Three Sisters: Tulsa, 1921
Long Island City, NY June 25-28, 2015
Tickets $15 ($18 at door), available here.
A devised workshop performance produced by The Applied Theatre Collective in collaboration with director Marissa Metelica, assistant director Chelsea Hackett, playwright Lauren Whitehead, and the ATC Theatre Ensemble.
The Secret Theatre, 4402 23rd Street, Long Island City, NY 11101
Press Inquiries: Nadia Siddiqui, email@example.com
New York. Ferguson. Cleveland. Baltimore. Tulsa…1921.
If it’s true that the moral arc of the universe eventually bends toward justice, it’s also evident, now more than ever, that it must be pushed along. The Applied Theatre Collective’s workshop production of “Three Sisters: Tulsa, 1921,” a devised reimagining of Anton Chekhov’s seminal play, seeks to contribute to this forward motion by first stopping to look back. Reflecting upon lived narratives of the racial violence, struggle, and resilience that have brought us to the present, the play seeks to raise new consciousness of our collective, continuing struggle for justice.
Set in the affluent Greenwood neighborhood of Tulsa County, Oklahoma, one of the wealthiest black communities in the United States at the time, the play follows Uli, Cora, and Irene before, during, and after the Tulsa Race Riot that engulfed their home and lives in the summer of 1921. “Three Sisters: Tulsa, 1921” focuses on the strength and resilience of those most gravely affected by violence they can do nothing to control: black women. We see the sisters struggle to keep their family and community together, even as it turns to ash around them.
The riot occurred over two days in 1921. Members of the surrounding white community with the support of the National Guard burned to the ground 35 blocks of Greenwood, killing some 300 people, and leaving thousands displaced. The neighborhood was never rebuilt and this history has only recently been taught in Oklahoma schools. This incident crystalizes the notion that racialized anger is deadly, is frustrating, is historical, is still happening, and is a pattern, particularly in light of recent tragedies.
“Three Sisters: Tulsa, 1921” looks to Chekhov, a structural master whose work centers on the heroism of women trapped by disempowering circumstance, to provide the frame to illustrate this pattern. Recontextualizing and disrupting his work allows us to understand who we were, what we’ve become, and how we move forward from here.
“Three Sisters: Tulsa, 1921” is directed by Marissa Metelica with assistant direction by Chelsea Hackett, based on a script adapted by playwright Lauren Whitehead from scenes devised by the ATC Theatre Ensemble: Pat Richards, Araba Brown, Breunna Darling, BK Dawson, Johari Frasier, Jennifer Fisher, Temesgen Tocruray, and Stacey Dotson.* Original artwork by Alex Minott.
*Actor appearing courtesy of Actors' Equity Association.