Rogue Machine Theatre at The Met
Los Angeles, CA
Opens: July 10, 2017
Closes: July 31, 2017
“OVATION Recommended” “TOP TEN” – Stage Raw
GO! – LA Weekly “Don’t miss this chance to see it” – KCRW
Lorraine Hansberry considered this to be her most important play. It was her final work. Les Blancs depicts the waning days of colonialism crossing into the 20th century as it reveals the impossible moral choices faced by individuals who must reconcile personal happiness with idealism. It is rich with music and dance and set in and around a mission compound in Africa. The time is yesterday, today, and tomorrow– but not very long after that.
“When Lorraine Hansberry wrote this piece she set the story in Africa but it deeply resonates with the civil rights movement in the United States, including gender equality. It’s astonishingly current in terms of equality issues, and I really can’t think of another play out there that combines all the same elements, over such a vast landscape, and stays so brilliantly relevant” – Gregg T. Daniel; Director
Playwright Lorraine Hansberry was the first black playwright to have work produced on Broadway (A Raisin in the Sun – 1959). She became the youngest American, and only the fifth woman to win the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award. In 1965, Lorraine Hansberry died of cancer at age 34. As if prescient, in the six years she had between the triumph of her first play and her death, she was extraordinarily prolific. Her second play to be produced on Broadway, The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window, was in its early run to mixed reviews, when Hansberry died; the curtain came down on that date. To Be Young, Gifted, and Black, an autobiographical portrait in her own words adapted by her former husband and literary executor Robert Nemiroff, was posthumously produced in 1969 and toured across the country. In 1970, Les Blancs, her play about the inevitability of struggle between colonizers and the colonized in Africa, and the impending crisis that would surely grow out of it, ran on Broadway.
Director Gregg T. Daniel is a recipient of the NAACP Best Director award for the International City Theatre’s production of Fences. The production received nominations from the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle, Ovation and Stage Scene LA. Selected credits include L.A. premiere of Honky by Greg Kalleres for Rogue Machine Theatre (LADCC Award nominee for Best Director – Comedy), a revival of Alice Childress,’ , A Love/Hate Story in Black and White for the Antaeus Company (Winner 2014 Stage Raw Award for Best Revival and Best Ensemble), Frank McGuinness’s Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me (Broadway World Award nominee for Best Director), and the West Coast premiere of Kwawe Kwei-Armah’s, Elimina’s Kitchen (NAACP Award for Best Ensemble) for Lower Depth Theatre Ensemble where he is a founding member and Artistic Director.
Cast: Amir Abdullah (Peter), Bill Brochtrup (Major Rice), Anne Gee Byrd (Mm Neilsen), Aric Floyd (Eric), Fiona Hardingham (Marta), Jason McBeth (Charlie), Matt Orduña (Abioseh), Jonathan P. Sims (Ngago), Joel Swetow (Dr. Willy), Desean Kevin Terry (Tshembe), and ensemble cast.
Les Blancs has been extended to run on Saturdays and Mondays at 8:00pm, Sundays at 3:00pm through July 31, 2017. Rogue Machine is located at The Met, 1089 N Oxford Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90029. Tickets are $40. Reservations: 855-585-5185 or at www.roguemachinetheatre.com
"The spectre of playwright Lorraine Hansberry, who tragically died of pancreatic cancer in 1965 at age 34 before this play was finished, permeates this long, long overdue mounting of "Les Blancs," the ultimate masterpiece capping her brief but brilliant career. It is long and gritty and epic, which is surely why it has been so long ignored despite its continuing importance, but Rogue Machine and director Gregg T. Daniel have taken it on in its difficult uncut state and, adding a dynamic cast and brilliant production designs, have simply made it the highlight of the season for LA theatre."
"Overall, Les Blancs is an outstanding production, adeptly directed by Gregg T. Daniel, with a great set by Stephanie Kerley Schwartz and costuming by Wendell C. Carmichael."
"Here's a play that wouldn't be done at a larger theater both because of it's politics and cast size - that’s beautifully produced in a small theater. Les Blancs is a play that, were it written by a white playwright, would be considered one of the classics of the 20th century. Don't miss this chance to see it."
"Left unfinished at her death, Lorraine Hansberry's play Les Blancs was completed by her husband, Robert Nemiroff, and posthumously produced on Broadway in 1970. Despite a strong cast featuring James Earl Jones, the production was not a success, and the play quickly fell into obscurity. Rogue Machine’s riveting new production makes a powerful case that the play has been unjustly neglected."
"For several reasons this is an experience theatergoers should not miss. It is the final work of one of our great American playwrights, who reportedly considered this her most important play. And it is so powerfully staged and acted. Rogue Machine Theatre has given it its full due. This is a rare and memorable experience."
"Director Gregg T. Daniel has done a superb job of conveying the multiple, complex dynamics - some on the surface and some far beneath - of this motley group of people who come together in a small, simple mid-twentieth century village setting."
"This thoughtful and well mounted production deserves an audience. The polemic is transparent. Hansberry's characters hold few surprises, but the work is excellent.. excellent theatre."
"That “Les Blancs” remains unfinished is just one of the tragedies of Hansberry’s premature death, but Rogue Machine’s vivid, well-acted production brings her work to life."
"Every bit as relevant and resonant as it was when Lorraine Hansberry first put pen to paper over fifty years ago, Les Blancs can occasionally be a bit of a tough go, but those who accompany its characters on their journey towards its gut-punching climax will be richly rewarded."
"Lorraine Hansberry’s Les Blancs is set in colonial Africa sometime in the mid–20th century, and while much has changed since then, the play’s moral dilemmas and the racism and hypocrisy that give rise to them remain with us."