THE BLACK FEMINIST GUIDE TO THE HUMAN BODY
A SPIRITUAL MIXTAPE TO RECLAIM YOUR HEALTH
Playwright: Lisa B. Thompson
Director: Margo Hall
Dramaturg: Amissa Miller
Saturday, February 24, 2024 at 2pm
Museum of the African Diaspora
September 18 - October 6, 2024
Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture
Lisa B. Thompson makes a triumphant return to the Bay Area with her latest work, expanding upon her acclaimed career exploring Black middle class womanhood in America. The Black Feminist Guide to the Human Body details an intimate examination into aging and health disparities for Black women as well as capitalism's impact on Black bodies and spirits. By combining poetic musings, spiritual dance and a soulful mixtape, this piece offers a community guide as a love song to Black women.
The Black Feminist Guide to the Human Body is a National Performance Network (NPN) Creation & Development Fund Project co-commissioned by SEW Productions Inc, Lorraine Hansberry Theatre. VORTEX Repertory Company, FUSEBOX AUSTIN, Pyramid Theatre Company, and NPN. The Creation & Development Fund is supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts (a federal agency). For more information: www.npnweb.org
Tickets on Sale July 24, 2024
“I’m grateful to LHT for prioritizing Black women and [fem-identifying] artists,” says Thompson. “As the Combahee River Collective stated in 1977: ‘If Black women were free, it would mean that everyone else would have to be free, since our freedom would necessitate the destruction of all the systems of oppression.’ I believe that. So, if we prioritize Black women’s artistic work it moves us all collectively towards beauty, truth, equality, and freedom. That’s a glorious place to be.”
- Lisa B. Thompson
LISA B. THOMPSON
LISA B. THOMPSON is an award-winning artist/scholar whose satirical comedies, poignant dramas, and insightful criticism explode stereotypes about Black life in the US, particularly the experiences of the Black middle class. Her plays have been produced Off-Broadway, throughout the US, and internationally by Crossroads Theatre, Theatre Rhinoceros, the Vortex, The Lorraine Hansberry Theatre, 1st Stage Theatre, Soul Rep Theatre Company, Austin Playhouse, Ensemble Theatre, The Billie Holiday Theatre, Chiswick Playhouse, and The National Black Theatre Festival among others. Thompson’s publications include Beyond the Black Lady: Sexuality and the New African American Middle Class (University of Illinois Press, 2009), Single Black Female (Samuel French, 2012), Underground, Monroe, and The Mamalogues: Three Plays (Northwestern University Press, 2020), and The Mamalogues (Samuel French, 2021). She has also published articles and reviews in Theatre Journal, Journal of American Drama, Theatre Survey, NPR, Criterion Collection, Huffington Post and The Washington Post. Her creative and scholarly work has received support from a number of institutions including the American Council of Learned Societies, Hedgebrook, MacDowell, Millay Arts, National Performance Network, Center for the Study of Race and Democracy, Clayman Institute for Gender Research, W. E. B. DuBois Research Institute at the Hutchins Center, The Fusebox International Festival, and Texas Performing Arts. In 2022 Thompson began co-hosting and co-producing Black Austin Matters, a podcast and radio segment on KUT: Austin’s NPR station that explores Black life, culture, and politics in Central Texas. She is currently the Patton Professor of African and African Diaspora Studies and the College of Liberal Arts’ Advisor to the Dean for Faculty Mentoring and Support at the University of Texas at Austin.
MARGO HALL award-winning actor/director/playwright/educator and the Artistic Director of Lorraine Hansberry Theatre. Recently awarded the 2021 Kenneth Rainin Fellowship in Theater and listed as one of the YBCA 100 honorees.
She most recently directed In The Evening By The Moonlight, a world premiere that she co-created with writer Traci Tolmaire for Lorraine Hansberry Theatre. Other directing credits include Hieroglyph (filmed live on stage and streamed virtually) a co-production with LHT and SF Playhouse., How I Learned What I Learned, Thurgood and Rejoice! for LHT. Barbecue, Red Velvet, and The Story, for SF Playhouse. Sonny's Blues, a story by James Baldwin, for Word for Word, which toured France. She co-directed Bulrusher with Ellen Chang, and Once on This Island, Hamlet, Blood in the Brain, SPUNK, The Trojan Women, It Falls, Ragtime, and A Streetcar Named Desire for Chabot College. Polaroid Stories and In the Red and Brown Water for UC Berkeley.
Acting credits include Black Odyssey*, Fences, Twelfth Night, A Raisin in the Sun, A Winter's Tale, American Night: The Ballad of Juan Jose and SPUNK for the California Shakespeare Theater, JAZZ, Skeleton Crew, Gem of the Ocean, Fences and Seven Guitars for Marin Theater Company. Ah! Wilderness, Once in a Lifetime, and Marcus or the Secret of Sweet* at The American Conservatory Theater. Exit Strategy, and Trouble in Mind*, at the Aurora Theater, Marcus Gardley's A World in a Woman's Hands for Shotgun Players. Barbecue* (also directed), and MF with a Hat at SF Playhouse.
Some of her acting credits for Campo Santo** include Josephine’s Feast, Nobody Move, Mirrors in Every Corner, Fe in the Desert, Stairway to Heaven, Hamlet: Blood in the Brain, 17 Reasons (Why) and Polaroid Stories, floating weeds, References to Salvador Dali Make Me Hot, Bethlehem and Hurricane. She has toured France with Word for Word as Missie May in The Gilded Six-Bits by Zora Neale Hurston and Oceola in The Blues I'm Playing by Langston Hughes.
Margo's recent film credits include Leslie White in All Day and a Night, Nancy in Blindspotting, and the voice of Melba in Pixar's SOUL. TV credits include Nancy in Blindspotting on STARZ, Helen in Chances, Marsha Watkins, and Blind Witness on Nash Bridges.
Margo completed her first writing project in April 2005 with the World Premiere of The People's Temple at Berkeley Repertory Theater, which won the Glickman Award for best new play in the Bay Area for 2005. She was part of a collaborative team of four writers who used interviews of survivors and archival material to form a play exploring the People's Temple movement and the tragic ending at Jonestown. The play went on from Berkeley Rep. to The Perseverance Theater in Juneau, Alaska, and the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis. Margo is also part of the acting ensemble. In 2013 she premiered her semi-biographical piece, Be Bop Baby, a Musical Memoir, at Z Space, featuring the 15-piece Marcus Shelby Orchestra, which chronicled her life growing up in Detroit with her jazz musician stepfather, who was with Motown. Lyrics and book by Margo Hall, with original music composed by Marcus Shelby.
**She is a founding member of Campo Santo, a theater company in San Francisco *Theater Bay Area best actress recipient
Amissa Miller is a dramaturg, playwright, director, educator, and facilitator. Her recent dramaturgy credits include Jacqueline Woodson’s The Day You Begin at The Kennedy Center, and Mary Glen Frederick’s Edit Annie, A-lan Holt's The Bottom of Heaven, and Christina Anderson's Inked Baby, all at Crowded Fire Theater. Her play Her Own Things was published in the Fall 2019 African Voices Magazine tribute issue honoring Ntozake Shange. Other plays include Breaths (Playwrights’ Center of San Francisco Best Plays of 2019), Refusal of the Call (PlayGround SF 2020 Reading Series), and Heart Like an Ocean (Pear Theatre’s 2021 Fresh Baked Pears Festival). Directing credits include staged readings for Crowded Fire Theater’s Matchbox Series, SFBATCO’s Creators Lab, and 3GirlsTheatre’s LezWritesBTQ Cohort. Amissa teaches in Performing Arts and Ethnic Studies at Saint Mary's College of California and is a proud member of the 2023 Obie Award-winning organization Anticapitalism for Artists.