RACHEL by Angelina Weld Grimké

Grimké’s powerful play takes us inside the home of a family attempting to cope with the aftermath of the lynching of a father and son. In a year when the streets ring with chants of “Black Lives Matter,” RACHEL asks us to feel the quiet pain of a young black woman who doubts whether she can bear to bring more lives into a violent world. Courtney Harge directs.

Presented in repertory with Lynn Nottage's LAS MENINAS, both plays explore repressed histories and the fear of bringing children into unjust societies.

August 3 - 29, 2015
Irondale Center 
85 South Oxford Street 
Brooklyn, NY 11217

Director: Courtney Harge
Assistant Director: Wi-Moto Nyoka
Design Team: Courtney Nelson, Paul Hudson


SANTOYA FIELDS (Rachel Loving) was born in Saint Petersburg, Florida. She worked in television production for several years before transitioning to the other side of the camera and has acted in numerous television commercials. Stage credits include: Venus/Adonis Festival and Baby Hold On To Me: The Gerald Levert Musical. Films include The Confession (2011); the award winning Love Always, Eartha (2015), a short film on the life of actress and singer Eartha Kitt; and the upcoming web series Facing 30. Santoya studied at the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater, Brooklyn Music School with opera singer Lina Tetriani, Susan Batson Studio, and Marishka Phillips Preparatory Theater.

BONITA JACKSON (Mrs. Loving) has heard the call of storytelling and the stage since she was a young'un! She answered the call by obtaining a BFA in Acting with Distinction. NYC and regional stage credits include: Steal Away,NeatThe WizSaint Lucy's Eyes, and Black Footnotes. With a strong and undeniable passion for the performing arts, she is determined to continue her artistic journey in all areas of the craft. She gives all thanks to God, her family, and soulmate, for their endless, matchless, and supreme love and support! www.bonitacjackson.weebly.com

DAMONE WILLIAMS (Tom Loving) will make his NYC theatre debut in Rachel. Theatre includes: Battledrum (West Coast Premiere, Sierra Madre Playhouse), Hunger In Paradise (DC Black Theatre Festival), 11 x 8 1/2 Inches (African-American Collective Theater), for colored queer boys (DC Queer Theatre Festival), Romeo and Juliet (Romeo), A Midsummer Night's Dream (Lysander), Chuckleball (Sports Comedy Revue), Strings Attached (World Premiere). Film/TV: Middle of Nowhere (Ava DuVernay, Directing Award for U.S. Dramatic Feature, 2012 Sundance Film Festival),Gideon's Cross (Writer/Director, Official Selection: '14 Fusion LGBT People of Color Film Festival, '14 Outfest LGBT Film Festival), Put It In A BookCase 219Big Time Rush (Nickelodeon). Training: Atlantic Theater Company/Atlantic Acting School (NYC), Steppenwolf Theatre Company/Steppenwolf Classes West (Los Angeles). www.facebook.com/DamoneWilliamsOfficial

TEMESGEN TOCRURAY (John Strong) received his training from Texas Southern University. New York theatre: Three Sisters, Tulsa 1921  (The Applied Theater Collective), Rum for Sale (Signature Theater/Columbia Stages), Dijla Wal Furat (Poetic Theater Productions), A Street Scene (Brave New World Rep), Power of the Trinity (Summerstage), I Scream Out Loud (Downtown Urban Theater Festival). Film: RiotLimiters of HappinessThe AfterBrooklyn Haiku.

LAUREN LATTIMORE (Mrs. Lane) is excited about being a part of this historical piece of African American literature. NYC theatre credits include: Strange Fruit: Reading Series (The Jack Theater). Other stage credits include: Gwen Craig in Execution of Justice (New School for Drama), Mrs. Dickson in Intimate Apparel (New School for Drama), and Angel in Angels in America (Eastern Michigan University). MFA in Acting at the New School for Drama. She is a proud native of Detroit. www.facebook.com/ActressLaurenLattimore

ANGELINA WELD GRIMKÉ (Playwright) was born in 1880 to a family of suffragettes and abolitionists. She was a poet, teacher, and playwright who published her first poem at the age of thirteen. Her play Rachel was the first play by an African-American woman to be publicly staged when it premiered in 1916. Her work, much of it still unpublished, explores themes of unfulfilled love and racial injustice. Historians tell us that Grimké lived the last three decades of her life in isolation and celibacy at a time when being a lesbian of color restricted her options and safety in the world.


COURTNEY HARGE (Director) is a producer, director, and professional arts administrator originally from Saginaw, MI. She is the Founder and Artistic Director of Colloquy Collective, a theater company based out of Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. She has directed with SoYouSay, the Red Harlem Readers, JACK, and New Brooklyn Theatre. She has worked as an administrator and producer for Extant Arts, the Elaine Kaufman Cultural Center, Theater for the New City, The Public Theater, Gibney Dance, the New York Foundation for the Arts, and, currently, Fractured Atlas with a focus on institutional fundraising, crowdfunding, and fiscal sponsorship. She holds a Masters of Professional Studies, with Distinction, in Arts and Cultural Management from Pratt Institute and a Bachelors of Fine Arts with Honors from the University of Michigan in Theater Performance. Her credo (#HustlingKeepsYouSexy) is not merely a hashtag; it’s a way of life.

WI-MOTO NYOKA (Assistant Director) is a performer and playwright. Awards and honors include: artist in residence for Tanzhaus NRW Interdisciplinary Works; Puffin Foundation grant; the Brick’s Comic Book Theater Festival 2014 selected librettist for her project Hero How To; and Indie Boots Theater Festival Finalist & Audience Award Honorable Mention, 2015. She will be attending Brooklyn College's MFA program for Performance & Interactive Media Arts this fall. This is her maiden voyage as an assistant director, and she would like to thank Courtney Harge and New Brooklyn Theatre for such an amazing opportunity. wi-motonyoka.com

In the early 1900s, many Black playwrights wrote works about lynching -- usually family-centered dramas focused on the tensions leading up to a lynching, or the effect on the family after a lynching.  Given the renewed, legalized violence on black and brown bodies, JACK, in collaboration with Colloquy Collective, will present readings of five of these plays throughout the spring, with professional actors.  Each reading will be followed by a discussion.  In the age of #BlackLivesMatter, how do these stories still resonate with you?



Have you seen one any of the readings? 

Don't forget to tweet/text/Facebook your responses at #StrangeFruit and #TellingOurStories!




With a discussion immediately following.

*Prof. Koritha Mitchell (Ohio State University), an expert on anti-lynching plays and author of the book Living with Lynching: African American Lynching Plays, Performance, and Citizenship, 1890 - 1930 (University of Illinois Press, 2011) will lead the post-show discussion. 






February 10, 2015 Voices of New York. "Reviving Anti-Lynching Plays in Brooklyn"

February 26, 2015 Hyperallergic. "Early Anti-Lynching Plays, Read in Light of Ferguson"

April 17, 2015. NPR's Morning Edition. "Deaths Of Unarmed Black Men Revive 'Anti-Lynching Plays'"


More Information

Sunday, Feb. 8: Aftermath (1919), by Mary P. Burrill (1884-1946), tells the story of a young black soldier in World War I who comes back to rural South Carolina and learns that his father has been lynched by a white mob. He grabs his service revolver and leaves home to settle the score. 

Sunday, March 8: Corrie Crandall Howell's The Forfeit (1925) depicts a white woman who facilitates the lynching of a young black man for a crime her own son has committed, delivering the young black man into the hands of a lynch mob in order to save her son. It presents an uncommon dramatic portrayal of white motherhood that umasks the racist and gendered assumptions of white male dominance and lynch mob mentality.

Sunday, April 19:  In Georgia Douglas Johnson’s Blue-Eyed Black Boy (1930), a black mother attempts to avert the lynching of her son by revealing to a lynch mob that her son was the product of rape by the white governor. The play thrusts the issue of the sexual exploitation of the black woman into public discussion.  

Sunday, May 17: The harrowing play, Safe (1929), by Georgia Douglas Johnson, depicts Liza, a pregnant mother, going into labor. After news of the lynching of an innocent black boy in town, Liza falls into a panicking state while her baby is born, and after learning that her baby is a boy, does the unthinkable.  The reading will be followed by a discussion with Prof. Koritha Mitchell (Ohio State University), an expert on anti-lynching plays and author of the book Living with Lynching: African American Lynching Plays, Performance, and Citizenship, 1890 - 1930 (University of Illinois Press, 2011)

Sunday, June 7:  We're reading all of the plays, plus excerpts from RACHEL (1914), by Angelina Weld Grimké.

AFTERMATH (1919), by Mary P. Burrill
THE FORFEIT (1925), by Corrie Crandall Howell
BLUE-EYED BLACK BOY (1930), by Georgia Douglas Johnson
SAFE (1929), by Georgia Douglas Johnson
Excerpt from RACHEL (1914), by Angelina Weld Grimké

Part of JACK's series FORWARD FERGUSON, a season-long firehouse of arts and activism around racial justice. 

This is a past production. Photos from it can be found here.


By Diana Son

Colloquy Collective is producing another gripping play this spring, a follow up to its successful run of "Wine in the Wilderness". "Stop Kiss" by Diana Son is a beautifully complex story of love and its consequences. Check out www.kumbletheater.org for details. 

Subsidized studio space provided by the A.R.T./New York Creative Space Grant, supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

This program has ended. Please e-mail info@colloquy-collective.org if you are interested in a future session.

Welcome to COLLECTIVE CONTEXTS, a bridge between the audience and the work.

Twice a month we will discuss a different play, its themes, and its connections to our lives and experiences.


COLLECTIVE CONTEXTS is made possible with public funds from the Decentralization Program of the New York State Council on the Arts, administered in Kings County by Brooklyn Arts Council (BAC).

Colloquy Collective would also like to thank New Brooklyn Theater for its generous partnership and producing support. 

At A Glance

Cost: $20 including books; $10 without.

When: Tuesday Evenings, 7:30pm - 9:30pm 

3/18*, 4/1, 4/15, 4/29, 5/13, 5/27, and 6/10

Where: The New York Foundation for the Arts

(20 Jay Street - Suite 740; Brooklyn, NY 11201)

*FREE Opening Session and Reception

At our opening session you will be able choose what will be the theme and plays. It will be also be a great time to meet Colloquy Collective and the other participants! Light refreshments will be provided. 

Join us on our special Facebook Group!

Register by completing the form at the bottom of the page to simply RSVP.

Or just come to the first session!


Current theme: CHECKERED

The point-of-view of any play is important; it makes the play; it is the play. This theme explores the impact of author's telling stories featuring identity experiences that may not be their own. What does a play about Black people look like by a Caucasian writer or vice-versa? Does that change what is acceptable? Does that alter how it is perceived? Let’s examine the nuances of a play about one group written by another. This session will examine the assumptions, realities, and hopes presented in each play. Plays read will be:

Superior Donuts by Tracey Letts

The play follows an employer and employee of a doughnut shop who quarrel about change.

Clybourne Park by Bruce Norris

The historically relevant piece re-imagines the world of Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun speaking on modern issues of gentrification and race.

Spinning into Butter by Rebecca Gilman

Set on a college campus in Vermont, this play follows the liberal dean of students named Sarah Daniels who investigates the pinning of anonymous, clearly racist letters on the door of one of the college's few African American students.

The Emperor Jones by Eugene O’Neill

Tells the tale of Brutus Jones, an African-American man who kills a man, goes to prison, escapes to a Caribbean island, and sets himself up as emperor.

In the Red and Brown Water by Tarell Alvin McCraney

When the track star Oya meets a handsome man, she is thrust into an emotional tailspin. 

Cold Keener by Zora Neale Hurston

As part of New Brooklyn Theatre's READ REVIVE RECLAIM seriesm Colloquy Collective presented a reading of a little-known Zora Neale Hurston work, Cold Keener (1930). This work is a revue of nine skits that challenge the minstrelsy movement of the period. In it, Hurston incorporates African American folklore, political commentary, and humor to upend traditional representations of African Americans in drama. More information can be found here.

A Photograph: Lovers in Motion by Ntozake Shange

In partnership with New Brooklyn Theatre and the Bed-Stuy Alive Festival, Colloquy Collective presented a reading of a volatile Ntozake Shange work, A Photograph: Lovers In Motion. From the pen of the Bed-Stuy-based author of For Colored Girls…, A Photograph: Lovers in Motion is a play about commitment: an artist’s commitment to his work, a woman’s commitment to a man, a dancer’s commitment to her spirit. The artist’s photographs become the permanent records of fleeting moments when those commitments collide. More information can be found here.

Wine in the Wilderness by Alice Childress

Wine in the Wilderness Alice Childress had a successful reading in October 2012 in preparation for its fully-staged production. This under-produced play was well received by new audiences and proved a lightning rod for a dynamic talk-back. When Wine in the Wilderness was officially staged from March 7 - 17, 2013, it received a great reception throughout the production run. Photos are available here.