On Sunday night, July 24th, we performed our first full PREVIEW of BLACK N BLUE BOYS/BROKEN MEN for an invited audience of Child Advocates, Abuse Counselors and Social Service Workers from Davie, Rowan and Davidson Counties. In attendance were Brandi Reagan and several of her colleagues from The Dragonfly House in Mocksville. The Dragonfly House is a non-profit agency whose purpose is to protect and advocate for children who are placed in the social services system. The Dragonfly House partners with Law Enforcement, Domestic Violence and Social Services Agencies and School Systems in Davie, Davidson, Yadkin and Rowan Counties. Also in attendance was Miranda Gartner and her colleagues from the Davidson County Social Services Department. Offering additional support were Rev. Jim Rissmiller and Rev. Karen Jackson from Faith Presbyterian, and Lois Bazhaw from the New Arrivals Institute, a non-profit in Greensboro that helps newly arriving refugees transition towards a healthy, safe and productive social existence in the Greensboro community. The lovely and amazing Betty Rissmiller provided a fantastic meal for everyone. This audience was OVERWHELMINGLY THRILLED with this play. We spent an hour after the performance discussing all the ways that BLACK N BLUE BOYS/BROKEN MEN can and SHOULD serve the public good. This audience sincerely believes that the realities of child abuse and domestic violence detrimentally exist in shadows and whispers, and that the only way to fight against repeated abuse and childhood trauma resulting in repeat offenders of violence is to bring the realities of abuse to the surface of our public discourse. Ideas surfaced about performing BLACK N BLUE BOYS/BROKEN MEN at a conference for counselors dealing with addiction, domestic violence and/or child abuse. Performing for men in prison. For teens on probation. For social service students and trainees. For Police Officers on the street and graduating the Police Academy. For school teachers and parents. For the general public.
Why? Because Dael Orlandersmith, playwright and creator of BLACK N BLUE BOYS/BROKEN MEN, is uncompromising in creating these stories. The Chicago Tribute critic, Chris Jones, begins his review in this manner. “It is hard to immediately think of a theater piece as tough to watch as Dael Orlandersmith's new solo show "Black n Blue Boys/Broken Men," a relentlessly intense and deeply disturbing charting of the broad swath cut when adults abuse young men, whether they do so physically, sexually or through sheer, selfish neglect.” Read the rest of the review here. Dael performed all 6 men herself. We are performing the play with 2 actresses, each playing 3 men. We performed a portion of the play in February at the inaugural Ruby Slippers Festival. That audience told us that the play is hard to watch, but incredibly important and impossible to look away from. At our first run-thru rehearsal, we invited John Gulley, Director of the MFA Directing Program at UNCG. (We are brazen women, aren’t we?) John told us that the play is emotionally relentless – constantly taking you down difficult paths with each character. Very emotionally and psychologically difficult for the audience. With our amazing director, Michael Kamtman, we are working on ways to take care of our audiences.
We will perform BLACK N BLUE BOYS/BROKEN MEN throughout 2017 and beyond, if called upon to do so. We will be integrating the artistic photography work of Miranda Gartner, who has been working on a series of images reflecting the realities of child abuse, involving kids in the social services system.
The play is available NOW. We use no lighting. We need no scenery. Only a chair.
But what we DO need is Financial Support. Community Support. Partnerships and Performance Opportunities. The Go! Campaign will fund FIVE performances of this play, which will be available to Colleges, City/County Governments and Parks & Recreation Divisions, the Department of Corrections, Law Enforcement Agencies, Civic Groups, Social Services Departments, Mental Health Organizations, AA Groups, NA Groups and anyone else.
CLICK HERE to learn more about Black N' Blue Boys/Broken Men!