About this project
HEY THERE, KICKSTARTER!
I'm Apphia Campbell, founder of the Shanghai-based Play the Spotlight Theatre and writer and performer of the one-woman show Black Is the Color of My Voice. After producing three successful runs of Black Is the Color in both Shanghai and New York City, the PtS team and I are now looking for your help to take our work to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe this August!
Thanks for checking out our funding page and considering supporting Black Is the Color. Every donation counts towards making this very expensive dream a financial reality for Play the Spotlight, and we very dearly appreciate any and all help you can send our way!
Black Is the Color of My Voice follows the life of Mena Bordeaux, a successful jazz singer seeking redemption after the untimely death of her father. During a three-day period of isolation without cigarettes, alcohol, or access to the outside world, Mena reflects on the journey that took her from a young piano prodigy destined for a life in the service of the church to a renowned jazz vocalist at the forefront of the Civil Rights Movement.
About five years ago I began learning about the life of legendary jazz singer Nina Simone. Deeply affected by her music, I was particularly drawn to a specific time in her life in which she underwent a period of isolated spiritual cleansing in Liberia. I was very interested in that idea--what kind of experience would that woman have in that environment, cut off from the outside world, making peace with her past? I created the character of Mena Bordeaux to explore that environment, a physical space and narrative structure reflecting a mediation between the past and present, the living and the dead. Black Is the Color of My Voice is the result of that exploration.
So far, Black Is the Color of My Voice has had three successful runs--two in Shanghai and one at New York City's Midtown International Theatre Festival. We have had several sold-out shows, and the the response by both media and audience members has been truly extraordinary.
Here are a few things people have been saying:
- "Black is the Color of My Voice shines, bringing a little bit of American soul to Shanghai theatre." -TimeOut Shanghai
"Campbell transfixed, she charmed, she entertained and ultimately moved a packed theater with her touching portrayal of a jazz musician reeling and reminiscing in the aftermath of her father's death." -SmartShanghai.com
"Memories of her life's most decisive moments and choices are evoked, flashbacks solely carried by Apphia's expressional performance and powerful singing voice, which do justice to her source of inspiration." -Shanghaiist
While Shanghai's burgeoning theatre scene is a great place to develop and try new ideas within a supportive community, it's a very difficult city to produce or perform theatre on an international level. The Edinburgh Fringe is the world's largest arts festival and is one of the best places on Earth for small, independent work to be discovered. We've shown Shanghai what Black Is the Color has to offer and have been rewarded for our efforts--now it's time to take it to the next level.
WHERE YOUR MONEY GOES
Despite being called a one-woman show, it will take a whole group of talented people working together to make Black Is the Color of My Voice an Edinburgh success. Your financial backing will go a long way to help fund Play the Spotlight's three-person performer/producer/director team as we travel to Edinburgh and back, secure music licensing, distribute promotional materials, create merchandise, handle marketing and PR, and pay for a performance space while not going hungry, homeless, or crazy. Hopefully.
Risks and challenges
A dramatic one-woman show will need as much help as it can get in the comedy-centric atmosphere of the Festival Fringe. Once on the ground in Edinburgh, the 3-person PTS team needs a solid marketing foothold to gain a competitive edge.
Our number one priority is to have most of the production legwork in place before we ever leave Shanghai, leaving as few loose ends to tie up as possible so we can begin producing on Day 1. That said, this is theatre. Should challenges arise, and we certainly expect them to, we solemnly pledge to:
-Be prepared: Like I said, our first goal is to have things ready to go when we hit the ground. We will spend the months leading up to the festival preparing our marketing strategy and contacting the best people to help us with our show's particular needs.
-Listen to feedback: Luckily for us, we have a friendly network of friends and supporters who are smarter than we are and know more about Fringe success than we do. We respect that, and will heed their advice accordingly.
-Take deep, calming breaths: Three people living in close quarters for a month while pulling double-duty on marketing/performance shifts will naturally lead to tension. A level head is necessary at all times.
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Have a question?
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