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Everything Broad Ripple HomearrowRandom Ripplings Homearrow2021 09 30arrowPublic Notice

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Five powerful Black dramas set the stage for OnyxFest 2021 productions October 7th through October 16th
posted: Sept. 30, 2021

Five original, never-produced, one-act plays - all by local Black playwrights - will premier in Central Indiana during OnyxFest 2021 which begins next week, according to the sponsoring Africana Repertory Theater of IUPUI. (A.R.T.I.). Productions will be held October 7-10 at the District and Basile at Indy Fringe Theatres.
Then all five shows will shift to the stage of the IUPUI Campus Center Theater October 14 - 16. Tickets are $15 and are on sale at and This year's line-up of plays for the state's first and only Black theater festival is as follows:
• "1200 MILES FROM JEROME" written by Crystal V. Rhodes and directed by Deborah sante. The perilous journey of a 1940's family driving a teenage Japanese internment camp fugitive from Arkansas to New York.
• "FLY BLACKBIRD FLY/ VOICES WE CAN'T UNHEAR" written and directed by Latrice P. Young. A "choreopoem" recounting traumatic experience of several Black women at their breaking point.
• "THAT DAY IN FEBRUARY" written by Janice P. Neal and directed by Dena Toler. What happens when adult siblings frozen by childhood trauma are forced to confront their past?
• 'THIS BITTER CUP" written and directed by Charla Booth. This is the story of a southern Black family in the 1950's vying to find balance in their lives as they struggle for peace.
• "RANSOM PLACE" written by Jameel Amir Martin and directed by Shandrea Funnye. A pair of unlikely companions hold on to what is precious to them as they contend with life-changing forces.
"The timely, relevant, and compelling stories conveyed in these dynamic stage productions provide the quintessential combination of quality writing, imaginative direction, brilliant acting and purposeful messages," says OnyxFest Director Vernon A. Williams, who is also a member of A.R.T.I.
Established in 2011, OnyxFest is striving to become, in the words of famed playwright August Wilson, a festival that "informs its viewers of the human condition and its power to heal." IndyFringe developed OnyxFest to counter the lack of diversity both on stage and in audiences of Indianapolis theatre. The annual festival is a vehicle to expose theatergoers to new and emerging Black playwrights.
OnyxFest 2021 is made possible through major funding provided by the Central Indiana Community Foundation and the Indiana University Office of the Vice President for Research.
The Africana Repertory Theatre of IUPUI (A.R.T.I.) leverages the creative and communal power of the arts as a tool for fostering community, youth empowerment, and positive social transformation through community-engaged outreach that includes theatrical productions, educational programs, university teaching and arts-based research. A.R.T.I. seeks to connect people to the cultural and artistic traditions of the Africana Diaspora.

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