Friday, October 22—Sunday, October 24
6:00 pm—7:00 pm
Jackie Robinson Park Bandshell (Harlem)
Bradhurst Ave and 148th Street, New York, NY 10039
Sounding Board is an experimental play about how to to love an artist. Two pairs of actors take the stage on a set especially designed by Self, a collage of flat panels that echo the brightly colored, geometric language of her critically acclaimed paintings, forming a domestic setting compete with sculptural furniture, brought to life by psychedelic oil projections.
The two couples—wearing costumes also designed by Self, created in collaboration with fashion brand UGG—enact an argument that replays the same dialogue in radically different styles across three acts, also referencing their almost desperate need for attention as artists. The acts are punctuated by music performed by a Boney M cover band, directed by Vuyolwethu Sotashe, singing songs that's lyrics emphasize and echo aspects of the play, akin to a Greek chorus.
Sounding Board emphasizes an experience that's universal in its emotion: the infinite reworking of the same argument between two lovers, with little to no resolution.
Curated by Kathy Noble, Senior Curator & Head of Curatorial Affairs
Hunter Bryant, Alexis Cofield, Cj Hart, and Imani Love
Mary Akpa, Ahmad Johnson, Alexis Lombre, Mathis Picard, Vuyolwethu Sotashe, and April May Webb
Writer & Director: Tschabalala Self
Assistant Director: Kathy Noble and Orlando Estrada
Casting Director: Tschabalala Self
Casting Co-ordinator: Nectar Knuckles
Music Director: Vuyolwethu Sotashe
Senior Producer & Manager of Media Initiatives: Sasha Okshteyn
Performa 2021 Biennial Fellows: Joyce Chung, Nectar Knuckles
Furniture Prop Fabricator: Paul Johnson
Stage Prop Fabricator: Hudson Scenic Studio
Stage Manager: Isaac Tamburino
Set Fabrication: Hudson Scenic Studio
Technical Producer/Sound Designer: Garth MacAleavey
Lighting Designer: Andrew Giugno
Costume Designer: Tschabalala Self
Costume Fabricator: Greg Lagola and Raylene Marasco
Oil Projection: Liquid Light Show by Marco Ferrero, Steve Pavlovsky, Andrew Platt
Audio Technician: David Zuckerman and Isaac Silber
Technical Production: Crossfire
Graphic Designer: Furqan Jawed
Security: Andy Dwyer Associates
NYC Parks, UGG, Eva Presenhuber Gallery, Pilar Corrias Gallery, Jana La Sorte, and Taner Gadime.
Toby Devan Lewis, Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, the Ford Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and presented in partnership with UGG®
Self (b.1990, New York, lives and works in Harlem and New Haven) received her BA from Bard College in 2012 and her MFA from the Yale School of Art in 2015. Recent solo exhibitions include ICA Boston, 2020, Baltimore Museum of Art, 2020, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, 2019, Yuz Museum, Shanghai, 2018, and Tramway, Glasgow, 2017 and a residency at the Studio Museum in 2018-2019.
Hunter Bryant is an Aquarius from Jersey living in Brooklyn. He earned dual degrees in BFA Acting & BA Creative Writing from The Theatre School at DePaul University, with additional training at Maggie Flanigan Studio. Represented by McGowan-Rodriguez Management.
Alexis Cofield is a Brooklyn based Black American theatre artist. She holds a BFA in Drama from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and is represented by Bohemia Group and Bonafide and Emerging Artists. More at alexiscofield.com.
Cj Hart is a Brooklyn based creative who is passionate about self-exploration. He has found that acting has expanded his identity and insists on helping others find that same expansion.
Imani Love is overjoyed to make her New York stage debut in the cast of Sounding Board. She is best recognized for her on-screen performances in Pretty Smart (Netflix) and Dietland (AMC). For more on Love and her upcoming projects, please visit www.imani-love.com.
Mary Akpa is a Nigerian-American singer, songwriter, and producer, blending guitar-driven soul with African and jazz sensibilities. She has performed on countless stages, both domestic and international. Stay tuned for her upcoming album Nnoo later this fall.
Ahmad Johnson is a multifaceted jazz musician, quickly emerging as one of his generation's modal figures. Having been blessed with many opportunities to showcase his passion for drums, Johnson’s versatility has led him to provide for the arts community, and work with well-known artists around the world.
Alexis Lombre is a vocalist and pianist from Chicago, who has toured internationally in South Africa and France as a leader and a side woman. She has performed / recorded with world class musicians such as: Marquis Hill, J Moss, Cece Peniston, Nona Hendryx, Donald Harrison, Rudresh Manhatappa, Wadada Leo Smith, Isaiah Sharkey & Jamila Woods. Check out her newest single “Come Find Me” on all digital platforms! AlexisLombre.com
Mathis Picard is a French-Malagasy pianist, composer, producer based in New York City.
Mathis has performed with Ron Carter, Wynton Marsalis, Etienne Charles, Braxton Cook, Lillias White, Veronica Swift and more. His upcoming solo album “Live At The Museum” is set for release this winter 2022.
Vuyolwethu Sotashe is proud to be working with Performa again after having collaborated with the organization in 2016 for the Athi Patra Ruga Commission, as well as in 2017 for Performa's Opening Night Gala. Sotashe has previously toured and performed with Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, Mwenso & The Shakes, and has recently created work at The Public Theater, and St Ann's Warehouse. More at vuyosotashe.com
APRIL MAY WEBB
April May is an award-winning, Billboard-charting artist, and Kansas native. May is the first African-American female to graduate from The William Paterson University Jazz Education program. She is the co-founder of jazz duo Sounds of A&R aka S.O.A.R—named “Best Jazz Group” at the 2019 NYC Reader’s Jazz Awards.
Marco Ferrero is a New York based multimedia lighting designer. He is currently in collaboration with Steve Pavlovsky (NYC) and Andrew Platt (LA). Together, they utilize liquid projections, experimental media, and hand-made organic elements first seen in the Psychedelic Light Shows of the 1960s. Inspired by the visual music traditions of Kandinsky, Thomas Wilfred, Oskar Fischinger and The Joshua Light Show, they create a living, breathing, visual expression of music. www.marcoferrero.com
Isaac Tamburino is a multi-instrumentalist, performing and writing music while bringing live performances from concept to the stage around the country—including a decade with Frank Sinatra, Jr. as a road and production manager. He holds a BA in Musical Arts from California Institute of the Arts.