UCSB’s BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) Reading Series Festival will showcase six plays from diverse perspectives Friday and Saturday.
Each play will be followed by a Q&A with the playwright, director, dramaturg and actors. The performances will be livestreamed but not recorded.
The plays were selected from works of National New Play Network’s accomplishment playwrights. NNPN, UCSB’s LAUNCH PAD, AMPLIFY and New and Reimagined Work partnered to present this free festival.
“LAUNCH PAD is dedicated to the creation of new plays through a collaborative and nurturing process,” said Risa Brainin, artistic director and UCSB professor of theater. “Our audiences have always been adventurers — excited by being a part of the birthing of new plays. This festival brings a wonderful group of writers from National New Play Network together with our students, faculty and professional guest artists for a rich collaboration.”
Kicking off the performances at noon Friday is “American Fast” by Kareem Fahmy, directed by Hala Baki.
The play follows Khady, a young Muslim woman and college basketball star. The NCAA championships overlap with Ramadan, a time of fasting for Khady, and she must publicly address her fast.
At 3 p.m. Friday, “Lorena: A Tabloid Epic” by Eliana Pipe, directed by Erica Terpening-Romeo, explores pop culture in America and centers around Lorena Bobbitt, who infamously attacked her husband with a knife in 1993.
“A People’s Guide to History in the Time of Here and Now” by Rehana Lew Mirza, directed by Lucie Tiberghien, goes live at 6 p.m. Friday. It follows a Muslim-American student after the 2016 election.
At noon Saturday, “Exotic Deadly: or the MSG Play” by Keiko Green, directed by Rebecca Wear, looks at the story of a high school girl who realizes her family produces MSG and vows to stand against it.
“A Medusa Thread” by Candrice Jones, directed by Shirley Jo Finney, will take stage at 3 p.m. Saturday. It transports audiences to a purgatorial beauty shop where Medusa styles hair before sending customers to their afterlife.
Performing at 6 p.m. Saturday is “Pilar and Paloma” by Milta Ortiz, directed by Sylvia Cervantes Blush. It dives into a story of motherhood, family and freedom at the Mexican-American border as the wall raises.
To join the audience, register at bit.ly/3vfr6qT.