BEDFORD-STUYVESANT — A new summer reading series in Bed-Stuy will honor the legacy of four "seldom-produced, historically significant plays" by black writers.
"READ. REVIVE. RECLAIM." is a monthly reading series from the New Brooklyn Theater designed to highlight four lesser-known works in order to raise questions about American theater, the company announced on Tuesday.
"[R]evisiting these lost treasures will provoke a much-needed conversation about the construction of the canon of American theater," an announcement said.
"What did these plays mean in their time? What do they mean to us today? And how might our theatrical practices and assumptions be transformed by engaging these forgotten chapters of our collective past?"
Starting June 22, the theater will stage readings of "The Escape" by William Wells Brown, "Dessalines" by William Edgar Easton, "Rachel" by Angelina Weld Grimké and "Cold Keener" by Zora Neale Hurston, inside the Akwaaba Mansion at 347 MacDonough St.
The New Brooklyn Theater made a name for itself earlier this year by staging a production of "The Death of Bessie Smith" by Edward Albee inside Interfaith Medical Center to protest the previously-bankrupt hospital's possible closure.
Like the Albee play, the New Brooklyn Theater will host a "talk back" session after each reading, featuring the cast, audience and special guests in conversation, the company said.
After all four readings, the theater will solicit audience input and choose one of the plays for a full production in November, the company said.
"By choosing its fall play in consultation with its audience, the company believes it is taking a step toward the greater democratizing of theatre," the announcement said.
June 22 - "The Escape" by William Wells Brown
July 27 - "Dessalines" by William Edgar Easton
Aug. 24 - "Rachel" by Angelina Weld Grimké
Sep. 21 - "Cold Keener" by Zora Neale Hurston