Downtown Urban Arts Festival celebrates its 20th Anniversary starting June 1 at Theatre Row. The 2022 line-up features four full-length plays, 12 one acts, and an extended engagement of James Earl Hardy’s B-Boy Blues The Play, closing June 25.
The festival kicks off June 1 with Marcus Harmon's 20th Anniversary, about two firefighters 20 years after 9/11; and Cris Eli Blak's The Hard Knock Lyfe, about a rapper diagnosed with AIDS. Another duo of one acts follow June 2: Socky Tells All by Rollin Jewett, following young mental institution patient Andy, and The Palmist by Sheila Duane, which asks if fortune tellers can see the dark corners of a person's mind.
B-Boy Blues The Play, based on Hardy's novel series, tells a gay hip-hop love story under the direction of Stanley Bennett Clay June 3–25. Marcus Scott's Forever and a Day, abou ta young boy genius trying to combat violence against young Black people, and Jennifer Cendana Armas' The Love Not Together, exploring the struggle of making love work, round out the first half of one acts being presented with performances June 9.
The line-up also includes Phantasmagoria by Alethea Harnish June 8, which follows a young woman as she forsakes home, family, and faith during a university-sanctioned quarantine; Alano P. Baez's Soul Survivor June 15, a play about a imprisoned man contemplating his life, Sam Cooke, and the history of Black oppression in America while awaiting execution; For Colored Boyz on the verge of a nervous breakdown/ when freedom aint enuff by Bryan-Keyth Wilson June 18, exploring a Black man's perspective; and The Pride by Joy June 25, which looks in on the Baker family and their home where God is first and women are kings.
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The second half of the festival features the following one acts: Run by Elle, a contemporary opera about a woman awakening post-revelation, and Adulting by Amira Mustapha, which follows 30-something Muslim Miriam and her friend Liz through the process of coping, both presented June 16; Zoe Howard's Midnight Mirage, featuring two strangers connecting on a subway platform as time warps around them, and Christin Eve Cato's The Good Cop, which presents civil rights journalist Anita's journey to break the blue wall of silence, presented June 22; and A Shot Rang Out by Michael Hagins, about a white police officer trapped during a protest with a scared Black teen and a disgruntled schoolteacher, and Stoop by Isa Guzman, a play about generational differences and coming out as Transgender within a predominantly Latino community, presented June 23.
In its two-decade history, DUAF has presented nearly 300 new plays by over 200 emerging and established playwrights including Dominique Morisseau, Martyna Majok, Nelson Diaz-Marcano, Carl Hancock Rux, Craig MuMs Grant, and Ming Peiffer.
Tickets and information are available at duafnyc.com.