P R E S S R E L E A S E S 2003
January 4, 2004
A Woman's Personal Journey to Africa at MASS MoCA
(North Adams, Mass.) Heartbreaking one moment and surprisingly funny the next, Oni Faida Lampley's one-woman-show, The Dark Kalamazoo, is a living memoir of her experience as a black American college student studying in West Africa. She'll perform the show at MASS MoCA's Club B-10 on Friday, February 20, at 8 P.M. "This is one-person, dramatic storytelling at its most theatrical," according to CurtainUp DC. The performance is co-presented with Williams College as part of its conference Stalwart Originality: New Traditions in Black Performance.
Lampley's powerful writing and engaging performance chart a deeply personal journey. After growing up in an all-white Catholic girls' school in Oklahoma City, Lampley went to Sierra Leone in the late 1970s at the age of 19, hoping to get in touch with her African roots. Instead she found the natives to be coolly aloof to her black skin, nicknaming her 'Dark Kalamazoo' as the only black student in an otherwise white Kalamazoo College. "When they heard a black woman was coming, they were expecting Diana Ross, but they got me," Lampley says in the play. She in turn describes Sierra Leone as a "grab-bag" country first populated by freed slaves, "white trader do-gooders" and 300 native tribes, and now overrun by mosquitoes and lizards. Still the experience manages to reshape her character from a timid girl into a strong black woman.
Nominated for the Theatre Alliance's Barrymore Award, and the Charlotte Cushman award for Outstanding Leading Actress in a Play, Oni Faida Lampley is a New York stage actress and writer with a long list of film and theatre credits. She appeared on Broadway in The Ride Down Mount Morgan, Two Trains Running, and Mule Bone. She is probably best known for her dramaturgical work on Rent.
Lickety Split will serve dinner and snacks starting at 7 P.M. when the doors open. There will also be a full bar.
Tickets for Oni Faida Lampley's The Dark Kalamazoo are $12 in advance or $15 the day of show. Student tickets are $10. A combination ticket including admission to The Dark Kalamazoo and Roger Guenveur Smith's Iceland is available for $17. MASS MoCA members receive a 10% discount. Tickets are available through the MASS MoCA Box Office located off Marshall Street in North Adams from 11 A.M. until 5 P.M. (closed Tuesdays). Tickets can also be charged by phone by calling 413.662.2111 during Box Office hours or purchased on line any time at www.massmoca.org.
Stalwart Originality: New Traditions in Black Performance is a conference sponsored by the Williams College Dance and Theatre Departments. This gathering of scholars and performers of the black experience attempts to integrate practice and theory at Williams College in a manner similar to the generation of black performance itself. Other Stalwart events at MASS MoCA include a Student Stalwart featuring some of Williams most talented student performers on Wednesday February 18, a double feature, É Minha Cara and Brother Outsider, on Thursday, February 19, and a performance of Iceland by Roger Guenveur Smith on Saturday, February 21. Additional information on Stalwart events can be found at www.williams.edu/acad-depts/theatre/ stalwart2004.
Funding for the conference is provided by Williams College and the W. Ford Schumann '50 Endowment for the Arts.
MASS MoCA, the largest center for contemporary visual and performing arts in the United States, is located off Marshall St. in North Adams on a 13-acre campus of renovated 19th-century factory buildings.
For Immediate Release