2012-2013 Fellows–The August Wilson Center is proud to include Nathan James, Bridgette Perdue, Marlana Vassar, Josh Wilder and Nikki Young in the 2012-13 Fellowship program. This week, learn about their current projects as they prepare for their First Voice Festival debut May 17 – 25.
“Wake Up And Dream”
May 17 | 8 pm | $10
Wake Up And Dream
If there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s that everyone dreams – and not just the sleepy story kind. I’m talking about the “idea-I-can’t-get-out-of-my-mind” type dream.
That persistent thought, that either makes you smile every time you think it, or grimace in frustration of the long journey ahead to accomplish it. That one thing that drives your days and keeps you up at night.
It’s time to Wake Up And Dream.
“Wake Up And Dream”, my project for the AWC First Voice Festival, is a world premier music concert. This high-energy show will have music, backup dancers, a full band, visual art, flame-throwing— okay, maybe not flame throwing, but it’s gonna be pretty exciting!
I created this dynamic show for one purpose: Inspiration. I wanted to produce something that inspires others to no longer sleep on their potential or allow circumstances to stop them from pursuing what they really want out of life.
In the beginning we set out with so much hope and courage, but then… life happens. Sometimes, if you’re like me, you get so caught up in the day-to-day, that you forget about your deepest passion. It’s time to remember. It’s time to wake up.
It has been my dream to sing and dance to my own music. It has been my dream to do a performance with a baby grand piano. It has been my dream to do what I love for a living. The August Wilson Center Fellows Program has been a dream come true. And it is my desire that after Wake Up And Dream on Friday May 17, you feel inspired to make your own dreams reality.
P.S. For inspiration and to stay updated on the Wake Up And Dream concert, find #WUAD2013 on Twitter. You can also visit my website at www.BridgettePerdue.com.
“Still” and “Township Safari”
May 18 | 8 pm | $10
Another black man is about to be born. In the safe warm crevice that is his womb, he is able to move freely, as he corresponds with his creator. The world which he once knew dries up before him as he is thrust out into the throngs of a different, colder world. Here, he will learn to fight against the raging winds of prejudice and misfortune before he ultimately learns that in order to find peace, he must be still. Using the body as the primary medium of storytelling, as well as personal narrative of director and performer, this performance examines issues of perception identity in contemporary society.
Luthando, a poor South African boy, signs up to be part of an international cultural awareness program called Township Safari. In order to provide for his sick mother and his education, he opens up his home and his life for the world to explore.
MARLANA ADELE VASSAR
May 17 | 7 pm | Free and open to the public
May 23 | 7 pm | Free and open to the public
My body of work was developed from observing various performances within the Cultural Trust. Using performance art as my source, I felt inspired to create visual narratives that focused on movement. During the process I concentrated on using all of the elements within the paintings to express movement not only through the figures, but also through color, shapes and design.
The one consistent element vibrating throughout the images and theme was that of call and response, I felt that a body of work deeply rooted in the African diaspora should, therefore, express that same dynamic within it.
Exhibition will be on display through August.
“Things Not Seen” staged reading and theatrical trailer premiere
May 24 | 8 pm | Free and open to the public
Nikki Young is writing a screenplay for a feature film called “Things Not Seen”. She will present a staged reading of the script along with a preview trailer.
“Things Not Seen” will be a suspenseful drama that revolves around one woman’s discovery of devastating secrets, intertwined with a larger exploration of societal issues facing the African American community.
The film will explore a number of issues such as: cycle of poverty and violence, systematic racism and lack of access, disproportionate incarceration rates and struggling inner city school systems. The goal is to develop a suspenseful storyline that explores these social issues by weaving them throughout a compelling character driven narrative.
Learn more about Nikkiyo Films online:
Watch Nikkiyo Films: vimeo.com/nikkiyofilms
May 25 | 8 pm | $10
As a kid growing up in Pittsburgh in the 1990’s, Nathan often found himself living in two completely different worlds. On one end, he grew up in a neighborhood heavily induced with poverty, drug activity, and gang violence. On the other end, he was fortunate enough to have parents who scraped together what little money they had to involve him in acting classes and conservatories to distract him from the allure of street life (in which most of his childhood friends fell into). This gave him a unique opportunity to gain a social education by becoming an observer of the two different ways of life (especially since he’s never been able to completely fit in to either environment because of his affiliation with the other). He wasn’t “Hood” enough” to be completely “Hood” because of his interest in the arts, yet he was too much of a product of his upbringing to be completely accepted among the “Privileged” in his acting classes. The reclusion from both worlds transitioned from childhood resentment to a sociological advantage in his artistic endeavors.
Through spoken word poetry, monologues, movement and multi-media imagery; Nathan James’ one-man show, Growing Pains, illuminates the voice of the true authentic culture of the Hip Hop generation. It takes a first-hand look at the births of the mentalities of urban African-American males, as opposed to the constant highlighting of stereotypical behaviors found in music videos, social media, and nightly news.
Growing Pains explores how we end up where we are in life based on our personal experiences. It examines the influence of media and upbringing over the way we view politics, beauty, each other, and most importantly ourselves. It taps into the part of the human spirit that enables us to empathize with one another as individuals, even if we can’t always relate to each other’s life experiences.