In celebration of Juneteenth, Unmasked features one-act plays by four of the country's preeminent voices in American theater: Dominique Morisseau (Tony Award-nominated book writer, Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations), Jocelyn Bioh (School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play), Ngozi Anyanwu (Good Grief), and Stacy Osei-Kuffour ("Watchmen"). Filmed inside The Wallis’ Lovelace Studio Theater, the plays include:
Jezelle the Gazelle by Dominique Morisseau: A clear-eyed coming of age story about a young girl who is ready to prove that she’s the best runner on her block: young, fierce, and definitely faster than any boy. But is she fast enough to outrun what life has in store and claim her greatness? CAST: Candace Thomas (Jezelle).
White-N-Luscious by Jocelyn Bioh: A Nigerian pop star and an Afro-British scholar are confronted with the controversy of self-representation and unattainable beauty standards all while on a sensationalist talk show. CAST: Makha Mthembu (Tiwa), Kelly M. Jenrette (Isha), Jonah Wharton (Richard).
G.O.A.T. by Ngozi Anyanwu: This play spotlights friends Jay, Bonita, and Row, who have gathered to perform a sacred ritual to summon victory for the true Greatest Of All Time. CAST: Kelly M. Jenrette (Bonita), Candace Thomas (Row), Makha Mthembu (Jay).
Madness by Stacy Osei-Kuffour: The protagonist, making a routine call to clean up a work issue, encounters a mysterious new colleague who offers her a unique brand of help. CAST: Kelly M. Jenrette (Girl), Jonah Wharton (Mister). WARNING: This production contains adult content and strong language.
Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States. On June 19, 1865, two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, Union soldiers led by Major General Gordon Granger, rode into Galveston, Texas, with news that the Civil War had ended and slaves in Texas were free.
“With new interest and vigor, the country has been engaging in conversations and celebrations about this nationally forgotten moment in our collective history. The Wallis and Black Rebirth Collective have joined together to introduce to some and celebrate with many the triumphant spirit of this day through these plays by four extraordinary Black female playwrights. Dominique Morisseau, Jocelyn Bioh, Ngozi Anyanwu, and Stacy Osei-Kuffour reclaim the Black female perspective in American Theatre, and we celebrate the liberation of their voices.”
- Unmasked Co-directors Kimberly Hébert and Camille Jenkins
MEET THE CREATIVE TEAM