VENUS

 

Director: Lear DeBessonet

Playwright: Suzan-Lori Parks

Set Design: Matt Saunders

Costume Design: Emilio Sosa

Lighting Design: Justin Townsend

Sound Design: Brandon Wolcott

Choreography: Danny Mefford

Stage Manager: Evangeline Rose Whitlock

With: Hannah Cabell, John Ellison Conlee, Randy Danson, Birgit Huppuch, Zainab Jah, Patrena Murray, Reynaldo Piniella, Julian Rozzell Jr., Tony Torn

SIGNATURE THEATRE

NEW YORK, NY

APR - JUN 2017

This was the first full-length production I did in the Trump era. Like every play, because so many plays are about society and politics and relationships and everything that is in upheaval, as America and its people are degraded day in and day out, this one seemed unbelievably timely.


Suzan-Lori wrote it 20 years prior, but by God, she could have written it last year, today, or next week.


On the first day of rehearsal, Suzan-Lori suggested we leave the politics aside. That, at its heart, it was a play about a relationship between a man and a woman. And that’s true, but so often politics are also about relationships.


It’s a harrowing, deeply-moving play, about so many things: the degradation (and subsequent destruction) of the black body, as per Ta-Nehisi Coates. Women not having a choice. Colonialism. The survival of the human spirit. All of it.


We played to sold-out houses for six weeks, with reactions wildly varying between out-and-out wails of horror to some folks just looking confused. That gamut of emotions is a great example of how differently artistic expression can strike us.