Credit: Courtesy of Young Playwrights' Theater.

Silence is Violence: The Future of the Field

Three Howard theater majors, Autumn Angelettie, Ayanna Fowler, and Jaucqir LaFond, have written and performed in a three-part web series, Silence Is Violence: The Future of the Field, available now on YouTube, that explores the complexities and struggles of being a Black theater artist. The episodes are available now on the Young Playwrights Theater YouTube channel; the web show is part of the group’s social justice performance series, Silence Is Violence. The Future of the Field, filmed mostly over Zoom, follows the actors’ three characters dealing with “racism, tokenism, and ethics while working on a project for a White-led theater company,” per the description. When asked, LaFond says that the series is about the position of Black artists. “We explore an institutional relationship that has existed since the beginning of Western theatre, the relationship between artist and patron,” they say. “Except, in our series we explore the natural limitations and suppressive qualities of this dynamic, using an individual, fictional example of patronage to reflect the modern state of theatre.” Angelettie hopes the series will reach a specific community. “This piece, to me, is for young Black artists—the ones I go to school with, the ones I work with, the ones I haven’t met yet—who create art from an intrinsic need and feel trapped in the politics of an industry steeped in white supremacy,” she says. Supporting those artists uplifts the entire D.C. theater community, she says. Fowler has similar hopes for the series. “I hope it encourages Black artists to think about the work they’re doing, and who they’re doing it with. I hope it asks White theatre companies to consider the environment they have created and how they can make it more welcoming.” On April 30, the three artists will participate in a live talkback about The Future of the Field with director Farah Lawal Harris. The event begins at 7:30 p.m. on April 30 on YouTube. The three episode series is also available to stream on YouTube. Free.

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