NEGRO ENSEMBLE COMPANY PRESENTS "NO POLICY NO JUSTICE,"
THREE ONE-ACTS ON THE EFFECTS OF GUN VIOLENCE ON BLACK FAMILIES,
MARCH 20-28 IN LA MAMA'S NEW COMMUNITY ARTS SPACE

WHERE AND WHEN
March 20 to 28, 2024
La MaMa Community Arts Space, 74a E.4th Street
March 20, 21 & 22 @ 8:00 PM, March 23 @ 2:00 & 8:00 PM, March 24 @ 2:00 PM & 8:00 PM, March 27 & 28 @ 8:00 PM.
$35 gen adm, $25 seniors & students. Box office: https://necinc.org/
Running time :90 with one intermission
Critics are invited to all performances.
Photos: https://photos.app.goo.gl/bheZ1qBTw5PeGukR7

NEW YORK, March 18 -- From March 20 to 28, Negro Ensemble Company, Inc. will present "No Policy No Justice," an evening of three one-acts, at La MaMa Community Arts Space, 74 E.4th Street. The plays explore the tragedy and trauma of the gun violence epidemic and its disproportionate impact on communities of color, particularly on families of shooting victims.

The plays were commissioned by Negro Ensemble Company, Inc. and produced together in workshop in October, 2023 for University of Pennsylvania's Penn Live Arts at Annenberg Center, Philadelphia. They are: "Is Heaven Still Blue for the Fallen Angels" by Cris Eli Blak, "Breathe" by Cynthia Grace Robinson and "Elevator Not Necessary" by Mona Washington. In all three plays, a family member has been shot, recently or long ago, and surviving family members experience the loss in differing ways.

In "Is Heaven Still Blue for the Fallen Angels" by Cris Eli Blak, a minister's PTSD is cemented by a guilty secret: his mistress was in his congregation during a church shooting. With Adrain Washington, Constance Thompson and Leah Finney. Directed by Lawrence Floyd.

"Breathe" by Cynthia Grace Robinson has songs with music by Nailah Carrie and lyrics by Ms. Robinson. The widow of a slain police officer struggles to accept comfort from her Yoga therapist, who suffers silently from a similar loss. Includes songs with music by Nailah Carrie and lyrics by the playwright. With Kenya Wilson and Leah Finney. Directed by Marishka Phillips.

In "Elevator Not Necessary" by Mona Washington, a casket for a mother who was shot has been mistakenly delivered to her two adult sons. They face her loss with confusion, exasperation and bravado. With Benjamin Rowe and Alton Ray. Directed by Marishka Phillips.

Playwright Cris Eli Blak's work has been performed off-Broadway, in London, Canada and Ireland. He's currently the recipient of the Emerging Playwrights Fellowship from The Scoundrel & Scamp Theatre and a selected participant of The Kennedy Center Playwrights Intensive. He strives to create work that reflects the world we live in. His play "Clipper Cut Nation" was co-commissioned by NEC and Penn Live Arts for "Our Voices, Our Time," which was presented in 2022 at The Annenberg Center, Philadelphia by Penn Live Arts and at the The Cherry Lane Theatre by NEC. He contributed to NEC's "Mecca Is Burning," directed by Karen Brown, last season.

Playwright Cynthia Grace Robinson is an award-winning playwright, recently awarded the “Not a Moment, But a Movement” commission with Center Theater Group. Her works include "Freedom Summer" (NC Black Rep), "Dancing on Eggshells" (Billie Holiday Theatre), "Peola's Passing" (New Perspectives Theatre), "Gold Star Mother" (EstroGenius), "Ascension" (NYCFringe) and "Thunder: a Musical Memoir" (NYCFringe). Her play "What If" was co-commissioned by NEC and Penn Live Arts for "Our Voices, Our Time," which was presented in 2022 at The Annenberg Center, Philadelphia by Penn Live Arts and at the The Cherry Lane Theatre by NEC. CynthiaGraceRobinson.com

Playwright Mona R. Washington is an award-winning playwright, librettist and activist. A 2021 New Jersey Artist Individual Fellowship recipient, her plays have been performed in Italy and France, as well as the United States. Her play "I Don't Do That" was co-commissioned by NEC and Penn Live Arts for "Our Voices, Our Time," which was presented in 2022 at The Annenberg Center, Philadelphia by Penn Live Arts and at the The Cherry Lane Theatre by NEC. She contributed to NEC's "Mecca Is Burning," directed by Karen Brown, last season.

Director Lawrence Floyd is a New York based actor/director/writer dedicated to telling the stories of the BIPOC. He's also co-founder, along with Dr. Myrah Brown Green, of Genesis East and West, Inc., a company that specializes in theater/film and television development and Co-COO of NEXUS Streaming with Jelani Jumal and CEO Maurice Woods.

Director Marishka Phillips has staged the AUDELCO-nominated plays "Down To Eartha," "The Diary of An Afro Goddess" and "Sweet Mama Stringbean." Her films include "Melinda" (2018) starring LaChanze, Lillias White, Terri J Vaughn, Jerome Preston Bates Rosalyn Coleman Williams and Monifah, winner of Best Short in Ocktober Film Festival, and "Bait" (2022), winner of Best Director in NY Movie Awards. She is also an actor and acting coach. (www.marishkasphillips.com)

ABOUT NEGRO ENSEMBLE COMPANY, INC.
Negro Ensemble Company's awards include a Pulitzer Prize (1982, "A Soldier's Play"), two Tony Awards, eleven Obies and many more. Its legacy reads like a Who's Who of America's Black theater artists.

Prior to the 1960s, there were virtually no outlets for the wealth of Black theatrical talent in America. In 1965, Playwright Douglas Turner Ward, producer/actor Robert Hooks, and theater manager Gerald Krone founded The Negro Ensemble Company, Inc. (NEC) to provide a haven and platform for African American actors and playwrights, to create works that otherwise would not have access to Broadway stages, and to elevate the authentic, underrepresented stories coming out of the Black experience.

"The River Niger" by Joe Walker, originally produced at St. Marks Playhouse (NEC's home theater), moved to Broadway and was awarded 1973 Obie Awards for Distinguished Performance for Douglas Turner Ward, Best American Play for Joseph A. Walker, and Distinguished Performance for Roxie Roker. Other significant works of this period included Peter Weiss' "Song of the Lucitanian Bogey" (1967), Lonnie Elder's "Ceremonies in Dark Old Men" (1969) and Charles Fuller's "Zooman and the Sign" (1980). In 1981, NEC mounted "A Soldier's Play" by Charles Fuller, which won the Pulitzer Prize. A film version, "A Soldier's Story," was released in 1984 and nominated for three Academy Awards.

NEC has produced more than two hundred new plays and provided a theatrical home for more than four thousand cast and crew members. Among its ranks have been some of the best black actors in television and film, including Louis Gossett Jr., Sherman Hemsley, Denise Nichols, Esther Rolle, Adolph Caesar Laurence Fishburne, Glynn Turman, Reuben Santiago-Hudson, S. Epatha Merkerson, and Phylicia Rashad; playwrights include steve carter (intentionally lower case), Samm-Art Williams, Leslie Lee. In 2009, Signature Theatre presented a season of readings of various plays from the NEC canon, with Douglas Turner Ward as curator and Ruben Santiago-Hudson as associated artist. NEC continues to be a constant source and sustenance for black actors, directors, and writers as they have worked to break down walls of racial prejudice.

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