Alumni News, Local Impact

Alumni and Faculty Participate in The Days of Re-creation Rolling Premiere

Bennington College has partnered with Bennington Performing Arts Center, Oldcastle Theatre, and the Bennington Community Theater to participate in a rolling premiere of 7 original made-for-Zoom plays, collectively entitled The Days of Re-Creation: A Virtual Play.

Image of The Days of Re-Creation logo

The Days of Re-Creation: A Virtual Play is loosely based on the seven days of creation from the Book of Genesis, originally developed by Live & In Color, a collective of BIPOC playwrights, led by Artistic Director Devanand Janki. The playwrights include Masi Asare, AriDy Nox, Erlina Ortiz, SEVAN, Nandita Shenoy, BD Wong, and Lauren Yee.

Throughout the month of September, theaters from around the country will premiere their own versions of these seven 10-minute plays. The Bennington Performing Arts Center’s production will premiere on September 25 at 7:00 pm for our audiences in Bennington and across the country in a free YouTube stream and will be available for viewing until 7:00 pm on September 28. 

This is a free event. Please register at the Bennington Performing Art Center's website to get the link to the YouTube video for the September 25 premiere. In lieu of a ticket price, the artists ask that donations be made to Vermont organizations Peace and Justice Center and Rights and Democracy.

These plays were written specifically for reading, performance, and recording on Zoom. The cast and crew are a combination of local talent and talent from across the U.S.

Faculty member Kirk Jackson organized Bennington College’s participation, which includes alumni Kaiya Kirk ’20 and Ron Anahaw ’19 in To the Stars, with Love by Nandita Shenoy and directed by guest faculty Shawtane Bowen.

"Being a part of The Days of Re-Creation was the most pure and necessary fun!" said Kaiya Kirk '20. "Needless to say, graduating in this climate with a theater degree was daunting, but I'm so grateful for the power of the Bennington community to stay connected against the odds. Of course, this isn't what I want theater to look like, but this experience is a great example to me of what is still possible! Enjoy and stay well!"

"Working on To the Stars, With Love was a great chance to reconnect with Shawtane and Kaiya and have fun with familiar faces as we worked collaboratively," said Ron Anahaw ’19. "Turning Zoom into a rehearsal room had more to offer than I expected, and I'm grateful we were able to carve out this little space for ourselves with this play."

Former guest faculty Chris Edwards directs Three Karens by BD Wong, which features faculty member Jennifer Rohn. Former guest faculty Oliver Wadsworth appears in S.C.R.I. by AriDy Nox and directed by Nathan Stith, Artistic Director at Oldcastle Theatre. Jackson also recruited freelance director Paul Nicholas to direct The Strong Friend and Company by Masi Asare.

"This was a great opportunity to engage with the greater Black Lives Matter movement through theater," said Jackson. "Live & In Color is a group of BIPOC professional playwrights, and I thought involving recent Drama alumni would be a way to engage students who graduated from Bennington into a world of practically no theater being produced. It was also an opportunity to partner with local arts organizations: Bennington Performing Arts Center, Oldcastle Theatre, and Bennington Community Theatre."

The directors for the Bennington Performing Arts Center production are Jennifer Jasper (Bennington Performing Arts Center), Nathan Stith (Oldcastle Theatre Company), Marisa Faller (Bennington Community Theater), Christopher V. Edwards (Actors’ Shakespeare Project), Shawtane Bowen (Bennington College), and J. Paul Nicholas (freelance Director), with Kirk Jackson and Oliver Wadsworth as part of the production team.

We are living in a time of incredible upheaval. Our daily lives are unrecognizable from a year ago. As a country, we are undergoing a deep reexamination of the institutions that surround us. Each day, it feels like we are recreating ourselves as individuals and rebuilding in new and better ways what has been corroded or purposefully torn down. 2020 will be seen as a pivotal year in the history of mankind. While it is a year full of fear, exhaustion, conflict, and death, it also has the potential to be a year of revolution, rebirth, and re-creation.

Over the weekend, 5,600 audience members tuned into the rolling premiere. A few of the comments left:

"Extremely powerful-—well done!"

"...Simply amazing. So thankful I saw this today."

"Goddamn-—that was stunning!!!"

"Bravi! Fabulous. Of course, I was moved, and cried. Great work all. Despite the challenging times, you brought theatre to us. Thank you."

"Great show—thank you everyone for your hard work."

"Days of Recreation was great."