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The Redemption Series: 12 Original Plays in Response to Crisis in America

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By Donalevan Maines

A black sniper who kills five white police officers and the bomb robot that Dallas police send to “terminate” him comprise the cast of Josh Inocéncio’s provocative short play dallas/love the bomb, one of 12 works selected from more than 120 entries in The Landing Theatre Company’s national call for plays “in response to crisis in America.”

Three other plays in the collection, which will be presented September 22–October 1 at Landing Theatre @ the Docks, “specifically deal with LGBT issues,” says LTC’s interim general manager, Stephen Miranda. They include Gym Class Heroes by Dillon Rouse of Lubbock, Dance Again, and Summer Storm.

Inocéncio, an OutSmart contributing writer, was intrigued by LTC’s desire to put on stage with such immediacy what people are feeling in response to this summer’s violence, from fatal confrontations involving police officers to the tragedy at Pulse, the gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, where 49 people were murdered and many others injured in a shooting rampage on June 12.

Miranda says, “Dance Again by Emilio Rodriguez of Detroit, Michigan, is purely about the shooting in Orlando—but [it’s] a beautiful piece about love and laughter that was tragically lost.”

Summer Storm, by Jaisey Bates of Los Angeles, California, combines two spoken-word poem-plays: “Before the worst shooting in U.S. history, they were dancing,” about the Pulse massacre, and “I had a dream but now I’m woke,” concerning police killings in June 2016 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and St. Paul, Minnesota.

“I knew when I saw the call, I had to apply,” says Inocéncio, who confesses to a great interest in politics and popular culture. “I wrote dallas/love the bomb specifically for this. It was really good timing.”

The play, of course, was inspired by the July 7, 2016, event in Dallas in which a Black Lives Matter demonstration was interrupted by gunfire that killed five policemen and injured other officers and civilians. The shooter, who was a black Army veteran, “said he wanted to kill white people, especially white officers,” according to Dallas Police Chief David Brown.

“I love Dallas,” says Inocéncio. “I’ve been there many times. In fact, I am going this weekend for Dallas Pride. I enjoy the theater scene there and the Latino scene. When the shooting happened, it felt very close to home.”

In dallas/love the bomb, Inocéncio imagines a conversation that transpires in a building in downtown Dallas when police send a bomb-equipped robot, “male-like with a white painted face,” to kill a sniper, called Black Army Vet.

The scene begins with the sniper asking, “The f**k are you? [No response.] I said, ‘What the f**k are you?’”

Inocéncio, who is 26, says The Redemption Series is the first time a theater has produced one of his plays without his direct involvement. This is also the first time he’s participating in a festival where the plays were selected through a submission process.

“When I found out, I was overjoyed,” he says. “I can’t wait to see it, and I can’t wait to see what the other playwrights have written.”

“We are doing all of the plays each night,” says Miranda.

For further information about tickets and the plays that will be presented, visit http://www.landingtheatre.org/redemption-series.

PERFORMANCE DATES
Thursdays–Saturdays
All Performances @ 7:30 p.m.
September 22–October 1, 2016

TALKBACK THURSDAYS
September 22 and 29—a feature of all LTC shows.
A chance to meet the artists, discuss the production, and interact with us.

Landing Theatre @ the Docks
1119 Providence Street
Houston, Texas

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Don Maines

Donalevan Maines is a regular contributor to OutSmart Magazine.

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