Solo performances have been a staple of the Goodman’s programming for decades. Spalding Gray, Regina Taylor, John Leguizamo, David Cale and others have showcased their singular viewpoints and unique performance styles on our stages. For the past 11 years, we have been honored to collaborate with Dael Orlandersmith, a writer-performer with an uncanny ability to portray characters who differ from her not only in age, gender, and race, but also in worldview. Using her one body and one voice, Dael amplifies many voices that we might not otherwise hear.
Dael’s productions with us include her one-person shows Stoop Stories (2009), Black n Blue Boys/Broken Men (2012), and Until the Flood (2018), as well as Lady in Denmark (2018): a solo show written by Dael and performed by actor Linda Gehringer. Since 2016 she has served as a member of our Artistic Collective—a group of artists with whom the Goodman works closely and who strongly influence our programming choices—and as an Alice Center Resident Artist, which has enabled her to work with our Education and Engagement programs.
Until the Flood, based on interviews Dael conducted with Missouri residents in the aftermath of the 2014 shooting of unarmed Black teenager Michael Brown by white police officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri, provides a snapshot of the Black Lives Matter movement at that time and gives a voice to a patchwork of community members. This summer, protests in support of the Black Lives Matter movement—and against police brutality—swelled across the world, echoing the sorrow and rightful anger of protesters in Ferguson in 2014. Because of this, Dael and director Neel Keller were eager to make the play widely available, especially during this time when theaters’ doors are closed. Fortunately, the production was expertly captured on video during its run at Rattlestick Playwrights Theater. Because of this, the Goodman—in collaboration with seven other theaters—is able to present it for viewing free of charge and on demand.
Whether you saw the production live on the Owen stage in 2018, or are experiencing it with fresh eyes, I invite you to experience the power of Dael’s riveting, tour-de-force performance.