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Epochalips

Plays

“Leaving the Blues”

A memory play (with some music)  in two acts, “Leaving the Blues” opens on the day of Alberta’s retirement from nursing. She’s despondent because, at 70, she’s unable to imagine what to do with the rest of her life. She’s had an adventurous and successful career as a singer and composer in the 1920s–40s and a long-term relationship with the passionate Lettie; but those days are past and the future yawns ahead of her like a dark abyss until her old friend, Will-long dead, appears to be her guide through the past into a surprising future. 

A cast of eight performed this comic/drama, based loosely on the life of singer/composer Alberta Hunter. “Leaving the Blues” premiered at New Conservatory Theatre Center in San Francisco in Spring of 2017 and played to sold out houses. 

Visit YouTube for a short video promo for this record-breaking production.

PRESS

https://sfarts.org/feature.cfm?title=new-play-spotlights-alberta-hunter&featureID=491

http://www.sfchronicle.com/performance/article/Being-Alberta-Hunter-Task-is-to-evoke-not-10966354.php

http://www.sfchronicle.com/performance/article/Alberta-Hunter-abundant-talent-survivor-s-10966355.php

http://www.sfweekly.com/uncategorized/jewelle-gomez-rescues-alberta-hunter-from-obscurity/


Waiting for Giovanni 

(written in collaboration with Harry Waters Jr.)

It’s 1957. Bombs are exploding in Black churches, the African American community is still mourning the murder of 15 year old Emmett Till, and lynching continues to be local entertainment in the South.  Who can afford to worry about love? The truth is: When can humans afford to NOT worry about love? Amid feverish protest from many quarters, Jimmie must reconsider the publication of his second novel, a haunting tale of forbidden love and obsession in the community of ex-patriots in Paris. 

Based on an imagined split second of indecision in the mind of world renowned author, James Baldwin, “Waiting for Giovanni” explores the emotional and professional dilemmas that loom over a fierce, young Harlem man who insists on being true to love and to politics.  Seven cast members performed the world premiere in 2011 at New Conservatory Theatre Center which broke all attendance records.  Video from the performances can be found here and here.

PRESS

“…a bold season opener…”  San Francisco Chronicle  2011 

“In her play Gomez sensitively and empathetically reveals her love,
understanding and admiration of Baldwin’s work and the dilemma it
presented.”  San Francisco Bay Times 2011

“…riveting…”  The Examiner 2011


Bones and Ash: A Gilda Story

Commissioned by the Urban Bush Women Company (NYC) this piece is based on several chapters of Gomez’s enduring feminist vampire novel, The Gilda Stories.  The show, which toured 13 cities, was performed by a cast of 11 dancers and singers with music by Toshi Reagon. The story spans a 100 year period in the life of an escaped slave who is rescued and educated by the madam of a bordello in New Orleans who is also a benevolent vampire.

The story examines the balance of power and responsibility; the idea of how we create family as well as the ways that marginalization can bring people closer to the center of what is important to society. 

PRESS

“‘Bones and Ash’ is a parable of great beauty and power, expertly staged and rising fully to its grand ambitions.” The New York Times, 1995

“An uplifting vampire tale…immediate and resonant.” Boston Herald, 1995

“Mesmerizing…the spectacle shouldn’t work…but it does.” Octavio Roca, San Francisco Chronicle