The Kent County Arts Council (KCAC) is producing a monumental project nearly a year in the making, inspired by the famous Great Migration Series, painted by Harlem Renaissance artist Jacob Lawrence. The Series includes 60 panels of scenes from the Great Migration of African Americans from the “Jim Crow” South to the Industrial North. The Lawrence works hang in both the Philips Collection in Washington DC (odd numbers Panels 1- 59) and at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City (even numbered panels 2-60).
The project idea came when KCAC Director John Schratwieser talked with friend and colleague Norman Allen (Playwright, The Christmas Foundling, Produced at the Prince Theater in 2008.). Mr. Allen was selected by Jacqueline E. Lawton, Professor of Theater at University of North Carolina Chapel Hill to join her as one of five playwrights commissioned by the Philips Collection to create five new ten-minute plays, each based on one of the Lawrence panels. Ms. Lawton immediately agreed to work with the KCAC to produce the plays right here in Kent County. The plays will be presented as rehearsed readings. They have been cast locally and will be directed by Michele Volansky, Chair, Department of Theater and Dance at Washington College. The playwrights, from across the country, are Norman Allen, Tearrance Arvelle Chisholm, Annalisa Diaz, Jacqueline E. Lawton, and Laura Shamas.
On November 1 – 4 at the Garfield Center for the Arts, the plays will be featured as act two of a three-part evening. The evening begins with Act 1 at 6 p.m. at Chestertown RiverArts where the student artwork, based on their trip to the Phillips Collection, will be on display. Act 2 begins at 7 p..m. at the Garfield. After a short intermission, Act 3 is a scaled version of the locally written and produced Migration story – Red Devil Moon, by Robert Earl Price and Pam Ortiz, featuring the Pam Ortiz Band and Sombarkin. What an evening it will be! This three-part program will occur November 1, 2 and 3 beginning at 6 p.m. at RiverArts and 7 p.m. at the Garfield, and again on Sunday, November 4 at 2 p.m. at RiverArts and 3 p.m. at the Garfield. Sunday’s performance will be followed by a “talk-back” featuring the Director, the five Playwrights, and the creators of Red Devil Moon.
Photo: Guest Artist Producer, Jacqueline Lawton (Top Left), Director Michele Volansky (Top Right) and Playwrights, L-R, Annalisa Dias, Laura Shamas, Norman Allen, Tearrance Arvelle, Chisholm.
On September 25, the KCAC took nearly 40 students from Kent County High School, and all five of the Kent County Public Schools visual art teachers to the Philips Collection in DC for a tour of the museum, with a specific focus of the Migration Series panels, and they all had a chance to meet with Ms. Lawton and hear about her process for creating this celebration of art through theater.
On October 25, the Garfield will present a free daytime production of Red Devil Moon to a theatre full of students from all over Kent County including Kent County Middle and High Schools, Radcliffe Creek School and the Kent School.
The Kent County Arts Council is pleased to work so closely with the Kent County Public Schools and is also very grateful for this opportunity to partner directly with RiverArts and the Garfield. This project would not have been possible without the support of the Maryland State Arts Council, The Indian Point Foundation and the Hedgelawn Foundation.
Thursday November 1, 6 p.m. at RiverArts, 7 p.m. at Garfield
Friday November 2, 6 p.m. at RiverArts, 7 p.m. at Garfield
Saturday November 3, 6 p.m. at RiverArts, 7 p.m. at Garfield
Sunday November 4, 2 p.m. at RiverArts, 7 p.m. at Garfield
Tickets are $10 for adults. Free (with reservation required) for Students.
Call The Garfield at 410-810-2060 or visit www.GarfieldCenter.org