Saturday, September 29, 2012

On Q Productions' two-week run of Kiss My Black Angst concludes tonight at 8 p.m. at Johnson C. Smith University's The Arts Factory. I had the privilege of attending the second-to-last show last night.

Kiss My Black Angst, which is billed as "an evening of revolution dedicated to the Black Arts Movement," is comprised of two plays, directed by On Q's artistic director, Quentin "Q" Talley. Q is an amazing talent that Charlotte is fortunate to have (he was recently awarded a handsome grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation). Through productions such as this he's continuing to expand the presence of African-American arts and culture within the city's growing cultural scene.

Funnyhouse of a Negro performed last night.

The first of the two plays in tonight's finale is Funnyhouse of a Negro, written by Adrienne Kennedy, a key figure in the Black Arts Movement of the 1960s and '70s. The play runs about 55 minutes and chronicles the last hours in the life of Sarah, a young black woman who we witness experiencing terrible nightmares resulting from her race and identity issues--she's visited by several black spirits. The play is very dark, and at times, even creepy, but is well-performed by the cast of eight.

After a 10-minute intermission, the second play begins. Titled Dutchman and written by Amiri Baraka, another instrumental black playwright from the 1960s, this was my favorite of the two last night. It puts a twist on the Adam and Eve story--as you'll see from the presence of apples--but it takes place on a city subway and features a black leading man and white leading woman. Aside from a few people riding on the subway, they're the only characters in this 50-minute play. It's edgy, thought-provoking, sometimes funny and sometimes tragic, all the while examining race.

So, you can catch the final show tonight at 8 p.m. and purchase tickets ($24) by clicking here or at the door. It is also a good chance for you to experience the black box theater at JCSU's The Arts Factory (1545 W. Trade St.), which opened two years ago.

Also, before that, this afternoon On Q Productions is presenting a free panel discussion. "The Black Arts Movement: Present Condition - Future Vision" takes place at 3 p.m. today at Duke Energy Theater at Spirit Square (345 N. College St.). Distinguished leaders of the Black Arts Movement will explore the radicalism, relevance, and vision of this groundbreaking creative crusade from its emergence out of the 1960s Civil Rights Movement to current 21st century reality. The discussion will be moderated by John "Moe" Moore, and panelists include Amiri Baraka from Newark, NJ; Lou Bellamy, founder/artistic director of Penumbra Theatre Company from St. Paul, MN; and Joan Myers Brown, founder of Philadanco! - The Philadelphia Dance Company.

Visit for more details on these events.


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