NATIVE SON

By Nambi E. Kelley | Directed by Psalmayene 24 | Based on the Novel by Richard Wright
Featuring Clayton Pelham Jr. (as Bigger Thomas) with Lolita Marie, Melissa Flaim, 
Drew Kopas, Vaughn Midder, Tendo Nsubuga, Madeline Joey Rose, Stephen Schmidt,
and Renee Elizabeth Wilson
At the Atlas Performing Arts Center, Lang Theatre
March 27–April 28, 2019

ABOUT

Richard Wright's iconic novel about oppression, freedom, and justice comes to life on stage in this ground-breaking adaptation. Suffocating in rat-infested poverty on the South Side of Chicago in the 1930s, 20-year-old Bigger Thomas struggles to find a place for himself in a world whose prejudice has shut him out. After taking a job in a wealthy white man's house, Bigger unwittingly unleashes a series of events that violently and irrevocably seal his fate. Adapted with theatrical ingenuity by Chicago's own Nambi E. Kelley, this Native Son captures the power of Richard Wright's novel for a whole new generation. 

“A bold new tone...distills Wright’s novel into 90 intermission-less minutes that are all action. It appreciates Wright's book for its intensity, refusing to slow down.” — Hartford Courant 

In repertory with

LES DEUX NOIRS:

Notes on Notes of a Native Son

By Psalmayene 24 | Directed by Raymond O. Caldwell

Bigger and his Doubles

PRESS

“Native Son is a heavy drama with an important story to tell.”
“the storytelling moves fluidly at an adrenaline-fueled pace.”
“an explosive and shattering glimpse into the African-American experience ”
“ terrific performances”

DATES

indicates a post show discussion immediately following the performance
*

ACCESSIBILITY

WEEKDAY MATINÉES

ALL PERFORMANCES open captioned

(projected onto the set)

7:30pm Sunday, March 31

ASL Interpreted Opening Night Festivities

11am Thursday, April 4

ASL Interpreted Post-Show Discussion

11am Thursday, April 11

ASL Interpreted Post-Show Discussion

8pm Thursday, April 18

ASL Interpreted Post-Show Discussion

3pm Sunday, April 28

ASL Interpreted Post-Show Discussion

Thursday, April 4 at 11 AM

(with post-show discussion)

Thursday, April 11 at 11 AM

(with post-show discussion)

Friday, April 19 at 11 AM

(with post-show discussion)

Wednesday, April 24 at 11 AM

(with post-show discussion)

 
 

ARTISTS

Click the images for more information on each artist

Nambi E Kelley
Playwright
Psalmayene 24
Director
Clayton Pelham*
Bigger
Lolita Marie
Hannah
Melissa Flaim*
Mrs. Dalton
Drew Kopas*
Jan
Vaughn Ryan Midder*
Black Rat
Tendo Nsuguba
Buddy
Madeline Joey Rose*
Mary
Stephen Schmidt*
Britten
Renee Elizabeth Wilson
Vera/Bessie
Ethan Sinnott
Set Designer
William K. D’Eugenio
Lighting Designer
Katie Touart
Costume Designer
Dylan Uremovich
Projections Designer
Nick Hernandez
Sound Designer
Willow Watson
Properties Designer
Tony Thomas*
Movement Specialist
Simone Baskerville*
Production Stage Manager
Isaiah M. Wooden
Dramaturg
Khalid Yaya Long
Dramaturg

DISCUSSIONS

8PM THURSDAY, MARCH 28

Adaptation: Moving from the Page to the Stage

Isaiah Wooden Production Dramaturg

Ari Roth Founding Artistic Director, Mosaic Theater Company

3PM SUNDAY, MARCH 31

Creative Team Talkback

Psalmayene 24 Director

Tony Thomas Choreographer/Movement Specialist

Ari Roth Founding Artistic Director, Mosaic Theater Company

8PM THURSDAY, APRIL 4

Foreign Daughters: Depictions of Black Femininity on Stage

Dr. Sandra Shannon Professor of African American Literature, Howard University

Dr. Dana Williams Chair, Professor, African American Literature Department of English College of Arts & Sciences, Howard University

Pamela Pinnock Mosaic Theater Board Member, Former Marketing and PR Director, Busboys and Poets

3PM SATURDAY, APRIL 6

The Trauma of the Manchild: Bigger Thomas in Native Son

James Early Director of Cultural Studies and Communication at the Center for Folklife Programs and Cultural Studies at the Smithsonian Institution

Victoria Murray Baatin Associate Artistic Director, Mosaic Theater Company

11AM THURSDAY, APRIL 11

Cast Talkback

Victoria Murray Baatin Associate Artistic Director, Mosaic Theater Company

*ASL Interpreted

8PM THURSDAY, APRIL 11

Transcending Mediums: Native Son on Stage and Screen

Ari Roth Founding Artistic Director, Mosaic Theater Company

3PM SATURDAY, APRIL 13

Sounds of Resistance: From Blues to Hip-Hop

Maya Cunningham Ethnomusicologist and Cultural Activist

Julius Fleming, Jr. Associate Professor, UMD; Author: Staging Civil Rights: African American Literature, Performance, and Innovation

Marcus K. Dowling Journalist, broadcaster, and entrepreneur

Jez Kline Mosaic Director of Marketing

8PM THURSDAY, APRIL 18

Double Consciousness: How Racial Oppression Impacts the Souls of Black Folks

DeLisa D. Hawkes Instructor at University of Maryland College Park; educator, writer and cultural critic. Twitter: @DeLisaDHawkes

Kayla Harr Doucette Instructor of African American Literature and Culture, University of Maryland

Isaiah Wooden Production Dramaturg; American University Department of Performing Arts

*ASL Interpreted

11AM FRIDAY, APRIL 19

Cast Talkback

Victoria Murray Baatin Associate Artistic Director, Mosaic Theater Company

3PM SATURDAY, APRIL 20

I Want To Fly: Dreaming While Black

Sybil Williams Director of African American and African Diaspora Studies, Department of Performing Arts, American University

Jez Kline Mosaic Director of Marketing

8PM TUESDAY, APRIL 23

Before Another Bigger is Born

Virginia Spatz Author of Exodus and Exile: Thoughts on Coalition and Redemption

Kymone Freeman Co-founder of We Act Radio, award winning playwright, and founder of the Black LUV Festival

8PM WEDNESDAY, APRIL 24

Richard Wright in His Own Words: How Bigger Was Born

Dr. Eleanor W. Traylor Howard University: Graduate Professor of English; acclaimed scholar and critic in African-American literature and criticism

Michele Simms-Burton Writer, editor, social media advisor, content curator, certified instructional systems designer, and scholar of African American studies and women›s studies

Rebecca Cohen Mosaic Director of Development

3PM SUNDAY, APRIL 28

Migration: People Moving Out/People Moving In

Helen Zughaib Visual artist; Creator: «Syrian Migration Series»

Mel Hardy Millennium Arts Salon

Victoria Murray Baatin Associate Artistic Director, Mosaic Theater Company

*ASL Interpreted

 
 

Bigger and his

Doubles

By Khalid Y. Long and Isaiah M. Wooden, Dramaturgs

Richard Wright's influential novel Native Son has enjoyed a rather fascinating life on stage and screen since its debut in March 1940. Soon after editor and critic Clifton Fadiman took to the pages of The New Yorker to herald the book as "the most powerful American novel to appear since The Grapes of Wrath," Wright began working with Paul Green, a white southern dramatist, on a theatrical adaptation...

 

READ MORE

An Interview with

Nambi E. Kelley

By Khalid Y. Long and Isaiah M. Wooden

Who are the playwrights – past and present – that influence your work?

 

I have been deeply influenced by Goddess/Newest Ancestor Ntozake Shange. I believe my early plays were straight riffs on her voice as it was intersecting with my own... 

 

GALLERY