Professional Studies and Fine Arts

Professional Studies and Fine Arts

School of Theatre, Television, and Film, and Arts Alive SDSU Present “Free Play Project”

Five short plays and a panel discussion put social justice issues under the spotlight and call for change.

School of Theatre, Television, and Film, and Arts Alive SDSU Present “Free Play Project”

Free Play Project

by Gabriela Romero

September 20, 2021

SDSU School of Theatre, Television, and Film opens the 2021 theatre season with “Free Play Project,” five short plays by playwright, poet, and change maker Idris Goodwin, all focused on social change.

The production is directed by Dani Bedau, and is produced in collaboration with the Black Renaissance student organization, as well as with the Black Resource Center and the Center for Achieving Black Wellness and Anti-racist Education. The plays will be live-streamed via Zoom with a small, invited audience in the theater space. “Free Play Project” directors are all members of Black Renaissance.

Performance dates are Fri, Sept. 24 - Sun. Oct. 3, 2021, and tickets can be purchased on the School of Theatre, Television, and Film’s website. The Arts Alive SDSU panel will take place Wed., Sept. 22, 11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m. Register to attend here.

Leilani Snow, Black Renaissance co-founder and director of “Nothing Rhymes with Juneteenth” says, “I hope that those watching keep an open mind. Regardless of what side you’re on or personal views on an issue, my hope is that you allow yourself to look at every topic with a different view than your own and acknowledge why someone may feel that way rather than outright dismissing it.”

Roosevelt Green, director of “The Water Gun Song” hopes the audience will gain “the feeling of what it was like to look at the world through the eyes of a child. In this show, we see a mother who worries for her daughter’s safety in a world as harsh as this one, and yet it was one song that made her feel safe for her child.”

Performances of “Free Play Project” will extend beyond campus. Local public school audiences will have access to recordings of the plays and a separate live, virtual interactive program and study guide.

“Free Play Project” features these short plays:

“The Water Gun Song” (for audiences age 6 and up) finds a parent trying to find the words to explain to a child why a water gun isn’t simply a toy, directed by Roosevelt Green.

“Act Free” (for audiences age 9 and up) finds three kids wrestling with the definition of freedom, directed by Maya Stokes.

“Nothing Rhymes with Juneteenth” (for audiences age 9 and up) finds a child and a parent trying to complete a rap for a school presentation directed by Leilani Snow.

“#Matter” is a two-hander (a play for two actors), about former high school friends debating matters of life and race, directed by Dominique Payne and Noah Uemura.

“Black Flag” finds two new dorm-mates excited to start their freshman year together until one decides to decorate their room with a little piece of ‘Southern pride,’ directed by Amaya Clay and Malijah Hopkins.

The five plays have been divided into two evenings to facilitate in depth conversations between performances: Evening #1: “Act Free,” “Nothing Rhymes with Juneteenth,” and “Black Flag.” Evening #2: “The Water Gun Song,” and “#MATTER.”

Arts Alive SDSU Discovery Series Panel Discussion:

Arts Alive SDSU will host a Zoom panel discussion on the use of theater as a tool for social change with panelists Idris Goodwin, Dani Bedau, SDSU Department of Africana Studies’ Taharka Adé, and SDSU School of Counseling and School Psychology marcela polanco. The panel is open to the public and will take place on Wed., Sept. 22 from 11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m. Register to attend here.

The Arts Alive SDSU Discovery Series emphasizes the intersection of contemporary studies in the humanities and sciences, prompting meaningful and direct conversations about a variety of critical social topics. Through works like “Free Play Project,” students and the entire SDSU community can approach conversations about racial justice and injustice through the transformative lens of creative arts.

“‘Free Play Project’ itself offers insights about disconnects in racial conversations and the Black experience in America,” said Elizabeth Allison of Arts Alive SDSU. “It is a fantastic fit for our series, as both ‘Free Play Project’ and the Discovery Series connect community, conversation, and the arts.”

History of “Free Play Project”:

Beginning in the summer of 2020, Idris Goodwin offered five short plays for multi-generational audiences to spark conversation about race in America. He offered these plays free of charge in response to the uprisings across the country that took place after the murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and countless others lost to police brutality and systemic racism.

Schedule and Tickets:

Tickets for “Free Play Project” are available for purchase on the School of TTF’s website and find the Zoom link for the panel discussion here.

The content within this article has been edited by Lizbeth Persons.

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