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Restless Natives is a six person choreopoem inspired by and in celebration of the 50th anniversary of James Baldwin’s Another Country.
In addition to the six performers (both dancers and actors who dance), the nonlinear dance/theatre piece features an original textual score performed live by renowned performance poet Ursula Rucker.
Restless Natives is set in a jukejoint called Home—a neighborhood speakeasy where the conversations are not easy—located at the intersection of Memory and Experience. It re-imagines the characters of Another Country—musicians, writers and artists of various racial, sexual, and social backgrounds—situating them in a series of contemporary conversations, confessions, and bar fights, all taking place at the wake of the Black male protagonist Barry, aka Prez.
Time vacillates between past and present; characters who might be labelled straight or gay, black or white, male or female, rich or poor all commingle, sometimes painfully. Rhythm and blues pervades the piece, as the protagonists look to the blues to help them escape from the world’s definitions and become that rare, unattainable thing: themselves.
Throughout, Restless Natives pays homage to Baldwin’s critique of a “moral” and “democratic” America that fosters prejudice based on race, class, and sexuality, and serves as a blues saturated commentary on the sociopolitical landscape of 21st century America.
Conceived, Directed, and Choreographed by Charles O. Anderson in collaboration with the performers.
Sound score designed by Charles O. Anderson featuring the music by Gil Scott Heron, Frank London, and Chuck and Mac.
Text and Performance Poetry by Ursula Rucker.
Dramaturgs: M’bewe Escobar and Brenda Dixon Gottschild.
Cast: Charles O. Anderson, Jeremy Arnold, Karama Butler, DinaVerley Christophe, Danielle Currica, Johnnie Mercer, Jr., Alvin Rangel, Ursula Rucker, Ashley Sleeth, Miko Doi Smith.
Fusebox is a NPN Partner of the National Performance Network (NPN). This project is made possible in part by support from the NPN Performance Residency Program. Major contributors of NPN include the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Ford Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts (a federal agency), the MetLife Foundation and the Nathan Cummings Foundation.