Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

Lia Chang: Reading of Camille Darby’s Lords Resistance Stars Tonya Pinkins, Billy Eugene Jones, Tocarra Cash and Matthew Murumba at The Red Room on January 18

Playwright Camille Darby © Lia Chang

Playwright Camille Darby © Lia Chang

On Wednesday, January 18, 2012, the Horse Trade Theatre Group’s THE FIRE THIS TIME FESTIVAL will present a staged reading of Lords Resistance, by award-winning playwright Camille Darby, starring Tony Award winner Tonya Pinkins (Caroline, or Change; “All My Children”), Billy Eugene Jones (Passing Strange; Radio Golf), Matthew Murumba (Kofi, Law and Order), and 2007 Princess Grace Award Recipient Toccarra Cash (Bonfire Night, The Roxy’s and Bleu; Shoppin’), in The Red Room, 85 E. 4th Street (between 2nd Avenue & Bowery) in New York at 8pm. Admission is free. Christopher Burris directs.

Last year, Ms. Darby’s play, Exodus was featured in THE FIRE THIS TIME FESTIVAL 2011, an alternative showcase that supports early-career playwrights of African descent to explore new voices, styles and challenging new directions for contemporary theatre. Ms. Darby is the recipient of the 2008 Bronx Recognizes Its Own (BRIO) playwriting prize from the Bronx Council on the Arts for Lords Resistance, which is among 6 full length plays to have staged readings this season.

In Lords Resistance, all is right for the Whitakers, or so it appears. When their adopted teenage son, and former child solider Okello arrives, this family reveals that they are much less than perfect. Both a victim and perpetrator of Uganda’s civil unrest which spans over two decades, Okello finally gets the opportunity to replace the terrifying memories of his past with new beginnings in an upper class suburb outside of Chicago. But it isn’t long before the Whitakers witness the chilling effects of the war that haunts Okello. Michelle Whitaker, an eager freshman at Northwestern, hoping to connect and redefine herself through her new brother, probes him with questions he refuses to answer. While he does everything to rid himself of his past, Okello is in the midst of yet another war within the Whitaker household—a war fought silently between husband Harvey, and wife Pauline. Losing the ability to conceive her own child, a determined Pauline does everything to make Okello her own, even at the expense of her marriage. A questionable relationship between mother and son develops leaving the family divided in a way that could leave permanent damage for everyone.

WHERE: The Red Room
85 E. 4th Street (between 2nd Avenue & Bowery)
WHEN: Wednesday, January 18, 2012
Email with your name and performance date (January 18th) to reserve your space as seating is limited.

For more details on the other great plays featured in the festival, please click here.

Camille Darby, a 2011 finalist for the Van Lier Fellowship program at The Lark Play Development Center, was born in Jamaica, West Indies, but migrated to New York City with her family at 6 years old. Her constant attempts at adjusting to American culture—she soon discovered—were best manifested through her writing. It was her first play Mother, May I? written as a high school student during the Theatre Development Fund’s Residency Arts Program that drew the attention of acclaimed playwright, Wendy Wasserstein. With the guidance and encouragement of Ms. Wasserstein, the budding playwright continued to study theatre, literature and film at Sarah Lawrence College where she received her B.A. in 2005. Ms. Darby holds an M.F.A (2007) in Dramatic Writing from New York University’s, Tisch School of the Arts, and during that time, has had readings at The Public Theatre. Camille Plays.

Other articles by Lia Chang
Camille Darby’s Lord’s Resistance
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Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

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Lia Chang Photo by Brianne Michelle Photography

Lia Chang Photo by Brianne Michelle Photography

Lia Chang is an actor, performance and fine art botanical photographer, and an award-winning multimedia journalist.

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