If you’ve had your fill of dead white male playwrights, or even if you just want to add some variety to your dramatic play reading list, Perceptions Theatre has the prescription for you. The company, founded by artistic director Myesha-Tiara, has been hosting a play reading club that features BIPOC playwrights. During the pandemic the meetings were virtual, but this coming April will mark their first in-person meetings (though a virtual one will still be available) at locations throughout south-side Chicago.
They provide a PDF of the play each month for participants to read. Sometimes they’ll have the playwright sit in on the discussion, and some months they host a watch party of the play before they discuss it.
They’ll be releasing an upcoming reading list in March of creative writers of color. Their next meeting is in April and the play is Scorpio by west-side Chicago native alfonzo kahili. It’s a play that explores relationships, infidelity, and longing. There are four characters whom he says are Black, but can be of any gender. Other recent plays the club has read include A Soldier’s Play by Charles Fuller and The Piano Lesson by August Wilson.
Jerluane “Jay” Jenkins, the executive director of Perceptions Theatre and a playwright in her own right (her play Black Magic was the inaugural production for the company), says the club is about creating a safe space for people of all ages.
“Our goal with our play club is to expose our audience to work made by BIPOC and LGBTQ+ writers,” she explained in a promotional video on the company website. “This is our effort to make the theater you see represent you and the world you see today and to change your perceptions on how you view theater.”
So tune in to perceptionstheatre.org to snag your ticket to the next play club meeting and join Chicago’s best place to read a play.
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