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“Ancestors”

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Freeman, Nathan Ross (African-American playwright, dramaturg, March 17, 1950-____), “Ancestors,” a one-woman 75-minute comedy-drama in English, set in the living quarters of any place where the world no longer wants or can go outside, when the future is now,

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© 1997 by Nathan Ross Freeman;  •  script/rights available from Nathan Ross Freeman, PMB 299, 353 Jonestown Road, Winston-Salem, North Carolina 27104, U.S.A., telephone (home) 336-777-0648, (work) 336-777-0648, fax 240-269-6531, e-mail nfreeman@msn.com.   •  Cited by Nathan Ross Freeman, via ftp December 17, 1998, and August 31, 1999; Freeman says,

  §  Dramatis Personae (all played by one actress) Shamina LaTanisha Washington (f), a citizen; Lucy (f), __________; Sangoma (f),  __________; Queen God Ifa (f), __________; Slave Woman (f), __________; Uncle Tom (m), __________;  Enchantress (f), __________; Bluesman (m), __________; Krinishia (f), __________.

  §  Synopsis “Shamina cries out for a reference point beyond witty chat room talk and disjointed family roots.  In her howling of the question, “Why? . . . ,” she conjures voices embodied in a cadre of nine characters, ancestors all who come to explore with her the wonders of self-love, family, roots, struggle, transcendence, the awe of life and an eternity of being lovingly, frighteningly human.

  §  Comment “Why have the ancestors stopped talking with us? Throughout the poignant, painful and hilarious performance, the Roslyn Fox (in the staging directed by the playwright) transforms into nine ancestors, from the primitive prehistory of the bush, the healing touch of Africa and the frightening touch of Haiti, to the deadening pain of slavery and the painful death of big city pleasures, full circle to the primitive now of urban enclaves. Heritage is the child of tomorrow. I want a porch, a rocking-chair creakin’ lost wisdom. The play is continuous, and scenes can be interpreted as changes in characters: ten. There are no scene changes. There is only one prop, a rocking chair. The actor must be adept in the rudiments of movement and mime, but most of all, this play celebrates the opportunity for character acting at its richest and layered best. The play, though with ethnic characters, heralds a universal theme. There is no reference to the challenges of race. This play is about personae challenged by the logical conclusions of our trek with technology and how we are challenged in the ‘self.’ It is hilarious, and heart wrenching for anyone who frequents a chatroom or conducts online banking , for anyone who misses dirt roads or homemade soup, for anyone who is afraid to walk in the dark, and for anyone who has ever spent time on a porch or played outside from dawn. Ancestors, as well, explores the actor’s craft in a way that stretches the actor’s repertoire and exhilarates an audience.”  •  ‘Ancestors’ is still available for premiere and subsidiary rights.  •  Staged readings awarded: [1] Old Salem Museum ‘Cross the Creek,’ Winston-Salem, North Carolina, 1997. [2] 1998, NuYoRican Cafe, New York City; [3] 1998, Sister’s Space and Books, 1354 U Street NW, Washington, District of Columbia, U.S.A., telephone 202 332-3433; [4] 1998, Reynolda House, Museum of American Art, P. O. Box 11765, Winston-Salem, North Carolina 27116, U.S.A., telephone 336-725-5325, fax 336-721-0991, reynolda@reynoldahouse.org.  •  Showcased at [5] 1999, Greensboro Artists League, Greensboro, North Carolina, and [6] 1999, Montage Showcase Ensemble, North Carolina.  •   Awarded the 1997 North Carolina Arts Council Playwrights Fellowship for ‘Hannah Elias,’ Founder of Montage Showcase Ensemble, Nathan Ross Freeman, a script writer, is also a director, teacher of professional acting. Currently a teacher of Playwriting at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and a Member of the North Carolina Humanities Speakers Bureau. He is the Co-Founder of Reynolda House Readers Theatre. Mr. Freeman is a native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A., a graduate of St. Joseph’s University in 1972. In 1989 Mr. Freeman founded Montage Showcase Ensemble. He is the Co-Founder of Reynolda House Readers Theatre. Mr. Freeman was the first Resident Playwright/Literary Manager of The North Carolina Black Repertory Company. In 1991 Mr. Freeman was commissioned as a Guest Teacher for Drama and Movement at the North Carolina School for the Performing Arts. Recently his play The Contract was featured at the 1998 National black Arts Festival in Atlanta, and his One Woman Play, ‘Ancestors,’ starring Winston-Salem born, New York City actress, Roz Fox, toured Washington, D.C., and was featured at the Nuyorican Café, in New York City, in August. March 4, 1995, Mr. Freeman was presented the Winston-Salem Chronicle Curator of the Arts Award. Other professional productions of Nathan Ross Freeman’s include: The Contract, Off-Off Broadway at Tribeca Theatre, New York City, its Southern Premiere at The NC Black Repertory Company, American Theatre Project, Washington, DC; Virgins, American Theatre Project, Washington, DC; Getting Further, the First Annual Genesis Festival at Crossroads Theatre, New Jersey; Sin of Life at Thalian Hall, Wilmington, North Carolina, U.S.A.; Grievin’ in de Mornin', Best Play of the International Black Writer’s Conference, Charlotte, North Carolina, U.S.A.; Evening Sunrise, Soho Repertory Company, and Black Theatre Alliance, New York City; Joshua & Hazel, Zero, at Bushfire Theatre Company, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A., co-founded by Mr. Freeman in 1974 and still flourishing. Mr. Freeman’s newest and most prolific work, Hannah Elias, commissioned by Johnnie ‘Blue’ Gardner, had its world premiere at Winston-Salem State University, North Carolina, U.S.A., October, 1998.  Screen Plays include: Hannah Elias, The Contract, What’s Goin’ On, Liquor House Blues, What Is A One (treatment), Justice Denied: the Story of Joyce Ann Brown (commissioned: in-progress): 60 Minute Emmy Award story on innocent woman nine years imprisoned, Dallas; Three D’s (commissioned: in-progress: Debra Terry, Def Comedy Jam circuit Producer), fiction about reunion of three friends).  §  Themes Africa, awe, family, Haiti, humanity, inner city, Internet, race, roots, self-love, slavery, struggle, transcendence.
 
 

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Page mounted March 29, 1999, and updated August 31, November 24, December 10, 1999, by the site Webmaster.
 
 

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