(NEW YORK, NY) -- Up-and-coming playwright Kendra Augustin’s new play Death in the Family is coming to lower Manhattan in a collaboration between theater pioneer Dixon Place and arts organization In Full Color from Thursday through Saturday, October 28-30, 2021. Death in the Family is a series of five tragicomic vignettes about grief, trauma and hope we move on -- if we ever do.
Actors B. Bastian, Duane Chivon Ferguson, Natasha Hakata and Alex Mooteelall each take on a wide range of roles to tell these families’ tales. From brothers struggling with the aftermath of their siblings’ fatal actions and sisters searching for hope to murderers looking for redemption, each character shines a light on one way we deal with loss.
Director Benjamin Ernest Abraham says each story in the show is made special by the dynamic of the duo it stars. “These actors have breathed life not only into themselves, but they have also energized the world by building relationships with one another,” he says. “I can’t wait for everyone to see the sometimes barbed, sometimes warm, sometimes solemn, but always glorious tête-à-tête that these wonderful artists have.”
Abraham also hopes Death in the Family helps audience members discover something about themselves. “I’ve tried to let the world of the play be a space where we can think. Where we as audience members can really contemplate and grapple with our own experiences with bodily and physical death and how it reshapes our life...But of course, that meditation is not always a solitary and downbeat experience. It can be delightful and bright too! Sometimes it’s good to find a way to laugh at a funeral; it reminds us that we are human.”
Death in the Family by Kendra Augustin runs Thursday through Saturday, October 28 to 30 at 7:30pm, with a 3:00pm matinee (including a post-show artist talkback) on October 30, at Dixon Place, 161A Chrystie St., Manhattan, NY (between Delancey and Rivington streets, accessible via J/Z train at Bowery, B/D at Grand Street and F at Second Avenue.) Tickets are $17 in advance, $20 at door. Students/seniors $15/$17. For more information, content warnings and tickets, visit DixonPlace.org.
In Full Color, a Jersey City-based organization, is excited to finally bring Augustin’s first full-length production to life, after COVID-19 nearly derailed the play’s development. Augustin, a Black woman playwright from Manhattan, is exactly the kind of voice In Full Color loves to amplify. The award-winning organization empowers women of color and other BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) of marginalized genders through education and the arts.
Augustin is interested to see how audiences will react. “I hope people enjoy it and that it makes them feel all sorts of wonderful and terrible things,” she says. “I hope they leave thinking about shame, guilt, and sadness and how it stunts, and I hope they consider opening up more to the people they care about.”
The playwright is thrilled to be showcased at Dixon Place, a venue she has long admired for their commitment to adventure and artistic achievement.
An artistic incubator since 1986, Dixon Place is a Bessie and Obie Award-winning non-profit institution committed to supporting the creative process by presenting original works of theatre, dance, music, puppetry, circus art and literature at all stages of development. This local haven inspires and encourages diverse artists of all stripes and callings to take risks, explore new ideas, and consummate new practices.
This Dixon Place production of Death in the Family is made possible, in part, with funds from the New York State Council on the Arts w/the support of the Office of the Governor & the NY State Legislature, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Howard Gilman Foundation, and the Shubert Foundation.