The Congo Square Theater Company, GRAY and The Rebuild Foundation at Theaster Gates are proud to announce that the Chicago premiere of What to Send Up When It Goes Down, by award-winning playwright Aleshea Harris, has been extended by popular demand with three performances. at the Rebuild Foundation’s Stony Island Arts Bank (6760 S. Stony Island Avenue) from April 21 to May 7, 2022. This run follows the critically acclaimed first weeks of performance at GRAY Chicago which opened March 31.
Described as a celebration of play, ritual and coming home, What to Send Up When It Goes Down responds to the wanton loss of black lives and interrupts the narratives that allow racialized violence to pervade our lives. society.
What to Send Up When It Goes Down is a participatory, transformative experience aimed at creating space for collective catharsis, cleansing and healing. The performance unfolds as a series of vignettes that employ a variety of forms, including parody, song, movement, and facilitated dialogue. Breaking the fourth wall, cast members interpret the script differently in each performance, as audience members are invited to not only see the play as spectators, but to be part of the current that holds the story together.
This intimate and interactive 90-minute work is co-directed by Congo Square Artistic Director Ericka Ratcliff and Ensemble member Daniel Bryant and features Ensemble members Ronald L. Conner and Anthony Irons as well as Jos N Banks, McKenzie Chinn, Victor Musoni, Alexandria Moorman, and Penelope Walker. Other members of the creative team include Sarah Grace Goldman (Playwright), Estrellita Edwell (Production/Tour Manager & Technical Director), Sydney Lynne Thomas (Set & Props Designer), Alexis Chaney (Costume/Wig/Makeup Designer) and Levert “Levi” Wilkins (lighting designer).
What to Send Up When It Goes Down intends to create space for as many Black identifying audience members as possible and was created for Black audiences, but all are welcome.
From April 21 through May 1, What to Send Up When It Goes Down will air as follows: Thursday and Friday nights at 7:30 p.m.; Saturdays at 2.30 p.m. and 7.30 p.m.; and Sunday at 2:30 p.m. The three additional performances take place from Thursday to Saturday, May 5 to 7, at 7:30 p.m. In order to maintain the integrity of the production and the intimacy of the venue, only 50 guests will be welcomed at each performance. Tickets are priced at $35.00. An equal number of tickets for each performance will be given to members of community groups and schools. Tickets are now on sale by visiting congosquaretheatre.org/whattosendup For group ticket enquiries, please contact [email protected].
Please note that all ticket holders must present proof of COVID-19 vaccination and photo ID to enter the venues.
Is God Is by Aleshea Harris (directed by Taibi Tagar at Soho Rep and Ola Ince at the Royal Court) won the Relentless Award and an OBIE Award. What to Send Up When It Goes Down (directed by Whitney White, produced by The Movement Theater Company, BAM and Playwrights Horizons) was featured in the April 2019 issue of American Theater Magazine and received a Susan Award Special Mention Smith Blackburn. His illustrated audio play BROTHER, BROTHER (dir. Shayok Misha Chowdhury, illustrated by Ibrahim Rayintakath) premiered at NYTW in the summer of 2020. Awards include the Windham-Campbell Literary Prize, Mimi Steinberg Playwriting Award, Hermitage Greenfield Prize and the Horton Foote Playwriting Award.
Rebuild Foundation is a platform for art, cultural development and neighborhood transformation. Its Stony Island Arts Bank is a hybrid gallery, media archive, library, community center and home for the Foundation’s archives and collections. Led by artist and social innovator Theaster Gates, our projects support artists and strengthen communities by providing free arts programming, creating new cultural amenities, and developing affordable housing, studios, and workspaces. Rebuild’s mission is to make art accessible by demonstrating the impact of innovative, ambitious and entrepreneurial artistic and cultural initiatives. The work is guided by three core values: Black people matter, black spaces matter, and black things matter. Learn more about our work at www.rebuild-foundation.org.
Inspired by the creativity of artists and the passion of collectors, GRAY is a team of globally recognized art professionals dedicated to fostering the development of historically significant artist careers and building exceptional art collections. Founded in 1963, GRAY has built its reputation as a resource for modern, post-war and contemporary art with leading private and institutional clients around the world. Known for producing critically acclaimed exhibitions and programming its galleries in Chicago and New York, GRAY represents a roster of internationally acclaimed artists such as McArthur Binion, Jim Dine, Torkwase Dyson, Theaster Gates, David Hockney , Rashid Johnson, Alex Katz, Jaume Plensa, Susan Rothenberg and Evelyn Statsinger. For more information, visit www.richardgraygallery.com.
One of the country’s leading African-American theaters, the Congo Square Theater Company, led by Executive Director Charlique C. Rolle and Artistic Director Ericka Ratcliff, is an ensemble dedicated to producing transformative works rooted in the African Diaspora . We are a haven for artists of color to challenge and redefine the theatrical canon by amplifying and creating stories that reflect the scope and complexities of black culture. Congo Square is one of only two African American Actors’ Equity theater companies in Chicago. Founded in 1999, Congo Square aimed to provide a platform for black artists to perform and showcase classic and new works that exemplify the majesty, diversity and intersectionality of African diaspora stories. Congo Square has become one of the most respected African-American theaters in the country. Previously mentored by two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright August Wilson, Congo Square has continued to cultivate talents such as playwright Chadwick Boseman (Black Panther), who wrote the 2006 Jeff-nominated play Deep Azure, and the playwright Lydia Diamond, who wrote the critically acclaimed Stick Fly, a hugely successful play that explores racial, class and family friction. Stick Fly eventually aired on Broadway and is currently being developed into a full series for HBO with Alicia Keys serving as producer. Congo Square also produced the acclaimed Seven Guitars, which would eventually win Best Ensemble, Best Direction and Best Production honors at the 2005 Joseph Jefferson Awards. first African-American theater company to receive such an honor.
Congo Square’s educational programs bring the impact of theater to young audiences. Its outreach programs, CORE (Curriculum Objectives Residency Enrichment) and CAST (Congo After School Theatre), present and teach theater arts by offering classroom and after-school residencies that allow teaching artists to build on the Chicago Public Schools’ already established literature and art programs. . CORE and CAST impact students and schools located on the south and west sides of the city
For more information on Congo Square Theater Company or its production of What to Send Up When It Goes Down, please call 773-296-1108 or visit www.congosquaretheatre.org.