The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
2700 F Street Northwest
Washington, DC 20566
By Chinaka Hodge
Chasing Mehserle is a performance piece mapping the city of Oakland’s changing demographics, morphing culture, gentrification, and the communal response to the real-life murder of Oscar Grant at the hands of police officer Johannes Mehserle on January 1, 2009.
This captivating performance piece examines race, class, gender, and privilege through the lens of a fictional character as he processes the real-life murder of Oscar Grant.
Written and Performed by Christopher Rivas
Directed by Daniel Banks
The Real James Bond Was Dominican is a true story, not the one you've read in books and seen in the movies, about Porfirio Rubirosa, Ian Fleming’s inspiration for Bond— and how this discovery set off a whole tragi-comic journey for a young, Dominican actor-to-be.
UMEZ Arts Engagement is a new grant program launched in December 2017 to enhance the diversity and frequency of arts and cultural presentations in Upper Manhattan. UMEZ Arts Engagement invites proposals from artists and arts organizations that are 1) based in Upper Manhattan and 2) presenting arts projects or programming in Upper Manhattan between July 1–December 31, 2018.
H-ARTS opens its doors for its first community open house of the season in the Hi-ARTS Performance Space at Artspace PS109 in partnership with Walker International Communications Group, Inc. on Wed, Jan 31, 6:30pm – 8:30pm.
ADA: ON STAGE is a live one-woman-performance depicting the life of a young woman on her way out of high school headed for the next step in her life. Thinking college will finally be her escape from a strict household and a dysfunctional family, some first time experiences as a freshman suddenly begin to hold her captive and frozen in the memory of her childhood, making it hard to adapt to a life away from everything she’s ever known. A mashup of theater, poetry and dance, ADA: On Stage is an evocative performance art experience that identifies oppressive and traumatic moments that unknowingly stick with young women as they grow as well as the ways in which a past without reflection is destined to reappear in a person’s life without warning.
Purchase tickets here
WET: A DACAmented Journey is the story of what it means to be an American in every sense of the word except for one: on paper. It chronicles the story of Anner Cividanis’ journey of living his whole life in the United States as an undocumented American.
This one woman show presents the story of Harriet Tubman reimagined as a young woman growing up in Harlem through a theatrical lens. Harriet Tubman is a heroine and American legend in her own right. This session will take the story of Harriet in the 19th century and places her in the 21st century; laced with the problems facing African-American youth all over the country. And especially focusing on the mistreatment of black girls in schools. What would happen if a young woman like Harriet became a leader in this new world? Would her struggle be the same? Would she know her power? This play examines the centuries old fight with race, gender, and equality through a theatrical lens centered around the most influential woman leaders in American history.
This work is supported by our CRITICAL BREAKS residency.
Come join the Hi-ARTS Family for an evening of beats, short performances, food, drink and raffle to celebrate another successful year of developing and presenting work that speaks to the importance of diverse voices and critical content.
By Chinaka Hodge
“The play examines our justice systems, our class systems and racial systems using this emblematic case study to reframe the treatment of people of color and younger generations not as targets, but as victims of these many broken systems.” – Intersections for the Arts
Bring the Beat Back is a queer, black, sci-fi music-theater experience, set in a funky, futuristic, groove-centered alternative reality. Inspired by Afrofuturism, house music and the underground ball scene, the show follows a young man struggling to reconcile his sexuality with his faith. Our hero journeys towards spiritual affirmation and self-discovery as conservative religious authorities and an ostentatious queer subculture clash over the music at the center of his world.
As the Day of the Dead approaches, Drug Cartel Queen LA NEGRA takes a ritualistic journey from child prostitute to Patron Saint of Mexican outcasts - Santa Muerte. Siete, her top drug pusher lover, a Gringo tourist painter, and hundreds of street children inhabit her world towards light and peace. The citizens of Tijuana, police officers and skull figures of the night force her to face her relentless darkness. These light and dark symbolic forces within her battle for the future of Mexico itself.
'TASHA, inspired by Sophocles' Antigone, is set in a modern republic where White Supremacy and Black Civil Disobedience, each, are at their height. The play centers on Natasha Brown, a fictional Sasha Obama. 'Tasha buries her cousin, defying the edict - 'no one shall bury a law-breaker who dies in the act of committing a crime.' The issuer is President Waters, a Trump-Clinton-like character. Will 'Tasha's death restore order or fuel injustice?
The Peculiar Patriot confronts the complex and critical issue of mass incarceration. With more than 2.5 million people behind bars, America is the world’s leading prison superpower. The Peculiar Patriot examines the human impact and inhuman machinery of the prison industrial complex and shines a glaring light on the racial disparities that feed the draconian system. The play follows protagonist Betsy LaQuanda Ross, a self-proclaimed peculiar patriot, as she makes regular visits to penitentiaries to boost the morale of her incarcerated friends and family, navigating love between barbed wire. As she shares neighborhood updates and gossip and reminisces about family, Betsy delivers a shrewd indictment of the criminal justice system in her own authentic and inimitable style, with a heavy dose of humor to boot.
The DC Hip-Hop Theater Festival (DC HHTF) celebrates its seventeenth year. The festival features some of the freshest work in theater and performance reflecting the breath of Hip-Hop and urban culture. By bringing together local and national artists, activists, and organic intellectuals the DC HHTF remains one of the premier spaces to see work that reflects and pushes the boundaries of theater, film, dance and education. For more information click here.
Dahlak Braithwaite's Try/Step/Trip is a timely and important piece in our CRITICAL BREAKS Residency Program. In this work, addiction, religion and the law intersect in a court-ordered drug rehabilitation program. An "anonymous" narrator re-imagines drug court in order to understand his place in what appears to be a rite of passage as a young Black male through the criminal justice system.
Hi-ARTS presents Barefoot Theatre Company's acclaimed bareNaked Reading Series (no sets, no props, just words).
Featuring the Barefoot Theatre Company Ensemble: Lynn Cohen, Erin Cherry, Czarina Mada, Bobby Rodriguez, Nino Shengelaia, Roderick Nash, Kathleen Littlefield and special guests, Dominique Fishback, Jody Christopherson and more!
As part of our CRITICAL BREAKS Residency Program Malik Yoba and Kevin Ramsey return to Hi-ARTS with their work Harlem to Hollywood. After a first run in April 2016, both artists will continue to develop their piece at Hi-ARTS. In Harlem to Hollywood Yoba plays himself in this one-man show about his life from the crime-ridden streets of New York City in the 1960s to the colorful lights of Hollywood, portraying through words and music the many characters, adventures and tales that have shaped his life. Please note: there is no public presentation scheduled for this residency.
La Paloma Prisoner is a multi-disciplinary play about the reclamation of identity by incarcerated women in the Colombian prison system. This new play centers on an incarcerated killer nicknamed “La Paloma” who transcendentally soars beyond physical and societal barriers to avenge the raped women of Bogota, leading the public to believe La Paloma may have magical avenger abilities. Based on the true story of a group of female inmates selected every year as beauty queen contestants at the Buen Pastor prison in Bogota, this new play interweaves the ritualistic journey of a “parade of prisoners” with Colombia’s social, political, and spiritual history. Claiming this newfound power, the women redefine beauty, their own humanity, and their identity as criminals. La Paloma Prisoner revolutionizes not only the women’s lives, but prison society and the world beyond its walls. Unlocking Female Incarceration panel discussion to follow performance. This work is supported by our CRITICAL BREAKS Residency. * Please note - The work contains adult language and subject matter that may not be suitable for young audiences.