Little Black Shadows
by ​Kemp Powers
directed by ​May Adrales
WORLD PREMIERE
JULIANNE ARGYROS STAGE
April 8, 2018 - April 29, 2018

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“We is shadows. And shadows is seen, not heard.” In pre-Civil war Georgia, Toy and Colis spend long days on the plantation silently serving adolescent twins Mittie and Daniel. But in the dead of night their world comes alive, as they lie beneath their masters’ beds whispering stories to each other through a vent in the wall. When Father announces the family is moving to Louisiana, the children face uncertain futures. Do they dare come out of the shadows? A compelling testament to the power of the human spirit from one of America’s most promising playwrights.

Previews: April 8–12, 2018
First Night: April 13, 2018
Regular Performances: April 14–29, 2018

Recommendation: High school and above. Contains adult language, haze effects and the smoking of electronic cigarettes.

Running Time: Approximately ​one hours and​ ​45 ​minutes with no intermission.

Kemp Powers is a playwright, screenwriter and storyteller. His plays include One Night in Miami…, The Two Reds, Christa McAuliffe’s Eyes Were Blue and A Negro by Choice. He received the 2013 Ted Schmitt Award for Outstanding New Play for the world premiere of One Night in Miami in Los Angeles. That production also won three LA Drama Critics Circle Awards, four NAACP Theatre Awards and an LA Weekly Theater Award. One Night’s 2016 production at London’s Donmar Warehouse was nominated for an Olivier Award for Best New Play. Powers’ work has been developed at South Coast Repertory, Denver Center Theatre, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, the Classical Theatre of Harlem and Rogue Machine Theatre. In television, he was most recently a writer for “Star Trek: Discovery” (CBS All Access). He has toured nationally as a storyteller for the Peabody Award-winning series, “The Moth,” and was one of the 50 storytellers selected for publication in their New York Times-bestselling book, The Moth: 50 True Stories (Hyperion Press). Powers is a founding member of The Temblors, a producing playwrights collective in Los Angeles, where he resides. 

Learn more about the production, cast & creative team with a peek into the program. Read full artist bios, in-depth articles and more.

Cast
Adams
Giovanni Adams (Colis) is an alumnus of the Pacific Playwrights Festival and is excited to return. He recently played Neil in Donald Margulies’ The Model Apartment at Geffen Playhouse and Frederick Douglass in Mount Misery at Cutting Ball Theater in San Francisco. He was in the world premiere of Kemp Powers’ One Night in Miami (Rogue Machine Theatre, LA Drama Critics Circle Award and NAACP Theatre Award for Best Ensemble). He has participated in the Bay Area Playwrights Festival, where he worked on Tearrance Arvelle Chisholm’s Br’er Cotton and Hooded, or Being Black for Dummies and the Writer’s Workshop Retreat at Center Theatre Group. His other stage credits include The Recommendation and Bela Lugosi’s Dead (IAMA Theatre Company) and Miss Julie and King Lear (Yale Repertory Theatre). Recently, his solo show, Love Is A Dirty Word, developed in collaboration with Becca Wolff, premiered at VS Theatre and received Ovation and LA Drama Critics Circle awards recognition. His film and television credits include Nina, “Criminal Minds,” “Zach Stone is Gonna Be Famous,” “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Gary Unmarried.” Adams was born in Jackson, Miss., and received his BA from Yale University.

Bellusci, Daniel
​Daniel ​Bellusci (Daniel) is excited to be returning to SCR after appearing as Prince Charmont in the Theatre for Young Audiences production of Ella Enchanted earlier this season. His regional appearances include Bobby Strong in Urinetown (Coeurage Theatre Company); Matt in The Fantasticks (Sierra Madre Playhouse); Cookie in Nice Work If You Can Get It, Joey Primo in Rock of Ages and Tyler in Merrily We Roll Along (Summer Repertory Theatre); and Billy in Hit Song! (world premiere, El Portal Theatre). Bellusci was the first-place winner of LA’s Next Great Stage Star 2017 (The Colony Theatre).

Doerr
Mark Doerr (Father) is pleased to be back at SCR where he was previously seen in Ameryka (Critical Mass Performance Group), Track 3 and Big Shot (both with Theatre Movement Bazaar, or TMB, before touring the U.K., China and Russia) as part of the Studio SCR series. He appeared on Broadway in The Visit with Jane Alexander and off-Broadway in Sharon: The Musical, adapted/directed by Geraldine Fitzgerald. His SoCal work includes Mirette (MainStreet Theatre Company), The Treatment (TMB/ The Theatre @ Boston Court, Ovation and LA Weekly Award nominations); Peace In Our Time and The Malcontent (Antaeus Theatre Company); White People and Lady (The Road Theatre, Ovation and LA Weekly Award nominations); Liberty Inn: The Musical (Andak Stage); Ruby, Tragically Rotund (Playwrights Arena) and The Wasps (Lost Studios). His film and television credits include Red Tails, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II, Life at the Resort, Fortress, “Leverage,” “Mad Men,” “Bones,” “Criminal Minds,” “CSI: NY” and “Lie To Me.” A Juilliard School graduate, he studied Shakespeare in Oxford, Chekov in Moscow and musical theatre in Ann Arbor. Doerr has been a member of Actors’ Equity Association since 1992. Find more delicious tidbits: markdoerr.com.

Mirto,-Elyse
Elyse Mirto (​​​​​Mother) made her SCR debut earlier this season in Shakespeare in Love as Queen Elizabeth. Her LA theatre credits include Les Liaisons Dangereuses and As You Like It at Antaeus Theatre Company; Collective Rage at The Theatre @ Boston Court; Barbecue at Geffen Playhouse; Figaro (LA Drama Critics Circle Award nomination), A Flea in Her Ear and The Guardsman at A Noise Within; Conviction (Ovation Award nomination) at Rubicon Theatre Company; Steel Magnolias at Laguna Playhouse; and Twelfth Night, Hamlet, Romeo & Juliet and Much Ado About Nothing at Kingsmen Shakespeare Festival. Her New York credits include White’s Lies (off-Broadway), Any Day Now (New York Innovative Theatre Award-winner, lead actress), Next Year in Jerusalem (New York Innovative Theatre Award nomination), Catch the Fish and The Eternal Husband. Her Chicago credits include Goodman Theatre and Chicago Shakespeare Theatre. Her recent television credits include “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Scandal,” “NCIS,” “Malibu Gothic” and a recurring guest-starring role on TNT’s “The Last Ship.” She has appeared in numerous films and more than 25 national commercials. Mirto is a Detroit native who studied at the Royal National Theatre of Great Britain and has a BFA in music theatre performance from Western Michigan University.

Pink
​​​​​Chauntae Pink (​​​Toy) appeared at SCR previously in the Pacific Playwrights Festival reading of Little Black Shadows. She is very excited to be working on this dynamic piece of theatre and with such an outstanding cast. Pink is an Afro-Caribbean actress from East Flatbush, New York. A recent graduate of UCLA’s School of Theatre, Film and Television, she got her start doing summer stock theatre in Valdosta, Ga. Her theatre credits include The Unauthorized Musical Parody of Scream (Rockwell Table & Stage) and the LA Times Critics Choice, Bulrusher (Skylight Theatre Company and Lower Depth Theatre Ensemble). Her television guest appearances include CBS’ “Two Broke Girls,” “Franklin and Bash” on TNT, Nickelodeon’s “School of Rock” and, most recently, ABC digital’s “American Koko” produced by Viola Davis. Pink was featured in the box office hit, Straight Outta Compton, and returned to the big screen with a supporting role in Lake Bell’s I Do... Until I Don’t with Ed Helms and Amber Heard.

Yetter
​​​​​​​Emily Yetter (​​​​​Mittie) is thrilled to return to South Coast Repertory in Little Black Shadows. Yetter previously appeared in SCR’s Theatre for Young Audiences productions of The Night Fairy, as the title character, and OZ 2.5, as the character of Dee. Her other credits include Regan McNeil in Geffen Playhouse’s The Exorcist, Tinker Bell in Theater Threesixty’s national tour of Peter Pan, Walt Disney Concert Hall’s Bolero, Ravel’s Dance for Orchestra, Portland Center Stage’s Oregon Trail as Mary Anne, The Odyssey’s award-winning Tempest Redux as Ariel and, most recently, Aviron Group’s horror-immersive production, The Strangers Experience, as the lead. On screen, she has appeared in various national commercials, the final season of “Grimm,” Warner Bros. Project X, Geek and Sundry’s “Spooked,” and Go90’s “Relationship Goals.” She trained at UCLA’s School of Theatre, Film and Television and the British American Drama Academy. emilyyetter.com
Creative Team
May Adrales (Director) is thrilled to be back at SCR, having directed Vietgone and the PPF reading of Little Black Shadows. Her work has been seen at Lincoln Center Theater, Signature Theatre, Manhattan Theatre Club, Second Stage Theatre, Milwaukee Repertory Theater, Goodman Theatre, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Portland Center Stage, Seattle Repertory Theatre, Syracuse Stage, Cleveland Play House, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Pioneer Theatre and Two River Theater. She serves as associate artistic director at Milwaukee Repertory Theatre. She is a former director of on-site programs at the Lark Play Development Center and artistic associate at The Public Theater. She holds an MFA from the Yale School of Drama, is an adjunct faculty member at Yale and Brown universities, and holds fellowships with The Drama League, New York Theatre Workshop and Second Stage for Directing. She has directed at NYU, Bard College, The Juilliard School and Fordham University. Yale School of Drama. www.mayadrales.net

David M. Barber (Scenic Design) is making his SCR design debut. His New York credits include The Most Deserving (Women’s Project Theater, world premiere), The Orphans’ Home Cycle (Signature Theatre, world premiere), ’Tis Pity She’s a Whore and Women Beware Women (Red Bull Theater) and The Vandal (The Flea Theater, world premiere). Regionally, he has worked at Denver Center for the Performing Arts, Hartford Stage, Center Stage Baltimore, Pittsburgh Public Theater, American Repertory Theater, Two River Theater, Great Lakes Theater, Idaho Shakespeare Festival, Contemporary American Theater Festival, Jacob’s Pillow Festival, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Barrington Stage and others. His television work includes art direction for E! Entertainment, “The Today Show,” “Football Night in America,” production design for the pilot “Fashion Mega Warriors” (produced by Tyra Banks) and the live simulcast of “Woodstock ’99.” His film work includes production and costume design for the films All Relative, Day 39 and Double Header. He has received the Drama Desk, Henry Hewes, Connecticut Critics Circle, Denver Ovation, Denver Critics Circle and Westword’s Best of Denver awards, and his work was selected to represent the U.S. at the Prague Quadrennial (1999). davidmbarber.com


Sara Ryung Clement (Costume Design) returns to SCR where her past projects include costumes for Cambodian Rock Band, A Doll’s House, Part 2, 4000 Miles, Completeness and Becky Shaw; sets and costumes for How the World Began; and the set design for Absurd Person Singular. Her upcoming projects include Human Error at the Denver Center Theatre Company and the world premiere of Idris Goodwin’s The Way the Mountain Moved at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Her work has been seen off-Broadway at Second Stage Uptown and regionally at Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Geffen Playhouse, Seattle Repertory, La Jolla Playhouse POP Tour, Mixed Blood, TheatreWorks, Center Stage Baltimore, The Theatre @ Boston Court, Perseverance Theatre, East West Players, Cornerstone Theater Company, A Noise Within, Yale Repertory Theatre, Native Voices at the Autry and others. She is on the set design faculty at UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television and is a recipient of the Donald and Zorca Oenslager Fellowship in Design. She earned a MFA at Yale School of Drama and an AB from Princeton University. sararyungclement.com

Elizabeth Harper (Lighting Design) returns to SCR, where she previously designed District Merchants, Office Hour, Venus in Fur, tokyo fish story and Reunion. Her other design credits include Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and Immediate Family (Mark Taper Forum); A Raisin in the Sun, Woman Laughing Alone with Salad and Throw Me on the Burnpile and Light Me Up (Kirk Douglas Theatre); Play Dead, Wait Until Dark, Bad Jews and Good People (Geffen Playhouse); The Twentieth-Century Way and The Golden Dragon (Ovation Award, The Theatre @ Boston Court); and Crescent City (The Industry). She served as a technical consultant for installations at Los Angeles County Museum of Art and Greene Naftali. Her industrial lighting projects include events for Microsoft, On-Live, Ubisoft and Universal Studios. Harper holds an MFA in design for stage and film from Tisch School of the Arts at New York University. She is a guest lighting design instructor and lecturer at CalArts.

Charles Coes (Sound Design and Original Music) is happy to return to SCR, where he previously co-designed The Tempest and All the Way. He has designed shows at Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Playwrights Horizons, Baltimore Center Stage, Yale Repertory Theatre, Seattle Repertory Theatre, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, The Old Globe, Guthrie Theater, Shakespeare Theatre Company, ArtsEmerson, Wilma Theatre, Two River Theater, North Shore Music Theatre, Williamstown Theatre Festival, HERE Arts Center, Ford’s Theatre, Dallas Theater Center, Roundabout Theater Company and Huntington Theatre Company. He designed tours for Phoenix Entertainment and The Acting Company and has designed aerial, robotic and aquatic spectaculars for Royal Caribbean, Puppet UP! (The Venetian, Las Vegas) and collaborated on installations with artists Anne Hamilton, Abelardo Morel and Luis Roldan. He has worked as an associate on 20 Broadway shows including Peter and the Starcatcher (Tony Award, Sound Design), Lobby Hero and Junk. He has a very sweet dog named Max, whose bark may appear in the show. He teaches at the Yale School of Drama.

Nathan A. Roberts (Sound Design and Original Music) is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, instrument-maker and sound designer who specializes in creating original music and soundscapes for plays, often live onstage. His previous work at SCR includes All the Way; his upcoming work includes The Way the Mountain Moved (Oregon Shakespeare Festival). His other regional credits include Animal Farm (Baltimore Center Stage/Milwaukee Repertory Theater), Sense and Sensibility (Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Guthrie Theater, Dallas Theater Center), The Christians and Les Liaisons Dangereuses (Baltimore Center Stage), Assassins (Yale Repertory Theatre), tokyo fish story (The Old Globe, Craig Noel Award), In the Next Room, or the vibrator play (Syracuse Stage), Accidental Death of an Anarchist (Yale Repertory Theatre/Berkeley Repertory Theatre), Our Town and The Widow Lincoln (Ford’s Theatre, Helen Hayes Award nomination), Twelfth Night and The Tempest (Hartford Stage), The Servant of Two Masters (Seattle Repertory Theatre, Guthrie Theater, Shakespeare Theatre, Yale Repertory Theatre), Julius Caesar and Macbeth (The Acting Company) and It’s a Wonderful Life (Long Wharf Theatre). Roberts earned his MFA from the Yale School of Drama, and teaches in the theater studies program of Yale University.

Hana S. Kim (Projection and Puppet Design) is a Los Angeles-based projection designer for live performances. Her recent design credits includes Steal a Pencil for Me directed by Omer Ben Seadia (Opera Colorado), Weightless directed by Becca Wolff (Z Space), Eva Trilogy directed by Loretta Greco (Magic Theatre) and The Christians directed by Hana Sharif (Baltimore Center Stage). She is a 2018 Richard E. Sherwood Award recipient from Center Theatre Group, a member of United Scenic Artists, Local 829, and recipient of Princess Grace Award in theatre design. Her designs have won a Helen Hayes Award, Stage Raw Awards, StageSceneLA Awards and Bay Area Theater Critics Circle Awards. For her portfolio, please visit hananow.com

Kimberly Colburn (Dramaturg) is SCR’s literary director, co-director of PPF and leads the theatre’s CrossRoads Initiative. Her recent dramaturgical work includes the world premiere productions of Going to a Place where you Already Are by Bekah Brunstetter, Orange by Aditi Brennan Kapil, Future Thinking by Eliza Clark and Zoey’s Perfect Wedding by Matthew Lopez at Denver Center Theatre. Formerly, she was literary manager at Actors Theatre of Louisville, where she was dramaturg for the world premieres of Partners by Dorothy Fortenberry, The Roommate by Jen Silverman and Dot by Colman Domingo, among others. Prior to that, she was associate literary director at SCR and served as dramaturg for the world premieres of José Cruz González’s The Long Road Today, Zoe Kazan’s Trudy and Max in Love and A Wrinkle in Time adapted by John Glore, among dozens of other productions, workshops and readings. She has worked with companies including Los Angeles Opera, Mixed Blood Theatre, Oregon Contemporary Theatre, Critical Mass Ensemble, Artists at Play and Native Voices at the Autry.

Nikki Hyde (Stage Manager) is a theatre and opera stage manager. Her recent credits include Andrew Norman’s A Trip to the Moon (Los Angeles Philharmonic), The Pirates of Penzance (Pasadena Playhouse), magic fruit (Cornerstone Theater Company), The Pearl Fishers (LA Opera), The Pride (Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts), Party People (The Public Theater), Fidelio (Cincinnati Opera), Madama Butterfly (San Diego Opera) and Lost Girls (MCC Theatre). She has also worked for Center Theatre Group, Houston Grand Opera, New York Musical Festival, Merola Opera Program, New Dramatists, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles, Opera Grand Rapids, and Opera San Antonio. She is a graduate of the University of Southern California and an ensemble member of Cornerstone Theater Company.

*The actors and stage managers employed in this production are members of Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States.

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Giovanni Adams and Chauntae Pink in "Little Black Shadows." Photo by Jordan Kubat.
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Giovanni Adams, Chauntae Pink, Daniel Bellusci and Emily Yetter in "Little Black Shadows." Photo by Jordan Kubat.
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Chauntae Pink and Emily Yetter in "Little Black Shadows." Photo by Jordan Kubat.
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Giovanni Adams and Chauntae Pink in "Little Black Shadows." Photo by Jordan Kubat.
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Giovanni Adams, Daniel Bellusci and Mark Doerr in "Little Black Shadows." Photo by Jordan Kubat.
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Mark Doerr, Daniel Bellusci, Giovanni Adams, Chauntae Pink, Emily Yetter and Elyse Mirto in "Little Black Shadows." Photo by Jordan Kubat.
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Giovanni Adams, Elyse Mirto and Daniel Bellusci in "Little Black Shadows." Photo by Jordan Kubat.
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Emily Yetter, Mark Doerr, Elyse Mirto and Chauntae Pink in "Little Black Shadows." Photo by Jordan Kubat.
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Giovanni Adams and Chauntae Pink in "Little Black Shadows." Photo by Jordan Kubat.
video video
Little Black Shadows Party PlayParty Play: Little Black Shadows
From the opening scene, Little Black Shadows captured the First Night audience and never let up. Playwright Kemp Powers’ family drama enthralled theatregoers and transported them to a Georgia plantation in the 1850s.
Southern GothicElements of a Southern Gothic
Kemp Powers’ compelling new play Little Black Shadows contains elements of a Southern Gothic tale. Read on to learn more about this enduring genre.
Little Black ShadowsThrough the Eyes of Children
Dramaturg Kimberly Colburn writes about the family drama that unfolds in Little Black Shadows—as seen through children’s eyes.
Kara WalkerThe Silhouettes of the Play
Little Black Shadows projection designer Hana S. Kim finds inspiration in the silhouette works of Kara Walker
Slave StoriesThe Federal Writers’ Project Sparked Inspiration for Playwright Kemp Powers
Little Black Shadows Playwright, Kemp Powers, found his inspiration from historical articles collected in the Federal Writers’ Project.
SCR Highlights Playwrights for Black History MonthSCR Highlights New Works By African American Playwrights in Celebration of Black History Month
​We are honored to have works by these African American playwrights being premiered and under commission. ​Learn more about these successful and unique artists.

Edgerton FoundationThis play is a recipient of an Edgerton Foundation New American Plays Award.

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