of Funk Musically Advises: 'Dance Life'
On Saturday, November 6, a new
musical play by Andrea Hairston, professor of theatre, will
receive its Smith premier during a staged reading, by members
of Chrysalis Theatre, at the Hallie Flanagan Studio Theatre,
Mendenhall Center for the Performing Arts, at 8 p.m.
The play reading is part of the events celebrating Otelia
Cromwell Day, which took place on November 2.
The play, titled Archangels of Funk, uses a variety
show format of “interviews, romance, gossip, news, the
Blues, and radical views, even a mini-drama series and a rant
or two” in exploring the possibility of soul repairs
in an age of terror and plagues, according to a press release
about the production. “Archangels’ host
asks us to ‘Dance life,'” says the release, “but
if you trip and stumble, then sing life. And if your voice
cracks, let your heart keep time. And if your heart gives
out, with your last breath leave your story behind. And if
you are forgotten, come to us, in dreams and visions. Shake
us from these death-like trances. Haunt us, hound us, like
demons. Until we cannot forget that some slow, shuffling death
is not the dance that is life.”
Archangels of Funk will be performed by Hairston,
Greg Alexander, Cinamon Blair, James Emery, Erika Ewing, Pan
Morigan and special guest Joy Voeth. The reading will incorporate
music by Morigan and the performers.
Archangels garnered Hairston an invitation from the
Canadian Theatre Festival, and an MCC 2003 Playwriting Fellowship.
A section of Archangels of Funk was a finalist for
the 2003 Heideman Award (Actor’s Theatre of Louisville).
Hairston has received several awards for playwriting and directing,
including a Ford Foundation Grant, an NEA Grants to Playwrights,
and a Rockefeller-NEA Grant for New Works.
Chrysalis Theatre is a cross-cultural, multidisciplinary performance
ensemble that has presented innovative and progressive cultural
works in western Massachusetts since 1978. The company has
produced more than 30 original productions, frequently using
the medium of performance to explore social issues.
The play reading is funded in part by grants from the Office
of Institutional Diversity, theatre department, and the New
England Foundation for the Arts and Meet The Composer, Inc.,
with support from ASCAP, the Virgil Thomson Fund, the National
Endowment for the Arts, the Northampton Arts Council, and
the Massachusetts Cultural Council.