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Sojourners

Sojourners
(April 12 - May 5, 2016)

by Mfoniso Udofia
directed by Ryan Guzzo Purcell

Newlywed Abasiama has a plan: she will go to America with her husband to get an education, and then return home to join in Nigeria’s rebirth after the Civil War. But in a country where home, marriage, and love don’t mean what she expects, she finds her loyalties tested in the face of an impossible choice.

Meet the Playwright

Mfoniso Udofia is a 1st Generation Nigerian-American storyteller, actress and educator. Mfoniso attended Wellesley College for Political Science and obtained her MFA in Acting from San Francisco’s Tony Award winning, American Conservatory Theater. During her stay in the Bay, she co-pioneered a youth initiative, The Nia Project, which provided artistic outlets for youth residing in Bayview/Huntspoint.

Mfoniso’s play, Sojourners, which was recently seen at the 2014 NNPN conference as part of the National New Play Showcase will be produced off-Broadway by Playwrights Realm. In Fall 2015, Mfoniso will travel to Whidbey Island to attend Hedgebrook’s rural retreat for women writers. Mfoniso’s plays have been developed and/or presented/produced by Playwrights Realm, The Magic Theatre, The National Black Theater, Sundance Theatre Lab, Space on Ryder Farm, NNPN New Play Showcase, Makehouse, Soul Productions, terraNOVA, Page73 Development Programs, The New Black Fest, Rising Circle’s INKTank, At Hand Theatre Company, The Standard Collective, Liberation Theatre Company and JJCEO Youth Programs in Birmingham, Alabama. Mfoniso was a finalist for the 2015 PoNY Prize and she’s been a finalist for the Eugene O’Neill NPC, Bay Area Playwrights Festival, Many Voices Fellowship,  Page 73 Development Programs, Jerome Fellowship, NYTW’s 20/50 Fellowship, The Source Festival & Lark Playwrights’ Week. Follow her at @mfudofia and check out her site www.mfonisoudofia.com for the latest news.

Meet the Cast & Crew

Ryan Guzzo Purcell (Director) is the Founding Artistic Director of The Williams Project, a theatre company dedicated to creating epic, compassionate, expertly crafted theatre while paying all artists a living wage. In his time as associate artistic director at Magic theatre Ryan directed Bad Jews and pen/man/ship, along with numerous workshops and readings. Directing credis include Intiman Theatre, A.C.T. San Francisco, LaMaMa ETC, and Trinity Repertory Company, among others. He is a Fulbright Scholar, A Princess Grace Foundation Honoree, and a Drama League Directing Fellow. He is a leadership consultant with Stand and Deliver Group, and his teaching credits include Stanford University, Brown University, the A.C.T. MFA program, and in San Francisco Juvenile Detention. He received his M.F.A. from Brown University and his B.F.A. from Boston University. www.thewilliamsproject.org, www.standanddelivergroup.com

Katherine Renee Turner* (Abasiama Ekpeyoung – Sojourners / sister – runboyrun) This marks Katherine’s Magic Theatre debut, and she is thrilled to be working on a soon-to-be classic body of work amongst an amazing group of artists. Her other Bay Area theatre credits include The Convert (Jekesai/Esther; awarded Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Principal Role by Theatre Bay Area; nominated Best Principal Actress by San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle) and Fetch Clay, Make Man (Sonji Roi Clay; nominated Best Featured Actress by SFBATCC) both at Marin Theatre Company. Regional Credits: Dontrell, Who Kissed the Sea (Theatre Alliance, DC); Fetch Clay, Make Man (Sonji, remounted at Round House Theatre, MD and the National Black Theatre Festival, NC); The Tempest, Much Ado About Nothing and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Shakespeare Theatre Company, DC); The Laramie Project (Ford’s Theatre, DC); The Threepenny Opera (Signature Theatre, VA) and others. Katherine is a proud AEA member, alumnus of Ithaca College, and in the fall she will begin her journey towards receiving her MFA in acting with Group 49 at The Juilliard School.

Rotimi Agbabiaka* (Disciple Ufot – Sojourners / boy - runboyrun) is thrilled to make his Magic Theatre debut. He most recently appeared in Hair (Hud) with Bay Area Musicals, Holiday High Jinx (Dancing Dan) with Word for Word, Choir Boy (Junior) at Marin Theatre Company, The Amen Corner (David) with Alter Theater, We Are Proud To Present ... (Another Black Man) at Just Theater, and Raisin in The Sun (Asagai) at Cal Shakes. He is a collective member of the San Francisco Mime Troupe, and Associate Artist of Alter Theater, a former cast member at Beach Blanket Babylon, and his solo play, Homeless, won Best Solo Performance at the SF Fringe Festival. Mr. Agbabiaka also teaches youth theatre with the SF Mime Troupe, SF Shakes, and Each One Reach One. He has directed for the SF One Minute Play Festival and writes articles for Theatre Bay Area magazine. He studied at Moscow Art Theatre and earned his MFA from Northern Illinois University.

Jarrod Smith* (Ukpong Ekpeyoung – Sojourners) is an actor from LaPlace, Louisiana, a suburb right outside of New Orleans. Jarrod attended and graduated from Southern University of Baton Rouge with a Bachelor of Arts in History in 2011. In 2008, while at Southern, he took an interest in acting, and was immediately bitten by the acting bug. Jarrod's interest and talents soon led him to the training grounds of the prestigious American Conservatory Theater. Jarrod made his professional debut in the South Coast Repertory/Pasadena Playhouse co-production of the The Whipping Man. Jarrod making his debut at Magic Theater and is absolutely thrilled to make a return to the Bay Area.





Jamella Cross (Moxie Wilis - Sojourners) is an artist that loves working in the theatrical community. Creating with others is something she is very passionate about and she believes unity and togetherness is what makes a piece of art grow stronger. She has worked with theatre companies such as Bay Area Children's Theatre (The Day the Crayons Quit and Bad Kitty), TheatreFirst (Stop Kiss),Berkeley Playhouse (Hairspray), Free Theatre (Henry IV), Virago Theatre Company (Crooked), Ubuntu Theatre Project (Dance of the Holy Ghost), and 3Girls Company (Girl Talk) which are all located throughout the Bay Area. This is her first time on the Magic Theatre stage and she is beyond excited! She sends peace, love, and good vibes to everyone here and hopes you enjoy!!

Justin Schelgel* (Stage Manager – Sojourners)  is excited to return to Magic for his fourth show. Magic credits include Any Given DayLily's Revenge and An Accident. Additional stage management credits include: THEATREWORKS-Silicon Valley, San Francisco Shakespeare Festival, Word for Word/ Z Space, Sundance Theatre Lab, Ojai Playwright's Festival, Center for New Performance, Théâtre Dijon Bourgogne, Théâtre des treize-ventes (Montpellier) and Théâtre National de la Colline (Paris).  Mr. Schlegel received professional training at Oregon Shakespeare Festival, American Repertory Theater and was a Production Assistant to Sir Peter Hall. He received his BFA from Southern Oregon University and MFA from CalArts.

 

Erik Flatmo** (Scenic Designer) recently designed the sets for Bright Half Life, Fred’s Diner, The Sister Play and Bad Jews at The Magic. His work at other theatre companies includes A.C.T., Asolo Repertory Theatre (Florida), Berkeley Rep, Cal Shakes, South Coast Rep, Theatreworks, The Old Globe and Yale Rep. He works regularly with choreographers Joe Goode and Trajal Harrell, and recently designed the set for an original LGBT Mass Requiem composed by Holcombe Waller. He holds an MFA from the Yale School of Drama and teaches set design at Stanford University.

 

Karina Chavarin (Costume Designer) is excited to be making her Magic Theatre Costume Design debut. Karina is a West Coast designer who studied Theatrical Design at UC Santa Cruz, where she won the Art's Deens Award for Costume Design. Recent credits include Associate Costume Design for Dogeaters at the Magic Theatre; Associate Costume Design for the entire 2015 season at California Shakespeare Theatre. Karina anxiously awaits what's up next at California Shakespeare Theatre where she is designing costumes for Much Ado About Nothing. Her favorite previous designs include Rent directed by Danny Scheie and Machinal directed by Kristen Brandt.

 

York Kennedy** (Lighting Designer) is a Lighting Designer for the Performing Arts and Architecture.  His designs for the stage have been seen in theatres across America, in Europe and Asia in companies including Arena Stage, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, Berkeley Rep, Seattle Repertory, American Conservatory Theatre, Sacramento Opera, Polish National Opera, Los Angeles Opera, The Alley Theatre, Dallas Theatre Center, Yale Rep, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Goodspeed Musicals and the Denver Center.  He has designed over 45 productions for The Old Globe Theatre in San Diego, CA and spent six seasons as resident lighting designer for the company’s Shakespeare Festival. Awards for theatrical lighting include the Dramalogue, San Diego Drama Critics Circle, Back Stage West Garland, Arizoni Theatre Award and the Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Award. In the dance world he has designed for Malashock Dance, Brian Webb and Tracey Rhodes. As an architectural lighting designer he has designed both nationally and internationally numerous themed environments, theme park, residential, retail, restaurant and museum projects. Current projects include Moscow Dream Island, Russia, Motiongate, Dubai, The Invisible Hand at Marin Theatre Company and Rear Window (Broadway). He is a graduate of the California Institute for the Arts and the Yale School of Drama.

 

David Molina (Composer and Sound Designer) is an award-winning composer, multi-instrumentalist, sound artist/designer, recording engineer, and instrument inventor. He has created music and sound for the performing arts, film, and multimedia productions for the past 20 years. Theater has allowed him to collaborate with companies nationally and internationally. His instruments and sound installations have been displayed throughout bay area galleries and festivals. He performs with Idris Ackamoor, The Pyramids, and Ackamoor/Molina Duo. Molina's music and bands: Ghosts and StringsTransient, and Impuritan are available on Resting Bell (Berlin,) Dorog Records (Peru), Black Note Music, and Distant Spore, or self released. More information: www.drmsound.com    

  

Jessica Berman (Dialect Coach) is a dialect, voice, and text coach.  She continues her work with Magic Theatre after co-coaching Fred’s Diner in 2015.  As a teacher and coach, Jessica has led dialect workshops for the Royal Shakespeare Company, and taught voice and speech at UC Berkeley, A.C.T.’s STC, and Academy of Art University.  Recent coaching credits include Punk Rock (A.C.T.’s YC), Summertime and Aulis: An Act of Nihilism in One Long Act (UC Berkeley), andJerusalem (SF Playhouse).  Jessica holds an MA from the Birmingham School of Acting and an MFA from the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama.

 

Rooster Productions, LLC (Scenic Construction) is a small employee-owned scene shop located in Martinez, California. Rooster provides each client with hands-on, dedicated service, and creative, effective technical solutions to ensure complete realization of their designs. Rooster's team consists of experienced multi-disciplinary project managers, scenic carpenters, welders, sculptors and painters who have a deep appreciation of the possibilities of construction materials. Rooster's approach to scenic construction provides creative solutions that are as budget-sensitive as they are spectacular, and can be delivered as envisioned. Over the past few years, Rooster's theatrical client roster has rapidly grown to include many companies ranging from Fremont Opera and Oakland School for the Arts to American Conservatory Theatre, Contra Costa Musical Theatre, and the recent hit production of Home Street Home at Z Space.

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