Programming Change | Antoinette Nwandu's PASS OVER Will Close 19/20 Season
  • 2023-10-08

Programming Change | Antoinette Nwandu's PASS OVER Will Close 19/20 Season

Mlimas Tale Replaced By Pass Over Press Release

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2020


Pass Over

MILL VALLEY, CAMarin Theatre Company (MTC) announces a programming change to their 2019/20 season: Antoinette Nwandu’s Pass Over—winner of MTC’s 2017 Sky Cooper New American Play Prize and previously produced at Steppenwolf Theatre, Lincoln Center and around the world—will close MTC’s season, replacing the previously announced Mlima’s Tale by Lynn Nottage.

Mlima’s Tale is a piece that relies deeply on artistic collaboration, and hinges around the choice of how Mlima - the titular African elephant - is portrayed; whether through dance, projection, puppetry, music or beyond. The creative options are expansive and exciting. We knew that the production would need a visionary leader to see this collaboration come together, and we were very fortunate to hire Lynn Nottage’s first choice of director. Unfortunately, her directing and acting talents are in high demand and with expanding project obligations, she was forced to withdraw from helming our production. Without the necessary conceptualization and actualization time to considerately and lovingly bring this work from page to stage, we have made the incredibly difficult decision to remove Mlima’s Tale from the 2019-2020 season. Antoinette Nwandu’s brilliant play Pass Over, which we awarded our Sky Cooper New American Play Prize in 2017, is a production we have long looked for the right opportunity to produce. After speaking with Antoinette, who is delighted the play will finally receive its Bay Area Premiere, we are thrilled to announce that Pass Over, directed by MTC veteran Kevin R. Free, will replace Mlima’s Tale as the final offering in our season.”Jasson Minadakis, Artistic Director

More About Pass Over

Moses and Kitch stand around on the street corner—talking smack, passing the time and hoping that maybe today will be different. As they dream of their promised land, a stranger wanders into their space with his own agenda and derails their plans. Emotional and lyrical, Pass Over crafts everyday profanities into poetic and humorous riffs, exposing the unquestionable human spirit of young black men who dream about a promised land they’ve yet to find. A provocative riff on Waiting for Godot and the Exodus saga, Antoinette Nwandu’s Pass Over is a rare piece of politically charged theater by a bold new American voice, that was adapted for film by Spike Lee after its stirring World Premiere at Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre and subsequent New York City run at Lincoln Center Theater. 

“I think at its very heart, for me, this play asks us collectively to consider the value of black lives. Specifically, the value of the lives of young black men. The value of the lives of young black men who are not special; who are not entertainers, they’re not athletes, they’re not secret math geniuses. They might never get better. They might never be different. But to entertain the possibility that we need to live in a society that does not ask these young men to prove their worth” Antoinette NwanduPass Over Playwright

More on Playwright, Antoinette Nwandu

Antoinette Nwandu is a playwright who also writes for film & tv. Her play Pass Over (LCT3; Steppenwolf) was a NYT Critic’s Pick and won a Lucille Lortel Award and a Jeff Award for Best Play. A filmed version of Pass Over—directed by Spike Lee—premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and at SXSW, and is currently streaming on Amazon Prime. Pass Over premiered in London at The Kiln. Her play Breach: a manifesto on race in america through the eyes of a black girl recovering from self-hate premiered at Victory Gardens. And her play Tuvalu, or The Saddest Song will premiere at The Vineyard Theater during the Spring 2020 season. Antoinette is under commission from The Denver Center, Ars Nova & Audible. Antoinette’s writing has won the Whiting Award, the Samuel French Next Step Award, the Cullman Prize, the Paula Vogel Playwriting Award, the Sky Cooper Prize, and spots on the 2016 and 2017 Kilroys lists. She is a MacDowell Fellow, a Dramatists Guild Fellow, and an Ars Nova Play Group alum, and her work has been developed & supported by The Sundance Theatre Lab, Space on Ryder Farm, Ignition Fest, The Cherry Lane Mentor Project, Page73, PlayPenn, Southern Rep, The Flea, Naked Angels, Fire This Time, and The Movement Theater Company. In film & tv, Antoinette wrote for Season 2 of Spike Lee’s She’s Gotta Have It (Netflix), and is adapting the short story “Wash Clean the Bones” for Amazon Studios from the collection Heads of the Colored People by Nafissa Thompson-Spires.

More on Pass Over Director, Kevin R. Free

Kevin R. Free is excited to return to Marin Theatre Company to direct after appearing as an actor in WINK and Botticelli in the Fire. Kevin is a multidisciplinary artist whose work as an actor, writer, director, and producer has been showcased and developed in many places, including FringeNYC; National Black Theater; The New Black Fest; The Moth Radio Hour; Project Y Theater; Flux Theater Ensemble; the Queerly Festival (of which he is now the curator), and The Fire This Time Festival, where he served as Producing Artistic Director for 5 years, winning an Obie for his work in 2015. He is also an accomplished voice actor, having voiced over 300 audiobooks and creating the voice of Kevin from Desert Bluffs on the popular podcast Welcome To Night Vale. Recent Directing Credits include Pipeline at Mile Square Theatre (named one of New Jersey’s top ten productions of 2019 by; The Last Five Years and Lady Day At Emerson’s Bar & Grill both at Portland Stage in Maine; Topdog/Underdog at University of Arkansas; GLORY! at Dixon Place; Wendy and the Neckbeards at Colby College and Marcus; or The Secret of Sweet at Nevada Conservatory Theater. More info - and on Twitter @kevinrfree.

Marin Theatre Company is the Bay Area’s premier mid-sized theatre and the leading professional theatre in the North Bay. We produce a six-show season focused on new American plays. We are committed to the development and production of new plays, with a comprehensive New Play Program that includes productions of world premieres, two nationally recognized annual playwriting awards and readings and workshops by the nation’s best emerging and established playwrights. Our numerous education programs serve more than 4,500 students from over 40 Bay Area schools each year. MTC strives to create intimate, powerful and emotional experiences that engage audiences to discuss new ideas and adopt a broader point of view. We believe in taking risks and inspiring people to participate in live theatre, regardless of personal means. MTC celebrates the intellectual curiosity of our community, and we believe that theatre is an important tool to help build empathy. MTC was founded in 1966 and is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.

Kate Robinson, Director of Ticketing and Communications Associate
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