New York Live Arts
219 West 19th St. between Sixth & Seventh Aves.
April 19-22, 26-29, $15-$35, 7:30
Three-time Bessie-winning dancer, choreographer, actress, and writer Okwui Okpokwasili will present the New York premiere of Poor People’s TV Room at New York Live Arts this week, a multidisciplinary exploration of forgotten black and brown women, inspired by the Igbo Women’s War of 1929 in her parents’ native Nigeria as well as the Black Lives Matter movement, Boko Haram, and colonialism. The work, which is the result of a two-year residency at NYLA, features songs, choreography, and text by Okpokwasili and visual designer Peter Born and will be performed by Okpokwasili, Thuli Dumakude, Katrina Reid, and Nehemoyia Young. “Focusing on cultural and historical memory, Poor People’s TV Room is a kind of rumination on absence — how particular forms of mediation, particular ways of looking and framing in attempting to create visibility, may hasten invisibility,” the Bronx-raised, Brooklyn-based Okpokwasili (Bronx Gothic, Pent Up: A Revenge Dance) said in a statement. “I’m thinking of the ‘Bring Back Our Girls Movement’ and the meme culture. I’m thinking about attempts to recover seminal historical moments from the margins, and what to recover. I am also considering Nollywood and cultural creation and projection and popular mythmaking.” The show, which debuted earlier this year at the Walker Center’s Out There festival, will run at NYLA April 19-22 and 26-29. “It is a space of becoming and unbecoming,” Okpokwasili added. To read Okpokwasili’s thoughts about the current political situation in America, go here.