Performances Delayed Due to Cast Change, Runs Aug 12-27
July 31, 2017 Great Barrington, Mass. – Berkshire Playwrights Lab (BPL) its first full production at Saint James Place (352 Main Street in Great Barrington) with a three-week run of Some Old Black Man, a play that began its history with BPL as a Staged Reading in 2015. Some Old Black Man, by critically-acclaimed playwright James Anthony Tyler, is a two-character play about an aging father who has to move in with his son and about the simmering tensions of long-held grievances that emerge under the pressure of this shift in their relationship. BPL Co-Artistic Director Joe Cacaci is directing the play. Tony Award-winner Roger Robinson stars as Donald (father) and Leon Addison Brown as Calvin (son); Robinson read the role of Donald during the 2015 BPL staged reading. There will be discounted preview performances August 10 and 11, with performances August 12-27 (Thursdays-Sundays). Tickets are $30-35 and group tickets are available. Opening night is August 12; tickets are $55 each and include a reception with the artists after the 8:00 PM performance.
A sharp and poignant story, with flashes of humor and warmth,Some Old Black Man looks at the dynamics between an elderly father who has unwillingly relocated from his southern home to his son’s penthouse in Harlem. The ensuing dialogue between the two men as they begin their days together varies from profound to scathingly funny. A timely theme, the story of Some Old Black Man is at once a look at caring for an aging parent while also relating the experiences of two generations of African American men in a post-Civil-Rights-era culture. The play is an intensely human and universal experience that will be played out in an intimate space in real time
According to BPL Co-Artistic Director andSome Old Black Man Director Joe Cacaci, “[James’] piece places two extremely well crafted, compelling and sympathetic characters into a circumstance that is fraught with conflict, delving unflinchingly and intelligently into a number of the raw societal and cultural issues that confront all of us on a daily basis. [Co-Artistic Directors] Jim Frangione, Matt Penn and I all responded to this material because it shines a light on so many relevant subjects that people care about. The overwhelming response we got from our audience of more than 300 people, both during the performance and afterword at the talk-back when we staged a reading of the play at the Mahaiwe in 2015, spoke volumes about the power of this play. This play strikes an emotional chord within everyone. Jim, Matt and I knew thatSome Old Black Man had to become our inaugural production at Saint James Place.”
James Anthony Tyler has a MFA in Film from Howard University and a MFA in Dramatic Writing from New York University, where his concentration was Playwriting. Selected honors include the Paul Robeson Award and John Golden Award for Excellence in Playwriting. His plays have been developed at La MaMa and Berkshire Playwrights Lab (Some Old Black Man), Classical Theatre of Harlem (The Drop Off), Rattlestick Playwrights Theater (Talkin’ To This Chick Sippin’ Magic Potion), Asolo Rep, Ars Nova, and The Drama League (hop tha A), Finborough Theatre in London and LAByrinth Theater Company (Dolphins and Sharks). He was a member of Harlem’s Emerging Black Playwrights Group, a 2014-2015 Dramatists Guild Fellow, a 2015-2016 The Playwrights Center’s Many Voices Fellow, a 2016-2017 Ars Nova Play Group Resident, a 2016 Working Farm Playwrights Group Resident at SPACE on Ryder Farm, a 2016 Theatre Masters Visionary Playwrights Award recipient, and is a recent graduate of the Playwrights Program at The Juilliard School. Upcoming events in September 2017 include a production of (Dolphins and Sharks at Finborough Theatre in London, and a workshop of hop tha A for the Black and Latino Playwrights Conference in San Marcos, TX).
Roger Robinson (Donald) has appeared in the following productions on Broadway: Joe Turners Come and Gone (Tony Award), Drowning Crow, Seven Guitars (Tony nomination), The Iceman Cometh, Amen Corner-the Musical, Aint Supposed to Die a Natural Death, The Miser, and Does a Tiger Wear a Necktie? Robinson has appeared the following Off-Broadway productions: Walk in Darkness, The Middle of Nowhere, The Trials of Brother Jero, The Strong Breed, others. (Regional) La Jolla Playhouse, Ebony Repertory Theater, Old Globe Theater, Alley Theater, Mark Taper Forum, Kennedy Center, Ford’s Theater, Actors Theater Of Louisville, Seattle Repertory, Hartford Stage, Syracuse Stage,Yale Repertory Theater, Long Wharf Theater, NJ Shakespeare Festival, American Shakespeare Festival, Williamstown Theatre Festival. (London) Royal National Theater. Robinson’s television appearances include: Elementary, Rubicon, ER, Kojak, Baretta, and others. Robinson appears in the following films: Preaching To The Choir, Wedding Daze, Willie Dynamite, Newman’s Law, Meteor, The Pack, and Foreclosure. Robinson was honored with the following awards: Tony Award (Joe Turners Come and Gone), Outfest Grand Jury Award as Best Actor (Brother To Brother), Independent Spirit Award nomination (Brother To Brother), and was a Fox Foundation Fellow.
Leon Addison Brown (Calvin) trained at the North Carolina School of the Arts and has appeared in the following Broadway productions: Misery, The Trip to Bountiful, On the Waterfront, Someone to Watch Over Me, and Prelude to a Kiss. Off-Broadway, Brown has appeared in Master Harold and the Boys (Drama League Nomination for Distinguished Performance), The Painted Rocks at Revolver Creek, The Train Driver, The Orphans’ Home Cycle, The Alexander Plays (Signature Theatre), The Box (Foundry Theatre); The Lights (LCT), and As You Like It (TFANA), with performances at Hartford Stage, Westport Playhouse, People’s Light Theatre, Arena Stage, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Yale Repertory and The Long Wharf Theater. Brown has also appeared in the following films and television programs: The Breaks, Madam Secretary, The Knick, A Walk Among the Tombstones, The Good Wife, Whirlygirl, Hamlet, Law & Order and SVU.
Joe Cacaci (Director) Co-Artistic Director of BPL, was the founding director of East Coast Arts, where he produced twenty world premiere plays over seven seasons, and the Producing Director, with Dan Lauria, of The Playwrights Kitchen Ensemble in Los Angeles, where over 500 new plays were given staged readings. Cacaci co-produced David Mamet’s Obie-winning play Edmond at the Provincetown Playhouse. His own plays have been produced at The Public Theater and The Coconut Grove Theatre, where he also directed, and at The Long Wharf Theater and The Alley Theatre. He has also directed at The Westport Playhouse and commercially in New York and Los Angeles. Most recently, he directed Wendie Malick and Gary Cole in Richard Dresser’s Closure (developed at BPL) at NJ Repertory; it will open at the Falcon Theater in Los Angeles in 2017. Last fall, Joe directed Carol Schneider’s new play, Movements of the Soul (performed in ASL and spoken English) at BPAC in NYC. He co-created the CBS prime time series The Trials of Rosie O’Neill and was executive producer (show runner) of two prime time series: Showtime’s The Hoop Life and CBS’ The Education of Max Bickford, which starred Richard Dreyfuss and Marcia Gay Harden. He directed the PBS pilot Cop Shop. Joe teaches television writing in the graduate program of the Film School at Columbia University and undergraduate coursework at Wesleyan University.
Led by Co-Artistic Directors Joe Cacaci, Jim Frangione and Matthew Penn, BPL’s mission is to provide emerging and established playwrights with a secure space in which they may develop new work and explore new avenues of creativity. Some Old Black Man began its history with BPL during the 2015 season of the Staged Reading Series and BPL is delighted to have supported the play’s development and presentation as a full production. More than 45 short and 40 full-length plays have been presented since 2007; several plays presented under the BPL banner in recent years went on to become full productions at other companies in New York and at regional theaters across the country.
About Berkshire Playwright Lab
Berkshire Playwrights Lab, celebrating its tenth season, is the region’s only professional theater exclusively dedicated to the development of new plays. BPL’s mission is to provide new and established playwrights with a secure space in which they may develop new work and explore new avenues of creativity. Berkshire Playwrights Lab Co-Artistic Directors are Joseph Cacaci, Jim Frangione and Matthew Penn, all with long professional careers as actors, directors and writers for both stage and screen. Berkshire Playwrights Lab’s summertime Staged Reading Series brings artists and audiences into conversation around new plays in development and is now in its eleventh year. Past writers and performers have included Tony Shalhoub, Treat Williams, Dan Lauria, Wendie Malick, Eric Bogosian, Elaine May and David Mamet. 2017 marks the inaugural year of full productions at BPL’s new home at Saint James Place in Great Barrington. For more information, please visit berkshireplaywrightslab.org or call 413.528.2544.