On Sept. 8, Rogue Machine Theater presents the American premiere of American Saga – Gunshot Medley: Part 1 by playwright Dionna Michelle Daniel (Theater BFA 17). In 2017, Gunshot Medley received widespread acclaim during a month-long run at Edinburgh Festival Fringe, and it was included in the second edition of the anthology Contemporary Plays by Women of Color.
Directed by Desean Kevin Terry, Gunshot Medley is a lyrical, mystical play that addresses deep-seated racial tensions in the United States. It’s set in a North Carolina graveyard that’s haunted by the ghosts of Betty, Alvis and George, three historically documented slaves who died before The Emancipation Proclamation was signed. An ever-present fourth character, the High Priestess of Souls, awakens the three, inciting action and social change in the present day.
With live Appalachian folk music and gospel spirituals, Gunshot Medley weaves a rich history of the Black American experience, the historical expendability of Black bodies and the lives lost to hatred, racism and police brutality.
The cast includes OBIE award winner Cherise Booth and Mildred Langford alternating as Betty, Jon Chaffin and Donathan Walters alternating as George, Derek Jackson (Theater BFA 20) as Alvis, and Sha’Leah Nikole as the High Priestess of Souls.
Daniel currently works at The Fountain Theater where she focuses on educational programming and community engagement as the Outreach Coordinator. She is also a youth instructor teaching creative writing at the Boyle Heights Arts Conservatory through CalArts Community Arts Partnership (CAP).
In her bio Daniel writes:
Theater that is rooted in social activism has always been a passion of mine. I believe that art, especially live performance, has the potential to dramatically change hearts and minds. Theater has the ability to plant the seeds of empathy, inquiry, and discussion. From those seeds, real social change begins.
Founded in 2008, Rogue Machine Theatre is an award-winning performing arts organization serving the greater Los Angeles community through the development of new, invigorating contemporary works from Los Angeles-based playwrights. They won the 2017 Ovation Award for “Best Season” and received, for the second time, the Polly Warfield Award for an Excellent Season from the LA Drama Critics Circle – 2016 and 2011.
Gunshot Medley: Part I runs through Sept. 23 at the MET Theater in Los Angeles with performances on Fridays, Saturdays and Mondays at 8 pm and Sundays at 2 pm (additional performance added on Thurs., Sept. 20 at 8 pm). It then moves for a two week run at the WLCAC Theatre in Los Angeles beginning on Friday, Oct. 5, with performances on Fridays and Saturdays at 8 pm, and Sundays at 2 pm through Oct. 14.
Learn more about American Saga-Gunshot Medley: Part I in a video from Rogue Machine Theatre:
Rogue Machine Theater Presents American Saga-Gunshot Medley: Part I
Opening: 8 pm on Saturday, Sept. 8
Schedule: Fridays, Saturdays, and Mondays at 8 pm, Sundays at 2 pm through September 23
Rogue Machine in The Met Theatre
1089 N Oxford Avenue, Los Angeles, CA
Opening: 8 pm on Friday, Oct. 5
Schedule: Fridays and Saturdays at 8 pm, Sundays at 2 pm through Oct. 14
The WLCAC Theatre
10950 S. Central Ave, Los Angeles, CA