Pegasus Theatre MUSE 2017 FEMMES NOIRES DE LA RESISTANCE Review- Activism and Art

Pegasus Theatre Presents Muse 2017

As part of the Muse 2017 Festival at Pegasus Theatre, FEMMES NOIRES DE LA RESISTANCE celebrates women of color who work in arts and entertainment, presenting pieces created by, performed by, and celebrating women of color.

Host Melissa DuPrey stands center stage welcoming the lively audience to the kick off of the festival, reminding us that women of color experience more sexual violence than any other demographic.

Speaking to Personal Experiences

We then see two crowns‑ the only things on a darkened stage. As the lights come on, two actors each pick one up before addressing the audience, Melanie McCullough and Tamarus Harvell playinh the roles of mother and father, respectively.

This is ODE TO YOUNG ROYALTY written by Loy Web.

The two speak in unison as they direct their message to the beloved black youth, asking . “How can we change the world?”

With this question firmly planted in our minds, the stage took a sharp turn to anger.

The true story of a cop who preyed upon black women

“She’s Lying, they’re making it up” says a policeman who defends himself against 36 sexual assault charges

“All 36 of them?” asks the detective investigating him. He doesn’t answer.

These biting contrasts between  the accounts of sexual assault victims of color and cops were conveyed by dialogue taken entirely from courtroom.

Two worlds are laid bare- one is the “All American Boy” as the cop’s defense is summarized, juxtaposed to a grandmother who was one of the victims.

When the grandmother says, “He Picked the Wrong Woman That Day” we quake with emotion at the power of her words

Tasia Jones

Stunning Solo Performance

The last piece was a solo performance about growing up as a young black woman and the everyday struggles she faced fitting into a white world.  She is at a party where her white friends are talking about hair, traveling, and their perceived struggles.  Her childhood memories though are about the racism she faced everyday  

For this writer, who has always known white privilege, the showcase was a wonderful way to learn more about other’s experiences while also enjoying some original theatre.

Between each performance, Duprey asked the creators of each work which activist has inspired them most. It’s then that we realize how much the towering legends of Maya Angelou, Malcolm X, James Baldwin and more had shaped the moving presentations we had just witnessed. These were moving testimonies by these writers as to who inspired them to merge art and activism together.                      

MUSE 2017 FEMMES NOIRES DE LA RESISTANCE is a top pick for people interested in the way art and activism fit together or for anyone interested in seeing social issues presented artfully on stage. This is not a good fit for fans expecting a more traditional theatre show or looking to sit back and relax for a night.

RECOMMENDED

When:

July 13-23, 2017

Where:

Chicago Dramatists
773 N. Aberdeen
Chicago, IL

Tickets:

$10 per performance and can also purchase festival passes

 

Photos courtesy of Pegasus Theatre Chicago.

 

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