FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
AJA NAOMI KING, ANDRÉ DE SHIELDS, REBECCA NAOMI JONES,
DERAY MCKESSON, LYNN NOTTAGE
AND MORE JOIN LATEST EDITION OF
THE 24 HOUR PLAYS: VIRAL MONOLOGUES “COVID & INCARCERATION”
Available tonight at https://24hourplays.com/viral-monologues/
and on IGTV @24hourplays
NEW YORK (May 12, 2020) – The 24 Hour Plays: Viral Monologues is collaborating with several arts and advocacy organizations – The Broadway Advocacy Coalition; The Confined Arts; RAPP; Zealous, The Center for Institutional and Social Change at Columbia Law School and American Friends Service Committee – to feature real stories from those currently and previously incarcerated, their families, and the advocates serving them during this global pandemic.
Last week, celebrated playwrights were paired with individuals who are currently or formerly incarcerated and advocates to hear their stories, either from live calls or previously documented material. Overnight, the playwrights wrote brand-new monologues based on the stories from the interviews. The result will be a not-to-be-missed special edition of the Viral Monologues, “COVID & Incarceration,” airing on TONIGHT on IGTV @24hourplays and at https://24hourplays.com/viral-monologues/. From 6 PM on, the new monologues will be published, one every 15 minutes.
The performers stepping up to the plate this week include Jelani Alladin, Pascale Armand, Ato Blankson-Wood, Maggie Bofill, Madeline Brewer, André De Shields, Peter Jay Fernandez, Alex Hernandez, Rebecca Naomi Jones, Aja Naomi King, L Morgan Lee, Deirdre Lovejoy, John Clarence Stewart and Desean Terry. They will bring to life new works by Lemon Andersen, Hilary Bettis, Jordan E. Cooper, Michael John Garcés, Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen, Emily Mann, Roger Q Mason, DeRay Mckesson, Tony Meneses, NSangou Njikam, Lynn Nottage, Liza Jessie Peterson, Shaka Senghor and Stevie Walker-Webb.
“During this pandemic, we’ve built an incredible platform for theatermakers to collaborate and share work through The 24 Hour Plays process,” said artistic director Mark Armstrong, “and this week we’re pleased to be sharing that platform and process with the amazing organizations and individuals who are demanding justice for incarcerated people during this crisis.”
“The RAPP [Release Aging People in Prison ] Campaign is teaming up with The 24 Hour Plays and other advocacy groups to amplify incarcerated people and their family members’ painful experiences exacerbated during this pandemic. Right now, tens of thousands of people across the country are at extreme risk of COVID-19 in jails, prisons, and immigration detention centers. We hope to build a stronger movement and put pressure on decision makers to take every available action to save lives in the wake of the global pandemic,” said RAPP’s Associate Director, Dave George.
“We must do everything we can to make it impossible for those in a position of power to ignore or be indifferent to human suffering any longer. Amplifying firsthand experience and perspective by those impacted by incarceration is the most compelling way to communicate the urgent need to release as many people as possible, improve conditions of confinement until release, and support people once released with housing, health care, benefits, and other social services,” said Scott Hechinger, Director of Zealous.
“The Broadway Advocacy Coalition is joining with other advocacy organizations to help bring to light the catastrophic impact of the global pandemic on those who are currently incarcerated,” said BAC President Britton Smith. “We know that stories powerfully told can communicate the urgency of the crisis and the humanity of those affected. We’re using narrative combined with artistry to amplify the voices and experiences of those individuals, their families, and those advocating for them, who are often left out of the dominant narrative.”
At the start of The 24 Hour Plays process on Monday, May 11 at 6 PM, actors shared brief orientation-style videos that allowed the writers to get to know them better. By 7 PM, writers and actors were paired, and writers went to work on crafting new monologues especially for their assigned actors, highlighting the experiences of the directly impacted advocates. This morning, advocates had the first look at the brand-new monologues before the actors started rehearsing and filming their performances. At 6 PM the video monologues will begin to be released to the world, completing the 24-hour cycle
The 24 Hour Plays: Viral Monologues are produced by Coleman Ray Clark and Madelyn Paquette. The artistic director of The 24 Hour Plays is Mark Armstrong. The creation of this week’s special edition was additionally led by Ben Wexler, Britton Smith, Alejo Rodriguez, Susan Sturm, and Robb Nanus from the Broadway Advocacy Coalition; Pastor Isaac Scott, Leia Squillace, Ivan Calaff, and Lauren Hagani from The Confined Arts; Rosie Rios and Amanda Maisel from RAPP; Scott Hechinger, Jack Duran and Crystal Maloney from Zealous; Jaqueline Williams from American Friends Service Committee; and Susan Sturm and Caroline Golub from the Center for Institutional and Social Change at Columbia Law School.
This Special Edition of Viral Monologues is made possible by the generous support of Broadway Cares / Equity Fights Aids.
The 24 Hour Plays are known for their work on Broadway, off-Broadway and around the world. Since 1995, their events have brought together extraordinary artists to create time-limited theater. Past participants including Jennifer Aniston, Laverne Cox, Billy Crudup, David Cross, Rosario Dawson, Daveed Diggs, Peter Dinklage, Rachel Dratch, Jesse Eisenberg, Edie Falco, America Ferrera, Greta Gerwig, Oscar Isaac, John Krasinski, Anthony Mackie, Julianne Moore, Tracy Morgan, Cynthia Nixon, Anna Paquin, Rosie Perez, Phylicia Rashad, Chris Rock, Sam Rockwell, Liev Schreiber, Amanda Seyfried, Michael Shannon, Gabourey Sidibe, Sarah Silverman, Marisa Tomei, Naomi Watts and more!
More information for those who would like to support The 24 Hour Plays or attend a live performance in the future is available at https://24hourplays.com.
ABOUT THE 24 HOUR PLAYS®
The 24 Hour Plays® bring together creative communities to produce plays and musicals that are written, rehearsed, and performed in 24 hours. In addition to The 24 Hour Plays on Broadway and The 24 Hour Musicals in New York City, events take place in London, Los Angeles, Dublin, Minneapolis, San Francisco, Germany, Athens, Finland, Mexico City, Florence and Denmark. Through collaborations with the Lymphatic Education & Research Network (LE&RN), The Lillys, Dublin Youth Theatre, Urban Arts Partnership, The Old Vic Theatre, Atlantic Theater Company, Roundabout Theatre, Bennington College, University of MN-Duluth, Hennepin Theatre Trust, Cornerstone Theater Company, PlayGround, Rakastajat-teatteri, El77 Centro Cultural Autogestivo, The Orchard Project, The DelSole Foundation and others, The 24 Hour Plays have raised millions of dollars for charities.
Each summer, The 24 Hour Plays: Nationals partner with the New School for Drama to bring together the best young actors, directors, playwrights and producers for a free professional intensivethat culminates in their own production of The 24 Hour Plays. Licensed affiliates have produced their own versions of The 24 Hour Plays in regional and professional theaters, colleges and universities, and just about everywhere you can find a curtain and a stage.
ABOUT BROADWAY ADVOCACY COALITION
TheBroadway Advocacy Coalition builds the capacity of advocates, students, artists, organizations and communities to use the arts as an integral part of their social change work. BAC centers its work in the narratives and leadership of those directly affected by incarceration, and amplifies those narratives through high quality artistry combined with policy knowledge and activism. Since its inception in 2016, BAC has been creating spaces for artists like six-time Tony winner Audra McDonald and Grammy winner India Arie to join with community leaders and lawyers to use their art for direct social impact. These collaborations have led to partnerships with organizations ranging from Columbia Law School to the Alliance for Quality Education and generating performances at New York City Hall, the New York State Capital, and more.
ABOUT THE CONFINED ARTS
The Confined Arts (TCA) is a platform to illustrate and showcase the talents and creative voices of artists directly impacted by mass incarceration and intersecting social justice issues. TCA uses collaborative activism to express the limitations and restraints produced out of dehumanization and injustice. This platform aims to influence policy change and to lay the foundation for imagining a world anchored on empathy and saturated with healing and prevention-based policies. TCA provides an outlet for artists to express their voices through the visual and performing arts, poetry, and music as a means to abolish the inhumane narratives and socially degrading stigmas that are used to describe the past experiences and limit the futures of individuals impacted by incarceration.
ABOUT THE RELEASING AGING PRISON POPULATION (RAPP) CAMPAIGN
Release Aging People in Prison (RAPP) works to end mass incarceration and promote racial justice through the release from prison of older and aging people and those serving long and life sentences. RAPP is led by formerly incarcerated community leaders and loved ones of people in prison across New York State. RAPP engages in community organizing, advocacy, and other efforts to end prison sentences that amount to death-by-incarceration and to transform the criminal legal system.
Zealous is a national initiative that activates, trains, and supports public defenders, in partnership with local organizations and the people and communities defenders serve, to move their advocacy outside of court to promote public health and fairness instead of punishment. Zealous leads and develops media and advocacy trainings, original curricula, educational tools, and movement building events, coordinated policy campaigns, strategic projects and partnerships, technical assistance and support, and cutting-edge new media advocacy. Zealous leverages public defender expertise and perspective to maximize policy impact, to reduce the size and harm of the legal system, and to tell stories that shift the narrative about what transformative change looks like.
ABOUT THE CENTER FOR INSTITUTIONAL AND SOCIAL CHANGE
Located at Columbia Law School, the Center for Institutional and Social Change facilitates collaboration between scholars, practitioners, students, and artists striving to address structural inequality through institutional transformation. Participants use brainstorming, strategic analysis, and policy and field research to develop new frameworks, strategies, and roles for effective institutional and social change.