|Sunkari Clifford Sykes as Janitor at the Matrix|
Mainstage Season Preview Party, 8/25/13
JANITOR: Trouble in mind.
But I won't be blue always.
Cuz the sun's gonna shine
In my back door someday.
(To audience.) Hear that? Silence. Beautiful silence, pure silence. The kind of silence that only comes from spending years in the back woods. We ain't in the back woods (though I'm thinking 'bout retirin' there). It's 8:04 A.M. - five minutes before the start of the day. And, we on the second floor of Malcom X High School in the Bronx, USA. Right over there is my janitor's closet, just right of the girls' bathroom where the smell of makeup, hair pomade and gossip fills the air in the morning light.
Now, you might say to me, "Jackson Baron Copeford the Third. Boy, what you doin' up dere on dat stage? You ain't no actor." That I know and neither are these kids you about to meet. (He clears his throat.) What you about to see is a story about a play within a play within a play. And a teacher (or as she likes to call herself - a teaching artist - just so as people know she do somethin' else on her free time). The kids call her Ms. Sun and in two minutes from now she gonna walk up them stairs towards the janitor's room and stop right at Ms. Tam's class. She gonna be something they done never seen before. Now I know what you're thinking: "Oh, Baron. I know about the public schools. I watch Eyewitness News." What I got to say to that? HUSH! You don't know unless you been in the schools on a day-to-day basis. HUSH! You don't know unless you been a teacher, administrator, student, or custodial staff. HUSH! Cuz you could learn a little sometin'. Here's lesson number one: Taking the 6 train, in eighteen minutes, you can go from Fifty-ninth Street, one of the richest congressional districts in the nation, all the way up to Brook Ave. in the Bronx, where Malcom X High is, the poorest congressional district in the nation. In only eighteen minutes. HUSH!
That is an excerpt from the opening monologue of No Child... by Nilaja Sun - our first production of the 2013-2014 Mainstage Season. Sunkari (pictured above) is one of TWO actors in the show. He plays the janitor. Morgan Breon is the other cast member. She plays the other FIFTEEN characters. We got a little taste of the brilliance of both of them at the preview party about a week ago, and I gotta tell you - even if I had no interest whatsoever in live theatre, the state of our public school system, or arts-infused education, I would STILL consider this an amazing performance. The ease with which Morgan flows from character to character to character - all of varying ages and ethnicities - is completely unbelievable and absolutely worth the price of admission.
I'm pretty excited about the design elements of this production, too - especially the set! Here's the rendering that Scenic Designer Adam Crinson provided us with at the last production meeting:
Pretty cool, right? I think it'll look FANTASTIC in our space! In other news, we got the season brochure out at the end of last week, so, if you're on our mailing list, you should be receiving it soon! (And if you're not on our mailing list but would like to be, send an email to email@example.com letting Molly know that you'd like to join it!) In it, you'll see some information about our new Season Ticket program we're offering, so if the season selections interest you, give us a call and we'll set you up with a great discount for tickets to all of the shows. I also picked up the No Child... postcards this morning, so check your mailboxes for those at the beginning of next week - we'll be dropping them off all around town, too, so keep your eyes peeled! We're getting down to crunch time on sponsorship and ad sales, too - if you or anyone you know is interested is purchasing an ad (at drop-dead-AWESOME rates!!!), you can contact Molly McMahon at 313-967-0999, ext. 7 for information. Trust me - it is definitely #worthit. And just in case you thought we weren't working hard enough around here, I just flagged about a dozen plays to read for next season's selection process. It never ends around here, and I LOVE IT. Have a great day, everybody! ~ Megan