TERRA FIRMA, Written by Barbara Hammond, Selected for Baruch College’s 2019/2020 Season

Baruch Performing Arts Center at Baruch College announces its 2019-20 Season of music, theatre, dance, opera and more, a season spanning genres and cultural influences, rich in imagination and ideas.

Terra Firma *World Premiere*

September 27 – November 10, 2019

Co-presented with The COOP

In a not-so-distant Beckettian future, years after The Big War, a tiny kingdom wrestles with the problems of running a nation, sparring with the concepts of what makes a citizen, a country and a civilization. The play is inspired by real life events: In the 1960’s a retired army major in the United Kingdom claimed an abandoned aircraft platform in international waters off the coast of Essex as a sovereign nation, planted his flag, declared his wife Princess and their motto E Mare Libertas! ‘From the Sea, Freedom!” Written by award winning New Dramatist resident Barbara Hammond, and directed by Shana Cooper (Princess Grace Award), Terra Firma was originally commissioned by The Royal Court, Britain’s premier company for cultivating new plays. The COOP is a new company founded by established New York artists Andrus Nichols (Bedlam’s Saint Joan, Sense & Sensibility; “I’m beginning to think she can do anything.” – Ben Brantley, The New York Times) and Kate Hamill(Playwright of the Year -2017 – The Wall Street Journal, author of Sense & Sensibility, Vanity Fair, Little Women).

Read the full announcement from Broadway World here.

Jay-Z and Kanye set the tone in premiere of ‘Les Deux Noirs’ at Mosaic Theater


James J. Johnson, left, as Richard Wright, and Jeremy Hunter as James Baldwin in Psalmayene 24’s “Les Deux Noirs: Notes on Notes of a Native Son,” at Mosaic Theater Company. (Stan Barouh)

The Richard Wright-James Baldwin showdown “Les Deux Noirs” briefly becomes “Les Quatre” in the frisky, flippant new show at Mosaic Theater. Wright takes on a Jay-Z persona and Baldwin is Kanye West as the Jay-Z/Kanye West song “Niggas in Paris” gets the music video treatment, complete with choreography and projections. No telling where playwright Psalmayene 24 might swerve after that irreverent, heady start to his 70-minute power play between mid-20th-century titans of black American culture.

You can’t say Psalmayene 24 is jumping on the hip-hop bandwagon of “Hamilton”; he’s been doing this for at least 20 years, since he performed his “The Hip-Hop Nightmares of Jujube Brown” at Arena Stage. The new drama’s full title is “Les Deux Noirs: Notes on Notes of a Native Son,” and it’s based on a 1953 meeting in Paris between Wright and Baldwin. The beef was the upstart Baldwin’s critique of Wright’s 1940 novel, “Native Son,” a groundbreaking book that’s still troubling in its representation of Bigger Thomas’s violent reaction to an oppressive society.


The show is a fantasia that isn’t entirely sure of itself yet. Sexuality rears its head — Baldwin was gay, Wright married two white women — and in that complicated key, RJ Pavel and Musa Gurnis are terrific as the solicitous maitre d’ and waitress (both white) with creamy French accents and lusty eyes. The chats and the action never feel remote — lessons on the n-word, a great joke about reparations — even if the show is still seeking the thread that will pull it all tight.

Les Deux Noirs: Notes on Notes of a Native Son, by Psalmayene 24. Directed by Raymond O. Caldwell. Set, Ethan Sinnott; lights, William K. D’Eugenio; costumes, Amy MacDonald; projections, Brandi Martin; sound, Nick Hernandez; choreography, Tiffany Quinn. About 70 minutes. Through April 27 at the Atlas Performing Arts Center, 1333 H St. NE. $20-$65. 202-399-7993. mosaictheater.org.

Read the full review by Nelson Pressley of the Washington Post here.

THE LAKE AND THE MILL By EllaRose Chary Chosen By Great Plains Theatre Conference As Part of Their 2019 PlayLab Conference

Daily PlayLab readings are the foundation of the Great Plains Theatre Conference.  Twenty PlayLabs are held throughout the Conference week with two staged readings running simultaneously. Playwrights receive feedback on their work from a panel of GPTC Guest Artists, as well as other local and national theatre artists and the general public.

THE LAKE AND THE MILL is one of the 20 plays chosen out of 800 submitted.

See the full list of plays here.