May 3 through 11
DRAMATIC WOMEN PRESENTS
A young African girl is kidnapped from her village, carried off with other captives and put aboard a slave ship, bound for a strange new land.
That's the gripping story to be dramatized in Ayo's Journey, the new theatre piece being created in Santa Barbara by Dramatic Women in a performative style based on West African music, dance and storytelling traditions.
Ayo's Journey is based on an original cycle of poems by Santa Barbara poet Sojourner Kincaid Rolle, telling the story of the young girl Ayo's courageous endurance and celebrating her survival.
The cast features noted film and television actor Henry Brown, and includes Layne Clark, Kyrah Daniels,Vona Ekpebe, Jennifer Gordon, Malynda Hale,Brian Hansen, Karl Hauser, Jasmine Johnson, Josh Levine, Mishua Lockhart, Adrienne Loh, Jonathan Lund, Mide Marieore, John Mitchell, RJ Moten, Iheanyi Nkwocha, Ochua Oghie, Colette Reid, Mamdooh Salih, Wendy Sims-Moten and the UCSB West African Performance Ensemble, led by Loh Dadié, an expert West African drummer and musician. The production will be directed by Val Limar, a former Santa Barbara resident now a busy professional director based in Los Angeles, where she is currently a theatre arts professor at Loyola-Marymount University.
Ayo's Journey is being presented in conjunction with the exhibition "A Slave Ship Speaks: The Wreck of the Henrietta Marie" at the Karpeles Manuscript Library April 15-May 31, featuring unique artifacts from an English slave ship wrecked off the coast of Florida in 1700. Among these objects are numerous iron shackles used to secure slaves to the ship during its voyage.
One pair of those shackles, notably smaller than the rest, is clearly intended for a small child. AYO'S JOURNEY takes its inspiration from this heartbreaking artifact, but its aim will be to balance the terrible reality of the slave ship experience with an affirmative human story of courage and perseverance, in an evening of song, dance and celebration.
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