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A Talk With Playwright James Ijames As He Gears Up For The Debut Of His National Black Theatre Production, ‘Kill Move Paradise’

Looking for a thought-provoking play to go to?

You might want to check out the National Black Theatre, “Kill Move Paradise.” The production will mark the New York City debut of Philadelphia-based award-winning playwright James Ijames.

“Kill Move Paradise” follows four Black males who have to confront the reality of their pasts and scramble to make sense of their new world all the while dealing with racism and police brutality.  Ryan Jamaal Swain, Donnell E. Smith, Clinton Lowe and Sidiki Fofana star in “Kill Move Paradise.”

Ijames. has appeared regionally in productions at the Arden Theatre Company, the Philadelphia Theatre Company, the Wilma Theatre, Baltimore Center Stage, Mauckingbird Theatre Company, People’s Light and Theatre and Interact Theatre Company. Ijames’ plays have been produced at Flashpoint Theater Company, Orbiter 3, and Theater Horizon and have received development with PlayPenn New Play Conference, The Gulfshore Playhouse, the Wilma Theater, Azuka Theatre, Interact Theatre and Victory Garden. Ijames is also a 2011 Independence Foundation Fellow, a 2015 Pew Fellow and the 2015 winner of the Terrence McNally New Play Award for “White” and the 2015 Kesselring Honorable Mention Prize winner for “…Miz Martha.”

The production officially opens June 3rd.

Ijames gave The New York Trend the inside scoop.

Q: What sort of pressure did you feel, this being your New York City debut?

A: I don’t really feel pressure but I do feel a great deal of anticipation. I feel really good that National Black Theatre and Saheem Ali are bringing my work to NYC. It feels right.

Q: What do you want the audience to take away from this project?

A: My hope is that the audiences will leave energized to effect change in their communities. I think we often become desensitized to police brutality and black death. I hope that this play makes us look at each other differently, more closely and with greater care.

Q: Why is it important that this project is seen?

A: Aside from the political issue of police brutality that I’m examining I also hope that people will see this project because it places black bodies in a highly theatrical space. I crave this as an audience member and a large part of why I wrote the play was to create a play that would push audiences to see black performers in a new light and also black theatre in a new light. I want to disorient people in order to open them up to the possibility of looking at the world differently. I hope people come to see this play to contemplate what is possible. Even in the face of death we can make beautiful things and evoke joy and laughter.

 

About the Author

Ann is a freelance writer who started her professional career at the NY Trend more than two decades ago. Ann has since gone on to write for a number of major outlets including: Black Enterprise, Essence, MadameNoire, Pathfinders, Frequent Flier, Playboy, The Source, Girl, Upscale, For Harriet, The Network Journal, AFKInsider, Africa Strictly Business, AFKTravel, among others.

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