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A solo show, premiering at Next Door at NYTW, weaving together original poetry and songs to bury a young Black man and heal a country.
87 backers pledged $9,686 to help bring this project to life.

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$9,686

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The Show

A young Black man from Brooklyn living in “post-racial America” hosts his own Homegoing service as a way for himself to prepare to die and to honor the memory of the unarmed Black Men and Women who have and are still being murdered by the police at a heartbreaking pace. This piece removes the mask of the perceived “superpredator,” by weaving together original poetry and acapella songs to theatricalize and articulate the vulnerability of a young Black man at risk of becoming the next trending hashtag as the country consumes his digital lynching.

A Video of the poem "The Question", which is in "RATED BLACK..."

The Inspiration 

This is a Requiem dedicated to the memory of all the unarmed young Black women and men in America murdered too soon, it’s comprised of poems that articulate varying parts of a young Black life lived: the love, fears, identity, home, history, and deep thoughts that plague this mind, delving into the good, the bad and the problematic, while unapologetically funneling all this into the vessel of one man. 

The need to write this piece came after witnessing all the daily digital lynchings captured on cell phone videos and shaky body cams and dash cams. After consuming all this violence upon and death of Black people I decided to tell my own story on my own terms in my own way, before I become a trending hashtag that’s an unwilling martyr, or a super predator instantly shamed and blamed. Death is not a distant thought. Death is a fast approaching inevitability that must be accepted and appropriately planned for. Yet, there is joy in celebrating the life lived thus far.. This is a theatrical piece that explores how to prepare to die. This is a young Black man creating and ministering his own Homegoing service, or what is more commonly called a funeral.

A Still From Our Work-In-Progress Showing At Dixon Place (NYC) in May 2018
A Still From Our Work-In-Progress Showing At Dixon Place (NYC) in May 2018

The Opportunity 

We will do a developmental run of the show at Next Door at NYTW from September 27th until October 13th. 

This opportunity will be a huge step forward for the project and our team, as we continue to develop the show with our eyes set on a full production in NYC. We last did a one night only showing at Dixon Place in May, in which there were big rewrites and we added a small choir. 

So, this go around we will continue to deepen and develop the new ideas and changes added in May, and have a longer run to expose this piece to more people and drum up more interest in the project, so that we can keep moving it forward. 

It will particularly be resonate to do it this Fall, as we are still faced with unarmed Black women and men being murdered by police without consequence, this piece will hopefully provide an opportunity for Black folk and People Of Color to Heal from the very specific oppression enforced on people of color in America. 

A Picture From A Reading At Hi-Arts (NYC) in September 2018
A Picture From A Reading At Hi-Arts (NYC) in September 2018

The Need

We got the opportunity to present work as a part of the Next Door Series at NYTW as a replacement, because another project dropped out. So, we haven’t had the normal time to seek other sources of funding, usually a show of this size will have at least 6-8 months before the first day in theater. When the project was confirmed we had 3 months before our first day in the theater.  Which isn’t a lot of time. 

Our full budget is a little over $20,000, and we are coming to you through this Kickstarter campaign to raise a minimum of $9,000. So, your contributions will go a long way to making this project happen and would be invaluable to helping us fully realize this work-in-progress run in Sept/Oct. 

A Still From Our 2nd Workshop at Teatro Circulo (NYC) in 2015
A Still From Our 2nd Workshop at Teatro Circulo (NYC) in 2015

The Creative Team

Written & Performed by Kareem M. Lucas 

Directed by LA Williams 

Original Music & Arrangements by Avi A. Amon 

Lighting Design by Christina Watanabe

Kareem M. Lucas
Kareem M. Lucas

Kareem M. Lucas (Writer/Performer) is a Brooklyn born and Harlem based Actor/Writer/Producer/Director. His solo pieces include The Maturation of an Inconvenient Negro, From Brooklyn With Love, RATED BLACK, A Boy & His Bow, and Black Is Beautiful, But It Ain’t Always Pretty. He has performed his solo work at Snug Harbor Cultural Center, The Center for Arts & Culture at Restoration, Harlem School of the Arts, Flushing Town Hall, Pregones Theater, The Greene Space, Aaron Davis Hall at City College, The Town Hall, The Fire This Time Festival, IRT Theater, The Slipper Room, Teatro Circulo, Studio Tisch at NYU Grad Acting, Jimmy’s No. 43, MAGIC TIME at Judson Arts Wednesdays, and The Public Theater. He is currently co-collaborating on the development of the immersive theatrical piece The Black History Museum… According to the United States of America, as a writer and performer with the Smoke & Mirrors Collaborative as a part of their Residency at HERE Arts Center. And, just finished the Devised Theater Working Group, a residency program of the DTI/Devised Theater Initiative at The Public Theater, which included showings of his solo piece Black Is Beautiful, But It Ain’t Always Pretty in the 2018 Under The Radar Festival. Plus, he’s a teaching artist with The Classical Theatre of Harlem, and The 52nd Street Project. MFA: NYU Graduate Acting Program. For more info you can visit www.KareemMLucas.com or follow him on Instagram @KareemMLucas

LA Williams
LA Williams

LA Williams (Director) is a New York-based director focused primarily on new work. Upcoming: Rated Black by Kareem M. Lucas (New York Theatre Workshop @ Next Door); Hype Man by Idris Goodwin (Interact Theatre Company); Too Heavy for Your Pocket by Jiréh Breon Holder (George Street Playhouse). Recent credits include Father Comes Home from the Wars, Parts 1, 2 & 3 by Suzan-Lori Parks (The Juilliard School); Richard in 9 Poses by Sarah DeLappe (Clubbed Thumb). He has developed and directed new work at Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, The Public Theater, Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, The New Group, The Classical Theatre of Harlem, Dramatists Guild of America, Brooklyn Arts Exchange, LaMama, National Black Theatre, McCarter Theatre Center, The Kennedy Center, Alliance Theatre, New York International Fringe Festival, Baltimore Center Stage, Firebone Theater, Quicksilver Theatre Company, Horse Trade Theater Group and Crowded Outlet. Assistant Director credits include: The Royale by Marco Ramirez (Lincoln Center Theater); Ugly Lies the Bone by Lindsey Ferrentino (Roundabout Theatre Company); brownsville song (b-side for Tray) by Kimber Lee (LCT3);Romeo & Juliet (The Classical Theatre of Harlem); APPROPRIATE by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins (Signature Theatre Company); and The Insurgents by Lucy Thurber (Labyrinth Theatre Company). LA is the founding Artistic Director of the Black Directors Studio, a new play reading series for emerging Black directors. In 2012, he created and executive produced Celebrate! with LA Williams: a multimedia docu-series that celebrates early career theater artists. LA currently serves on the ENCORES! Off-Center Artist Board at New York City Center, and is a 2017-18 National Directors Fellow and a 2016-17 Clubbed Thumb Directing Fellow. He is a member of the Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab, SDCF Observership program, and was the Kenny Leon Directing Fellow in 2009. Education: M.A. Emerson College, B.A. Alabama State University

Avi A. Amon
Avi A. Amon

AVI AMON (Composer/Arranger) is a Brooklyn-based composer, pianist, and sound artist. His works include INSHALLAH/MASHALLAH (Target Margin),THE WHITE CITY with Julia Gytri (Yale Institute, O’Neill National Music Theater Conference, Richard Rogers Award Finalist), JEUNE TERRE with Gabrielle Reisman (Barnard), LULU IS HUNGRY with Claire Kiechel (Ars Nova), THE CHILDREN with Phillip Howze (Yale, BRIC), and several sound installations in a 100-year old grain silo in Buffalo, New York. His work has been developed or presented by the Actors Theatre of Louisville (2017 Humana Opera Commission), Spoleto Festival USA (with tap dancer, Ayodele Casel), Prospect Theater, BAM, Lincoln Center, La Mama, NYFA, and HERE Arts, among others. Residencies and awards: Ground Floor at Berkeley REP, Exploring the Metropolis at JCAL, Judson Arts, Anna Sosenko Assist Trust Grant, Target Margin Theater, New Dramatists, Weston Playhouse. Avi is the resident composer at the 52nd Street Project. He received his MFA from NYU’s Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program, where he currently teaches. For more information, please visit aviamon.com.
 

Christina Watanabe (Lighting Designer) is a New York City based designer for theatre, dance, music, and events. With Mr. Lucas: Redd: Black & Blue. With NYTW Next Door: De Novo. Recent: Into the Woods (Charlottesville Opera), Daddy Long Legs and Private Lives (White Heron Theatre Company), Scissoring (INTAR), Glory (Muhlenberg), Dido of Idaho(EST), The Fairy Queen (Hofstra), Small World: a fantasia (59E59), Neighbors: A Fair Trade Agreement(INTAR), Cobb (Penguin Rep), Daniel’s Husband (Primary Stages/Cherry Lane), I Will Look Forward To This Later (New Ohio). Academia: NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts (The TempestMacbethViolet) and Yale Dramatic Association (A Midsummer Night’s Dream). Other design work includes cabaret, events, and Ralph Lauren’s Madison Avenue windows. Touring: Shen Wei Dance Arts, Jonah Bokaer, and So Percussion. Lincoln Center Festival (2013, 2015, 2016). Visiting Professor: NYU Tisch. Guest speaker: The League of Professional Theatre Women “A Discussion: Designers and Directors”. MFA: NYU Tisch. Member USA 829. www.StarryEyedLighting.com.

Rehearsal at Hi-Arts in September 2018
Rehearsal at Hi-Arts in September 2018

The Room Where It Happens

Next Door at NYTW provides a home for companies and artists who are producing their own work. This initiative provides each project with subsidized resources and space for development and performance in the Fourth Street Theatre. As part of an ongoing effort to expand support for artists at every stage of their careers, this series served nearly 100 additional artists in the first year alone.

Founded in 1979, New York Theatre Workshop (NYTW) is dedicated to ensuring the robust and compelling presence of the artist in our society. As both a laboratory for theatrical exploration and a producer of plays that expand the boundaries of theatrical form and address the critical issues of our times, NYTW has been able to support projects that are aesthetically, thematically and methodologically diverse. NYTW’s productions have received a Pulitzer Prize, seventeen Tony Awards and assorted Obie, Drama Desk and Lucille Lortel Awards. Over the course of four decades, NYTW has evolved to become a significant force in New York City’s vibrant cultural landscape and is recognized as one of the leading producing theatres of original work in the United States. 

A Still From Our First Workshop at Teatro Circulo (NYC) in 2014
A Still From Our First Workshop at Teatro Circulo (NYC) in 2014

The History

"RATED BLACK: An American Requiem" was developed other the past 4 years with the generous assistance of these wonderful NYC organizations and theaters.

· Scratch Lab Residency at Hi-Arts (Staged Reading), August 2018 

· Dixon Place (Work In Progress), May 2018

· The Fire This Time Festival (Reading of Short Excerpt), January 2017

· Teatro Circulo (Workshop), Fall 2014 & Fall 2015

Rehearsal for Dixon Place in May 2018
Rehearsal for Dixon Place in May 2018

The Obstacles

Time. Money. The MTA. The Imperialist White Supremacist Capitalist Patriarchy. 

Risks and challenges

(same as The Obstacles)

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    THANK YOU!!!

    A Social Media Shoutout

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    HALLELUJAH!!!

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    FOR THE CHILDREN

    - We will give 10 tickets on your behalf to an organization so that a group of NYC teenagers may come see a performance of the show

    - You will receive a picture of the group taken at the performance

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    ***PRAISE DANCE***

    - I will write a 30 second poem on the topic of your choosing (within reason), and make a video of it for you to be posted on my social media for at least 24 hours

    - You gain access to the unreleased video of a poem from Rated Black

    - 2 tickets to a performance of your choosing

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    LOOK. AT. GOD.

    - 3 tickets to a performance of your choosing

    - A recording of my mother saying a special prayer for you (a topic or theme of your choosing)

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    &@O&T^@TNJ[][\w!!! (speaking in tongues)

    - 4 tickets to a performance of your choosing

    - A producer credit in the program

    - A signed pdf of the script

    - And, you can come up on stage like Russell Simmons at the end of def comedy jam and say something very brief at the end of a show that you attend

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Funding period

- (21 days)