The Crossroads Project presents a staged reading of the new play Even Flowers Bloom in Hell, Sometimes by Franky D. Gonzalez. Gonzalez’s play was selected as the first-ever winner of the Diverse Voices Playwriting Initiative.
This staged reading, directed by Illinois State Professor Dr. Kim Pereira, will take place Wednesday, October 28, at 7:30 p.m, via Zoom. This event is free and open to the public. Reserve your free e-ticket for the staged reading.
Even Flowers Bloom in Hell, Sometimes centers on the life of the Prisoner, a young man of color sentenced to 25 years in a correctional facility. He struggles with the monotony of life on the inside while dealing with estrangement from his family, mistreatment from the guards, and a profound sense of despair. Still, the Prisoner tries to imagine a world in which young Black and brown men are not trapped in a cycle of mass incarceration, engaging in conversations about religion, philosophy, and theatre with his sage-like cellmate. Structured as a mixtape with interludes and hidden tracks, this poetic and meditative play captures what it feels like to pass time in confinement without a future to look forward to.
The cast for the staged reading comprises a diverse group of current students and alumni of the School of Theatre and Dance: Christian Castro, Rondale Gray, Raul Marron, Demitri Corbin, Adam Stieber, Teresa Estrada, Christopher Leggins, Cheyenne Flores, and Adam Bridges.
In addition to the staged reading, there will be a public colloquium with playwright Franky D. Gonzalez on Friday, October 30, at 2 p.m. via Zoom. Crossroads Project Chair Kee-Yoon Nahm will moderate a discussion with Gonzalez on his career as a writer and theatre artist. This event is also free and open to the public. Reserve your free e-ticket to the colloquium.
The Diverse Voices Playwriting Initiative welcomes submissions for full-length, unproduced plays by playwrights of color in accordance with the mission statement of the Crossroads Project. A diverse panel of judges comprising of faculty, staff, and students selects one playwright as the winner of the contest.
The 2020 winner, Franky D. Gonzalez is a playwright and TV writer of Colombian descent splitting time between Dallas and Los Angeles. His work has appeared with The Lark, the Great Plains Theatre Conference, Bishop Arts Theatre Center, Repertorio Español, LAByrinth Theater Company, Dallas Theater Center, Austin Latinx New Play Festival, and many others. He has won the MetLife Nuestras Voces Latino Playwriting Award and the Short+Sweet Theatre Festival Manila Best Overall Production Prize. Gonzalez was selected for a MacDowell Fellowship and has written for the Netflix series 13 Reasons Why.
“If there is one thing I would like for audiences to take from this play,” notes Gonzalez, “it is to remember that incarceration does not equal a forfeiture of humanity.”
The Crossroads Project
The Crossroads Project is an advocacy committee comprising of faculty, staff, and students that promotes diversity and inclusion in the Illinois State University School of Theatre and Dance. In the past, Crossroads has invited established playwrights to Illinois State to participate in Main Stage productions of their work. Crossroads presented Ga-AD! by Ugandan playwright and director Adong Lucy Judith in 2018 and Delhi-based author Manjula Padmanabhan’s Harvest in 2017. The Diverse Voices Playwriting Initiative was created to complement these programs by supporting playwrights of color as they develop new work. In addition to providing opportunities for artists from historically underserved groups, the initiative creates an environment in which students and community members can interact directly with professional theatre artists.
This event is sponsored by the Harold K. Sage Foundation and the Illinois State University Foundation Fund.