Gordin's View

Southern Promises Opens @ The Flea

Thomas Bradshaw’s provocative melodrama closes out The Flea’s Color Brave Season.

March 24: 2019:  The Flea’s Artistic Director, Niegel Smith, has helmed a disturbing new production of Southern Promises, Thomas Bradshaw’s provocative 2008 melodrama on the corrupting power of American slavery, which opened at The Flea’s Sam on Sunday. The Flea ends its Color Brave season with Niegel Smith’s haunting staging of Southern Promises.

Cast – Adam Coy, Timothy Park, Jahsiah Rivera, Darby Davis, Selamawit Worku, Adrain Washington Bottom Row – Marcus Jones,Yvonne Jessica Pruit, Brittany Zaken, Shakur Tolliver

Thomas Bradshaw’s provocative melodrama closes out The Flea’s Color Brave Season.

March 24: 2019:  The Flea’s Artistic Director, Niegel Smith, has helmed a disturbing new production of Southern Promises, Thomas Bradshaw’s provocative 2008 melodrama on the corrupting power of American slavery, which opened at The Flea’s Sam on Sunday. The Flea ends its Color Brave season with Niegel Smith’s haunting staging of Southern Promises.

In Bradshaw’s tale a plantation owner on his deathbed vows to set his slaves free, but when his wife rejects the request after his passing, chaos erupts on. Based on slave narratives, and featuring an all PoC company of actors, Southern Promises takes a thought provoking look at the deeply disturbing power of American slavery and its lasting grip on our country’s hearts and institutions.

Artistic Director Niegel Smith, Playwright Thomas Bradshaw, Producing Director Flea Carol Ostrow

Carol Ostrow, The Flea’s Producing Director, said,  “We are thrilled to welcome Thomas Bradshaw back to The Flea as we revisit his searing and singular investigation of American slavery. With his confident theatrical voice, he dares us to turn our sights away from the legacy with which we all wrestle.” 

Artistic Director, Niegel Smith, adds, “It’s high time to revisit Bradshaw’s Southern Promises. His play lays bare the seductiveness of institutional power and how that power can corrupt us absolutely.”

Southern Promises features The Bats, the resident acting company at The Flea including Adam Coy, Darby Davis, Marcus Jones, Timothy Park, Yvonne Jessica Pruitt, Jahsiah Rivera, Shakur Tolliver, Adrain Washington, Selamawit Worku, and Brittany Zaken. The creative team includes Jason Sherwood (Scenic Designer), Claudia Brown (Costume Designer), Jorge Arroyo (Lighting Designer), Fabian Obispo (Sound Designer), Nikiya Mathis (Hair and Makeup Designer), Arnold Mungioli, Mungioli Theatricals (Casting Director), Rocio Mendez (Violence/Intimacy Choreographer), Tyler Thomas (Assistant Director) and Anna Kovacs (Stage Manager).

Niegel Smith and Creative Team

The Bats are the resident acting company members of The Flea Theater. Each season, over a thousand actors audition for a place in this unique company. The Bats perform in extended runs of challenging classics, as well world premieres of new plays. They are the lifeblood of The Flea.

The Flea Theater, under Artistic Director Niegel Smith and Producing Director Carol Ostrow, is one of New York’s leading Off-Off-Broadway companies. Winner of several Obie Awards, a Special Drama Desk Award for outstanding achievement and an Otto Award for political theater. 

Southern Promises runs March 11 through April 14,Thursdays through Mondays at 7p.m., with Sunday matinees at 3 p.m.  Tickets start at $17 with the lowest priced tickets available on a first-come, first-served basis. The Flea Theater is located at 20 Thomas Street between Church and Broadway, three blocks north of Chambers, close to the A/C/E, N/Q/R/W, 4/5/6, J/M/Z and 1/2/3 subway lines. Purchase tickets by calling 212-352-3101 or online at www.theflea.org.

Opening Night Photography: Barry Gordin

Yvonne Jessica Pruit, Shakur Tolliver
Jahsiah Rivera, Brittany Zaken
Jahsiah Rivera, Shakur Tolliver, Yvonne Jessica Pruit, Brittany Zaken
Niegel Smith, Charles Wright
Happy Birthday Thomas Bradshaw
Niegel Smith, Patrick Christiano, Shakur Tolliver
Mrs. Bradshaw, Jahsiah Rivera
Claudia Brown, Terry Gruber
Niegel Smith, Thomas Bradshaw
Adam Coy, Shakur Tolliver, Jahsiah Rivera, Darby Davis, Yvonne Jessica Pruit, Brittany Zaken
Thomas Bradshaw, Jahsiah Rivera , Shakur Tolliver
Neigel Smith, Carol Ostrow, Thomas Bradshaw, Adam Coy, Timothy Park, Jahsiah Rivera, Darby Davis, Selamawit Worku, Adrain Washington, Marcus Jones, Yvonne Jessica Pruit, Brittany Zaken, Shakur Tolliver