"Flyin' West" photos
Weathervane Playhouse in Akron, Ohio, presents "Flyin' West," a drama by Pearl Cleage.

Presented live on stage Feb. 7 to 24, 2013.

Directed by Jennifer Kay Jeter

ABOUT THE PLAY

Set in 1898 outside the all-black town of Nicodemus, Kansas, "Flyin’ West" examines the lives, memories and hopes of four women — two former slaves and two free women — seeking a better life. But even in the free state of Kansas — and even away from the uncertainties of the post-Civil War South — the women find that their new surroundings are not free of danger and unexpected twists.

"Flyin’ West" playwright Pearl Cleage shaped her fictional drama around the factual ramifications of the Homestead Act, the Emancipation Proclamation and the 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution.

Passed by the U.S. Congress in 1862, the Homestead Act became the vehicle by which many freed slaves could seek their liberty and reach for a piece of the American Dream. The Homestead Act enabled any applicant to get — at little or no cost — a single plot of roughly 160 acres on undeveloped federal land west of the Mississippi River. One year later, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, which declared the freedom of slaves (in the 10 Confederate states then in rebellion against the Union). After the 13th Amendment was passed and adopted in 1865 — thus abolishing slavery — thousands of freed slaves and their families were suddenly able to decide whether to remain in the South or to strike out on their own elsewhere.

Former enslaved African Americans left the American South in organized groups at the end of the of post-Civil War Reconstruction period to experience freedom on the free soils of Kansas. The town of Nicodemus in "Flyin’ West" represents the involvement of African Americans in the western expansion and settlement of the Great Plains. Today, according the National Park Service, it is the oldest and only remaining all-black town west of the Mississippi River.

"Flyin’ West" was originally commissioned and produced by the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta, where it premiered in November 1992. Since then, the play has been produced by hundreds of regional theaters and community-theater organizations across the United States — including a 1994 production at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.

Weathervane Playhouse's production of "Flyin' West" is made possible with support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

THE "FLYIN' WEST" CAST

ROSLYN HENDERSON-SEARS
Sophie Washington

PAMELA MORTON
Miss Leah

TINA THOMPKINS
Fannie Dove

JERMAINE LAMAR HARRIS
Wil Parish

DANEA RHODES
Minnie Dove Charles

MARC JACKSON
Frank Charles

THE "FLYIN' WEST" CREATIVE TEAM

JENNIFER KAY JETER
Director

MIRANDA ROTH
Stage Manager

SUSAN STOUT DAVIS
Lighting Designer

MATTHEW BOEHLKE
Sound Designer

PAMELA PARKS COSTA
Properties Designer

JASEN J. SMITH
Costume Designer

ALAN SCOTT FERRALL
Scenic Designer and Technical Director

KATHY KOHL
Assistant Technical Director


All photos in this Flickr set were shot for Weathervane Playhouse by Scott Diese on Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2013.
45 photos · 129 views