Longtime theater pioneer Dixon Place and up-and-coming arts organization In Full Color are partnering to present “Death in the Family,” a new play by Kendra Augustin, from Thursday through Saturday, Oct. 28 to 30.
“Death in the Family” is a series of five darkly comedic whimsical vignettes about the effects of death, grief, and trauma. With intensity and humor, the bold new show explores the conversations we often never get to have — whether it’s two preteens pondering the ramifications of being born, brothers who wonder if anyone else is as lonely, if and when revenge is justified, what happens to the people left behind after violence, or how older and younger siblings experience parents in different ways.
For the Jersey City-based In Full Color, this will be their first full-length traditional play, and first full theatrical production in Manhattan. The award-winning organization empowers women of color and other BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) of marginalized genders through education and the arts.
They’ve worked with about 250 artists nationally and are best known for their eponymous annual showcases of monologues, poetry, music and dance by women of color. They received the inaugural Jersey City Arts Council Performing Arts Award in 2018 and perform year-round for colleges, universities and corporate groups around the world.
“Death in the Family” will be Augustin’s first full-length production. “I feel nervous and excited,” she admits. “I hope people like it and think it’s cool and that it makes them feel all sorts of wonderful and terrible things…But I’m also terrified to be in the same space with others as they watch my heart bleed on the stage!…And honored to have my first full-length production. It makes me wonder if there are more days like this waiting for me in the future!”
The Manhattan-based playwright has previously garnered attention for her work at theater festivals such as InspiraTO Festival, 365 Women A Year, LIC One Act Play Festival, The Fire This Time Festival and NOplays. Her piece “Stranger” also won Best Play, Best Actress and Best Director at the Stage Black Festival in 2014. She’s thrilled to be showcased at Dixon Place, a venue she has long admired for their commitment to adventure and artistic achievement.
An artistic incubator since 1986, Dixon Place is a Bessie and Obie Award-winning non-profit institution committed to supporting the creative process by presenting original works of theatre, dance, music, puppetry, circus art and literature at all stages of development. This local haven inspires and encourages diverse artists of all stripes and callings to take risks, explore new ideas, and consummate new practices.
“Death in the Family” was selected for production through In Full Color’s play development series The Nest prior to the COVID-19 quarantine.
“Kendra has this incredible ability to create really colorful worlds in these circumstantially bleak landscapes, and to write characters that think so differently, so out-of-the-box, but that are really weirdly relatable at the same time,” says Summer Dawn, founder/director of In Full Color and producer for “Death in the Family.”
She adds, “Kendra’s writing really jumped off the page even before we started doing readings of it for The Nest, and we knew as the theater scene began opening up again that we had to share these powerful stories with the world — and do it right.”
This Dixon Place production of Death in the Family is made possible, in part, with funds from the New York State Council on the Arts w/the support of the Office of the Governor & the NY State Legislature, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Howard Gilman Foundation, and the Shubert Foundation.
“Death in the Family” by Kendra Augustin Thursday through Saturday, Oct. 28 to 30 at 7:30 p.m., with a 3 p.m. matinee on Oct. 30, at Dixon Place, 161A Chrystie St., Manhattan, NY. (Between Delancey and Rivington streets, accessible via J/Z train at Bowery, B/D at Grand Street and F at Second Avenue.)
Tickets are $17 in advance, $20 at door. Students/seniors $15/$17. For more information, content warnings and tickets, visit DixonPlace.org.