On Saturday, March 20, 2010, George Faison, Founder and Artistic Director of Harlem’s new Faison Firehouse Theater created and hosted the Special Event celebrating the life and work of author Zora Neale Hurston. The ONE NIGHT ONLY performance was standing room only. The diverse audience included guest from as far away as Boston, MA, Washington, DC and Maryland.
"Those who say 'It can't be done' are usually interrupted by those who are doing IT!” say, Faison, “… we are preparing the next generations of leaders here in Harlem.”
This script allows a revue of the dynamic and controversial life and work of one of the great figures in twentieth-century American literature and Afro-American culture. With the aid of musical variety, choreography, oratorical skill, spoken word performance, and photographic images, the scenes unfold as a ceremony of remembrance, emphasizing Zora Neale Hurston’s genius as novelist, folklorist, anthropologist, cultural interpreter and relevant analyst of contemporary public discourse. .
The script approximates a New Orleans funeral (a celebratory event). The Opening Scene (Scene I) “The Church and the Porch,” presents the earliest sounds and language that the young Zora heard; they would build her famous style and vernacular sound as a foremost literary artist. Scene II “Isie at the Gatepost,” presents the joyful, inventive, “smart-kid” that Zora Neale Hurston was and remained in her grown-up, womanly spirit. Scene III “Harlem,” presents important aspects of her life and work. Scene IV “Talkin’ bout Zora,” is a eulogy; it segues to Scene V “When the Saints Go Marchin In.”
The show headlined by Award Winning Actress Lynn Whitfield played Zora. Honored guest who shared the evening at the Firehouse were: Playwright/Poet, Dr. Maya Angelou; Award Winning Actress, Ruby Dee; and the writer of this powerful stage production Chair, English Department Howard University, Dr. Eleanor Traylor along with the wonderful cast.
Bottom L-R: Dr. Eleanor Traylor, George Faison, Ruby Dee, Ebony Jo-Ann, Lynn Whitfield, Brain Whitted, Thyais Walsh, Gabrielle Lee, Wambui Bahari, Dolly Henry, Sinclair Mitchell, Charles E. Wallace, Jerome Preston Bates
About the Faison Firehouse
The Faison Firehouse Theater is home to the American Performing Arts Collaborative (APAC), a not-for-profit (501c3) organization co-founded by Tony Award Winner, George Faison in 1997. For more than thirty five years, George Faison has been a driving force in the theater as well as film, video, television, concert dance, concert staging, television commercials and trade shows. George is internationally recognized as having achieved a preeminent place among the world's most important directors, choreographers and writers is known for his uncompromising pursuit of artistic excellence and the production and nourishment of socially relevant art and artist. He has a keen eye for recognizing emerging talent such as S. Epatha Merkerson, Debbie Allen, Stephanie Mills, Phylicia Rashad, Eartha Robinson, Gary DeLoatch, Shedrack Anderson, Jackee and Hinton Battle among others. www.faisonfirehouse.org