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West Coast premiere of audacious ‘Scraps’ by
New York Times ‘playwright-to-watch’ Geraldine Inoa
LOS ANGELES (REVISED June 18, 2019) — What we always hear: “Black Male Shot by White Police Officer.” What we never see — how loved ones struggle to cope in the aftermath. The Matrix Theatre Company presents the West Coast premiere of a daring new play from a significant emerging voice in theater. Scraps, written by Geraldine Inoa and directed by 2019 Obie Award winner Stevie Walker-Webb, opens at the Matrix Theatre on July 6, with previews beginning June 27.
Set in Bed Stuy, Brooklyn, three months after the fatal shooting of black teenager Forest Winthrop by a white police officer, Scraps is a provocative mash up of poetry, realism and expressionism that chronicles the effects of Forest’s death on his family and friends.
“Geraldine has created a completely original, highly theatrical, frequently funny collage,” says producer Joseph Stern. “At first glance, the story sounds very familiar — but I’ve never seen anything like it before.”
“Trauma doesn’t end after the event, but instead reverberates forever through the lives of those who remain,” Inoa explains. “If we continue to only engage in surface-level conversations about race that prevent us from feeling uncomfortable, we are only asking for things to stay the same. This is a provocative play that may cause discomfort, but I hope it enables audiences to make a step forward, even if that means just making room to listen to my characters for 90-minutes.”
Those characters include aspiring rapper Jean Baptiste Delacroix, played by Tyrin Niles (upcoming horror drama Penance Lane); Forest’s high school friend Calvin Young, whose status as a freshman at Columbia University may not be enough to save him (2016 Poetry Out Loud national champion Ahkei Togun); Aisha Douglas, the beautiful mother of Forest’s son (Denise Yolén, whose credits include Tony Bee’s, the Musical at Moments Playhouse and the National Black Film Festival entry 1 Chance); Aisha’s tragic younger sister, Adriana (Ashlee Olivia, seen in Robey Theatre Company productions of The Magnificent Dunbar Hotel, Knock Me A Kiss and Anna Lucasta); and Forest’s young son, Sebastian Winthrop (Damon Rutledge, recently in Robey Theatre Company’s Birdland/Blue at the LATC). Also in the cast is Stan Mayer (Sam Shepard and Patti Smith’s Cowboy Mouth at Thymele Arts, Shepard’s Black Bog Beast Bait directed by Darrel Larson), playing a white police officer.
Scraps premiered in a sold-out run at NYC’s Flea Theater in 2018, directed by artistic director Niegel Smith. The New York Times review called Inoa “a playwright to watch,” noting her “own sharp vision”; Time Out New York called Inoa “a passionate new voice screaming to be heard”; and The New Yorker described Scraps as “an ambitious, vibrant new play.” It was a finalist for the L. Arnold Weissberger New Play Award, a semifinalist for the P73 Playwriting Fellowship and a semifinalist for the O’Neill National Playwrights Conference.
An alumnus of the Public Theater’s Emerging Writers Group and the inaugural recipient of the Shonda Rhimes Unsung Voices Playwriting Commission from IAMA Theatre Company, Inoa currently resides in Los Angeles where she writes for AMC’s The Walking Dead. Her work has been developed at both the Atlantic Theater Company and Labyrinth Theater Company. The Flea Theater production of Scraps marked her professional playwriting debut. She holds a B.A. from New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study.
Stevie Walker-Webb is an Obie award-winning director, performing artist and cultural worker, a former 2050 Fellow at New York Theatre Workshop (named in celebration of the Census Bureau’s projection that by the year 2050, there will be no single racial or ethnic majority in the U.S.) and recipient of the Princess Grace Award for theater. Off-Broadway: Jordan E. Cooper’s Ain’t No Mo’ at the Public Theater; upcoming: Fairview at Woolly Mammoth and One In Two with the New Group in New York City. He is the founding artistic director of the Jubilee Theatre in Waco, Texas, holds an MFA from the New School, a BS in Sociology from the University of North Texas, and is an Emerge-NYC alumnus..
Scenic design for Scraps is by John Iacovelli; lighting design by Brian Gale and Zo Haynes; sound design is by Jeff Gardner; costume design is by Wendell C. Carmichael; props design is by David Saewert; and casting is by Jami Rudofsky. The production stage manager is Rita Cofield, and Gabrieal Griego associate produces for Joseph Stern and The Matrix Theatre Company.
In 2009, following more than three decades of producing multiple award-winning work for the stage, Matrix Theatre Company founder/artistic director Stern resolved to redirect the company’s focus to the exploration of race issues in contemporary society. Since then, the Matrix has offered up critically acclaimed productions of Lydia Diamond’s Stick Fly, set in the Martha’s Vineyard summer home of an upper middle class African American family; Neighbors, the highly provocative study of the history of racism in America by then-unknown playwright Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, who has since gone on to win two Obie awards and a MacArthur “genius” grant; a non-traditional. multi-culturally cast production of all My Sons by Arthur Miller; the West Coast premiere of We Are Proud to Present a Presentation About the Herero of Namibia, Formerly Known as South-West Africa, From the German Sudwestafrika, Between the Years 1884-1915 by Jackie Sibblies Drury, who went on to receive the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for Drama; and the Los Angeles premiere of The Mountaintop by Katori Hall, in an acclaimed production directed by Roger Guenveur Smith.
Scraps opens on July 6 and continues through Sept. 15, with previews taking place June 27 through July. 5. Performances are scheduled Saturdays at 8 p.m.; Sundays at 3 p.m. and Mondays at 8 p.m. General admission on Saturdays and Sundays is $35; previews and all Monday evening performances are Pay-What-You-Want. The Matrix Theatre is located at 7657 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90046 (west of Stanley Ave., between Fairfax and La Brea). For reservations and information, call (323) 960-7711 or go to www.matrixtheatre.com.
Details for Calendar Listings
West Coast premiere of Scraps — Set in Bed Stuy, Brooklyn, three months after the fatal shooting of black teenager Forest Winthrop by a white police officer, Scraps is a highly theatrical, frequently funny mash up of poetry, realism and expressionism that chronicles the effects of Forest’s death on his family and friends.
“A PLAYWRIGHT TO WATCH… melds various styles… in service of her own sharp vision.” — The New York Times
“[An] AMBITIOUS, VIBRANT new play.” — The New Yorker
“A PASSIONATE NEW VOICE SCREAMING TO BE HEARD.” — Time Out New York
• Written by Geraldine Inoa
• Directed by Stevie Walker-Webb
• Starring Stan Mayer, Tyrin Niles, Ashlee Olivia, Damon Rutledge, Ahkei Togun, Denise Yolén
• Produced and Presented by Joseph Stern, The Matrix Theatre Company
Previews: June 27 – July 5
Performances: July 6 – Sept. 15
• Wednesday at 8 p.m.: July 3 ONLY (preview)
• Thursday at 8 p.m.: June 27 ONLY (preview)
• Fridays at 8 p.m.: June 28 and July 5 ONLY (previews)
• Saturdays at 8 p.m.: June 29 (preview); July 6 (opening), 13, 20, 27; Aug. 3, 10, 17, 24, 31; Sept. 7, 14
• Sundays at 3 p.m.: June 30 (preview); July 7, 14, 21, 28; Aug. 4, 11, 18, 25; Sept. 1, 8, 15
• Mondays at 8 p.m.: July 1 (preview), 15, 22, 29; Aug. 5, 12, 19, 26; Sept. 2, 9 (dark July 8)
The Matrix Theatre
7657 Melrose Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90046
(west of Stanley Ave., between Fairfax and La Brea)
(323) 960-7711 or www.matrixtheatre.com
• Saturdays and Sundays: $35
• Previews and Mondays: Pay-What-You-Want