From August 9-15, Grits Entertainment, LLC and The Sheen Center for Thought and Culture will present Angela Polite‘s play Mary Speaks for online streaming.
The solo show draws a powerful parallel between George Floyd’s death and the death of other black men to that of the crucified Christ. When theaters shut down last year, Polite reconceived the show into a 50-minute version with two original songs and envisioned a “virtual tour” that could reach cities and communities all over the country. The engagement with The Sheen Center marks the launch of the tour.
“Mary Speaks takes the life of Mary, the mother of Jesus, and uses it to explore the history of black mothers and the loss of their sons,” Polite says. “Mother Mary becomes a prototype for the struggle of black mothers to raise and keep their sons alive in a society where their very existence is seen as a threat. Black mothers have experienced that ‘foot of the cross’ moment throughout history. It is time to recognize the struggle and pain that comes with raising a black son in America.”
Polite presents Mary as a metaphor and seeks to re-imagine her as a real person at different moments in history when mothers face loss. “I play her as an African-American woman,” Polite says. “This is the story of Mary told through the African-American experience, coming out of slavery, into the lynching years, the fifties, the sixties, and into the present day. We see Mary as these different women throughout the timeline of the African-American experience.”
Ms. Polite’s credits include A Christmas Carol in Harlem, Emancipation (Classical Theatre of Harlem), Can You Hear Me Baby? (Berkshire Theater Festival), Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (The Kennedy Center), TV: GOTHAM, FBI, Blue Bloods.
Additional members of the creative team are Christopher Burris (director), Jeff Bolding (music direction, arrangements), Hans Charles (director of photography), Sabrina Bianca Guillaume (set and costume design), Carolina Ortiz (lighting design), Tiffany Rea-Fisher (movement coach), Erica Blunt (sound design), Francisco Aliwalas (editor), and Ada Zhang (stage manager). The production was filmed at The Sheen Center for Thought and Culture.
The filmed version of Mary Speaks is produced by Michael and Whit Cook, David and Anita Massengill, Brad Reeves, and MORE Partnerships, with Executive Producers Grits Entertainment, LLC and Julia Beardsley O’Brien.
For more information about Mary Speaks, please visit https://gritsentertainment.com/mary-speaks-virtual. Mary Speaks, written and performed by Angela Polite. Available to stream August 9-15. Tickets: $21 Purchase here: watch.eventive.org/maryspeaks.