A man plays guitar behind a group of actors performing Parable of the Sower

Octavia E. Butler’s 1993 Afrofuturist novel, Parable of the Sower, is set in Los Angeles in 2024—as in two years from now. The country is wrecked by climate change, corporate greed, and wealth inequality. To put it mildly, Butler’s story might sound too on the nose for 2022, but the opera, written and composed by daughter-mother duo, Toshi Reagon and Bernice Johnson Reagon, has been described by critics as triumphant, poignant, cautionary, and mesmerizing. After being rescheduled twice due to the pandemic, the opera, co-presented by Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company and the Strathmore, is finally expected to go on in North Bethesda. Directed by Eric Ting, Parable of the Sower features more than 30 original pieces influenced by Black music over the past two centuries to tell the story of teenager Lauren Oya Olamina, who sets out to save humanity from the failing earth. The New York Times calls the opera an “unrepentantly political work of theater.” Filled with a musical score that weaves together funk, folk, spirituals, blues, soul, and rock ’n’ roll, Parable of the Sower is the kind of science fiction that offers advice and hope instead of just dystopian dread. And couldn’t we all use more of that in 2022? April 28 and 29 at Strathmore Music Center, 5301 Tuckerman Ln., North Bethesda. $34–$74.

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