We Are Proud
by Jackie Sibblies Drury
directed by Eric Ting
originally produced at Victory Gardens Theater,
March 30, 2012
through April 29, 2012
"Direct from IGNITION, the festival that brought you Pulitzer finalist The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity, comes this brave new work that sent chills and laughter through this summer’s festival audiences.
When a group of actors gather together to give a presentation on a distant genocide, they realize that summaries based on history books aren’t nearly enough to capture the complexity of human extermination—or human interaction. In an honest attempt to delve deeper, they crash into their own simmering fears and unconscious bigotry and come face to face with the potential for brutality in all of us.
IGNITION, Victory Gardens daring and hugely successful new play development initiative, was conceived to support the theater’s mission of new play development and diversity. In the spring of 2010, 120 writers of color under 40 years of age from around the United States submitted new scripts for the first phase of IGNITION. The top six plays were then selected, workshopped and presented as staged readings in a weeklong festival later that same summer. From the top six, Jackie Sibblies Drury’s We Are Proud to Present... was selected to be part of Victory Gardens mainstage season."
In the play a group of black and white actors attempt to stage a dramatic response to genocide in Africa. In that process, they tap into an ugly collective unconscious that pushes contemporary racism to the forefront, eclipsing the initial historic event to be staged. Some of the worst excesses of American racism, including echoes of a minstrel show and a near-lynching are aspects of the script. For the artistic team, the work presents an unprecedented challenge: in committing to these characters onstage, they must also confront their own latent assumptions about race and responsibility as part of a creative team. The workshop has been revealing, awkward, and at times confrontational. The play has galvanized the acting company who have cleared their schedules each time we have been able to work together.
Director: Eric Ting
Associate Artistic Director: Sandy Shinner
Literary Manager: Aaron Carter
Stage Manager: Rita Vreeland
Cast: Karen Aldridge, Erin Neal, Aaron Roman Weiner, Jake Cohen, Kamal Angelo Bolden, Travis Turner