The Public Theater has added the world premiere of Erika Dickerson-Despenza's audio play Shadow/land to its current spring digital theatre season. The play will be available for free, on-demand streaming beginning April 13 on Public Play Now as well as on all podcast platforms.
Playwright Erika Dickerson-Despenza is the Public's 2019-2020 Tow Foundation playwright-in-residence, and a Laurents/Hatcher Foundation Award and Lilly Award recipient. Candis C. Jones, also a recipient of a New York Women's Foundation Lilly Award, helms the production featuring Te'Era Coleman, Lizan Mitchell, Lance E. Nichols, Lori Elizabeth Parquet, Sunni Patterson, and Michelle Wilson.
Shadow/land is the first installment of a 10-play cycle examining the ongoing effects of Hurricane Katrina and urban renewal in New Orleans. The story centers on Ruth, who coaxes her mother to sell the family business, Shadowland, New Orleans’s first air-conditioned dancehall and hotel for Black people, just as Hurricane Katrina begins its strike on the city.
“Shadow/land began as a recovery project through which I resurrected my family's business, as all photographs of Shadowland were claimed by the flood that followed Hurricane Katrina. The play grew into a timely meditation on how apocalypse clarifies or redirects our wanting. It is an epic exploration of queer Black southern women navigating disaster, duty and desire,” says Dickerson-Despenza.
The audio play will feature original music from composer Delfeayo Marsalis and sound design by Palmer Hefferan.