Amelia Workman

Afrofemononomy Will Offer In-Person Presentations of Begin The Beguine in NYC and OaklandBY DAN MEYER

APR 23, 2021 The Black femme theatre artists collaboration will also premiere member Eisa Davis’ The Essentialisn’t.

Lileana Blain-Cruz, Eisa Davis, and Jackie Sibblies Drury

The Black femme theatre artists collaboration Afrofemononomy will offer a number of in-person presentations this May across New York City and in Oakland, California, through its Work the Roots project. Among the works are the previously announced exploration of Kathleen Collins’ Begin The Beguine and The Essentialisn’t by Eisa Davis.

Starting earlier this year, the group—which includes Davis, Lileana Blain-Cruz, Charlotte Brathwaite, Jackie Sibblies Drury, Ayesha Jordan, Joie Lee, April Matthis, Jennifer Harrison Newman, Okwui Okpokwasili, Stacey Karen Robinson, and Kaneza Schaal—has been meeting to explore the late Collins’ 1984 quartet of unproduced one-acts and Davis’ music-theatre project. Both works are questions of societal strains on Black women’s physical and mental health as well as concomitant expectations of performance—questions the group engages through their own model of care and liberation.

Amelia Workman

The one-acts begin May 15 with The Reading at Performance Space New York in a piece by Blain-Cruz, Newman, Amelia Workman, Kara Young, and Gabby Beans. That same day, on a Central Park bench in Harlem, Matthis and Robinson will perform Begin the Beguine, an offering created with Brathwaite.