Ensemble Theatre Company offers April reading of newly commissioned “I Shall Not Be Moved”
Playwright Isaiah Reaves is a Cincinnati native and an emerging young playwright. “I Shall Not Be Moved” recounts the journey of his grandmother, nationally recognized Civil Rights pioneer Betty Daniels Rosemond, through the American South as one of the first Freedom Riders during the 1960s. “Rosemond’s life is one of courage, clarity, and action,” as described by Woody Keown, Jr. of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center.
The reading of the first draft, produced by Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati, will be available April 19-May 2, and can be rented through ETC on Demand, the theatre’s new digital streaming platform. Tickets are $10 for one 48-hour rental or $60 for a subscription to all upcoming virtual content (excluding benefit readings) through June. ETC On Demand is available through the theatre’s main website. Subscribers call 513-421-3555, Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., for more information.
ETC looks “forward to presenting its world premiere on our stage when it’s complete and when we are once again able to welcome audiences in person. We anticipate collaborations with community partners as well as extensive, accompanying educational programs that will further bring this vital story to life,’ stated D. Lynn Meyers, ETC’s producing artistic director.
About the Playwright
Isaiah Reaves is an emerging young playwright whose work explores a spectrum of Black and Queer experiences. A native of Cincinnati, he graduated cum laude from Northern Kentucky University in 2020. His plays have been staged and read by The Classical Theatre of Harlem at Lincoln Center, Vintage Soul Productions of Connecticut, Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati, and many others. Isaiah is a semi-finalist for the Ucross and The Blank Theatre Future of Playwriting Prize, a 2020 finalist of the Jackie Demaline Regional Collegiate Playwriting Competition, an Iowa Arts Fellow, and a recipient of Cincinnati CityBeat Critic’s Pick. He is currently in pursuit of an MFA at the University of Iowa Playwrights Workshop.
Falcon Theatre’s postponed “The Agitators” on-demand theater/film project available in March
Playwright Mat Smart’s “The Agitators” tells the story of the sometimes conflict filled 45-year friendship between Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass, both well-known abolitionists. Each found a common cause in the abolition of slavery, though each came at the subject from a different standpoint; she being a white Quaker, while he was black and a former slave. Their friendship and alliance became strained with the proposal of the 15th Amendment, which would grant voting rights to black men, but not to women of either race.
Playwright Smart believes their story is truly relevant for current audiences, stating, “the distance between people in this country seems to be growing greater and greater. And something that is so inspiring to me about Susan and Frederick was their ability to have a healthy, hard dialogue with the people they disagreed with…with the people who hated them. So, I hope a lesson we can take from them is how we can better listen to people who believe different things than we believe, and how we may better agitate the people who disagree with us to change their thinking. Or vice versa.”
Originally scheduled as the fourth production of Falcon’s 2019-2020 season, the play was mere days from opening last March when the COVID-19 pandemic forced the postponement. Falcon Artistic Director Ted Weil and Production Director Darnell Benjamin ultimately opted to produce the play as Falcon’s second theater-for-film project. This past October, the theater filmed a similar venture for Sean Devine’s play “Daisy.”
About the Playwright
Mat Smart has received two Jerome Fellowships, a McKnight Advancement Grant, two Edgerton Foundation New Play Awards and was the recipient of the 2014 Otis L. Guernsey New Voices in the American Theater Award from the William Inge Center for the Arts. Smart earned his bachelor’s degree at the University of Evansville and his master’s degree at the University of California, San Diego.