June 17, 2020
Susan Goes, Executive Director, 541-942-8001
Local Theatres Team-Up for a Juneteenth Theatre Justice Project Reading of Polar Bears, Black Boys & Prairie Fringed Orchids by Vincent Terrell Durham
Livestreamed reading on Friday, June 19, 2020 at 7:00 pm
EUGENE, OREGON – Several area theatres join forces to present a reading of Vincent Terrell Durham’s bold new play, Polar Bears, Black Boys & Prairie Fringed Orchids. Local collaborators include Cottage Theatre, Lane Community College Theatre Department, Oregon Contemporary Theatre (OCT), Minority Voices Theatre and Very Little Theatre (VLT). The event will be livestreamed on Friday, June 19 at 7:00 pm and will be available for free on Zoom, Facebook Live and YouTube.
On Friday, Juneteenth, (June 19th), local artists stand with the Juneteenth Theatre Justice Project and dozens of theatre communities across the nation to respond to our current moment—the civil uprising that has come as a reaction to the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and countless others before them—with simultaneous, free presentations of Polar Bears, Black Boys & Prairie Fringed Orchids by Vincent Terrell Durham. Stanley Coleman will direct a local reading, featuring actors from throughout the area.
A liberal white couple open the doors of their renovated Harlem brownstone to host a cocktail party for a Black Lives Matter activist, his gay white lover, a sistah named Shemeka and the mother of a slain 12-year-old black boy. A night of cocktails and conversation spark emotional debates ranging from under-weight polar bears, Lana Turner, saving the planet, gentrification, racial identity and protecting the lives of black boys. With a perfect blend of wit, pathos and humor, the play speaks to some of the most pressing subjects of our time—gentrification, white fragility, the Black Lives Matter movement, and police violence against Black bodies.
Content warning: intended for mature audiences, this play include discussions and representations of racism and police violence. The startling and powerful ending drives home the emotions of our world today.
Vincent Terrell Durham (Playwright) is a scriptwriter, author and poet who first honed his storytelling skills as a stand-up comic in clubs across the country. His plays include The Fertile River, Vol. 1, A Post Racial America, and Polar Bears, Black Boys & Prairie Fringed Orchids, among others. Polar Bears, Black Boys & Prairie Fringed Orchids was co-commissioned and developed by PlayGround and Planet Earth Arts and is a 2019 NNPN National Showcase of New Plays finalist.
The Juneteenth Theatre Justice Project was launched by San Francisco Bay theatre artist Aldo Billingslea to center Black theatre artists and new voices, address systemic racism in the theatre industry and help raise much needed funds in support of Black Theatres around the country.
Polar Bears, Black Boys & Prairie Fringed Orchids will be available online for one night only, Friday, June 19, at 7:00 pm. Audiences can access the event on Zoom, or via Cottage Theatre’s website. The event is free, with donations encouraged to the Lorraine Hansberry Theatre Fund for Black Theatres in the U.S.
For more information, visit www.cottagetheatre.org/juneteenth-project.