the lens of blackout poetry. Choose one or more interconnected texts—reports, speeches, articles—and turn them into something new through redaction.
All materials will be provided onsite at the Spotlight Reading Series. Take your poem home with you after the event, or leave it behind as a contribution to the Altar Call on the final evening of Spotlight (see the 2×2 Communal Activation to learn more). Attendees are invited to participate in this optional Communal Activation between 5:30pm – 6:30pm.
2×2 – March 17, 2023
A widow, mother, and grandmother – Beverly Smith – holds on for dear life as she struggles to shield her grandchildren from their mother’s battle with drug addiction. Beverly and her daughter, Ramona, clash over generational and ideological rifts in a world where Black girls are unsafe and Black men die too soon. Ramona’s children, caught in between, adapt and survive as their mother wanes in her sobriety. The family’s matriarchs arrive at a tenuous peace once mother and daughter come to terms with how shame, disillusionment, and loss have irreversibly tarnished their once brilliant dreams.
Communal Activation: In 2×2, generational differences and family dynamics converge. Ancestry and inheritance take center stage as a mother and daughter profess their frailties and extend amends. For this Communal Activation, we invite you to partake in an Altar Call. Bring objects or mementos to honor an ancestor, an elder, or a womanist hero. You may also choose to compose a response to the question What needs forgiving?
Supplementary materials will be provided onsite at the Spotlight Reading Series, in addition to any items you choose to bring from home. Maker activities from the first two Spotlight activities may also be contributed to the altar. Take your Altar Call item home with you after the event, or leave it behind to make a lasting contribution. Attendees are invited to participate in this optional Communal Activation between 5:30pm – 6:30pm.