Detroit ’67 and “Revolutionary” Youth

To Get Down on a Righteous Pair of Tickets Click Here!
Dominique Morisseau’s play Detroit ’67 takes place during an intense time in our national and even world history. There was the Vietnam War, nuclear threats, the assassination of President Kennedy, the fight for the Voting Rights Act, and the onward push of the civil rights movement with young leaders at the helm.

Juxtaposed to these signs of the times were the chart-topping Motown hits; songs that fell upon the ears and hearts of youth and gave voice to their dreams and passions. What was it like to be young in the 60’s?

“Empowered, Emboldened, and Revolutionary” are words one Ensemble Theatre patron uses to describe his experience as a youth in Detroit during the riots.

Detroit 67   3.18.2016-17While the play takes place specifically during the Detroit 1967 riots, it focuses on Lank and Michelle “Chelle,” a brother and sister trying to run a business together amidst the heated eruption of violence in their city; young entrepreneurs running an after-hours club in the basement of their deceased parent’s home. Fears for their future are being spurred by all the turmoil, and intersecting with their desire to be young and carefree.

Parallels between the 1960s and present time can be seen with the mounting tension and frustration between civilians and authority figures; and youth led activism such as the Black Lives Matter movement.  A new generation emerges and asserts themselves against inequalities and begins their endeavors to affect change.

Today’s technology allows youth to mobilize quickly with the use of social media. They can develop and run a campaign or movement from computers and mobile devices as seen in recent political and fundraising campaigns, and movements for social change on a global scale.

“Most of the movements of our day were led by youth,” says the Detroit native. “In many instances the parents were supporting them because in their day they knew they likely wouldn’t have had the numbers to make the impact we were making.”Detroit 67   3.18.2016-33

The lives of youth in any generation appear to be ever layered with the complexity of seeking justice and social changes towards issues of the day, with the simplicities  of good music, romance, and deciding what dreams to follow first.

We’re about to dim the lights and get ready for this psychedelic basement party in Detroit ’67To Get Down on a Righteous Pair of Tickets Click Here!

Detroit 67   3.18.2016-50

Fences: A Protection or A Divide

The Ensemble Theatre is preparing to kick off 2016 with August Wilson’s Fences, and we wanted to pause to think about metaphorical fences in our lives. In the play, the main character Troy is building a fence. It appears the fence is taking a long time to complete and the condition of the fence is somehow tied to the changing circumstances in his life.

Think of the intent in each of the following phrases:

Jesus be a fence (protection)
Wrong side of the fence (separation)
Straddle the fence (indecision or dilemma)
Falling off the fence (failure)
Don’t fence me in (barrier or boarder)

The fences in our lives are always there, and the purpose for them changes with the conditions that affect our perception:

That emotional fence you put up as a stronghold of protection against perceived harm or threat; the territorial ego hoarding a space or task from others; the separation and longing for someone or something you miss; that barrier or hurdle limiting your ability to advance; the idea that something you want or feel you deserve is off limits or inappropriate; or the feeling of constraint by boarders, boundaries, or rules.

Whether your fence is to hold something in or to block something out, it’s there. How did it get there? When did you begin working on your fence? Is it warm and inviting like a picket fence or cold as a chain link?
www.EnsembleHouston.com

fences

THE ENSEMBLE THEATRE IS THANKFUL FOR YOU

e-logoWhat do we mean when we say thank you for your support?

You are at the top of our thoughts as we take a pause to draw near to our families and share in this celebratory time of year. You are an extended family to The Ensemble Theatre as an institution collectively supported by the community, and to each of our board, staff, artists and volunteers whom you encounter.

We are diligent in our efforts to express our gratitude for your sponsorships, donations, subscriptions, and other support you provide to the theatre. However, what we are really thanking you for is the relationship we have with you. Our encounters are much deeper than a transaction.

Over time we’ve shared in our excitement for the theatre’s performances and special events; we’ve shared in our feedback where we believe there is room for growth; and we may even share a moment where we’ve experienced illness or loss, an anniversary, or an introduction to a relative visiting from out of town.

It’s the human connection that endears us closer through the shared experience of fulfilling The Ensemble Theatre mission to preserve African American artistic expression, and to enlighten, entertain, and enrich a diverse community. It’s knowing that your support helps provide employment for the artists and staff; it’s the joy you feel when you hear how your support has helped provide opportunities for youth to explore and experience the arts; it’s the feeling of achievement when you see the physical results of your support through a successfully run production or a facility improvement finally completed; and it’s the confidence in knowing the leadership and staff entrusted with the daily operations of one of your favorite institutions are doing their part in managing the community’s investment.

HOTT - subevent (3)

“Two Old Black Guys Just Sitting Around Talking” Brings Two Houston Veteran Actors Together

Two Old Black Guys Just Sitting Around Talking

“Two Old Black Guys Just Sitting Around Talking” makes its regional premiere at The Ensemble Theatre.

Two Old BlackGuys Just Sitting Around Talking brings together two of Houston’s veteran actors, Wayne DeHart and Alex Morris, who take us into a sometimes raw, sometimes gritty, yet always funny conversation between two aging friends; their brotherly relationship complicated by their age-old rivalry for the love of the same woman.

If you’ve ever eavesdropped on your elders’ conversations you know some of them can be pretty candid and laced with a few embellishments, yet chalked full of wisdom.

Both Wayne DeHart and Alex Morris, a former Alley Theatre company member, have a career spanning more than 30 years in stage, television, and film. Both men also began performing during the early years of The Ensemble Theatre and during the life of its late founder George W. Hawkins.

Wayne DeHart

Actor Wayne DeHart

The career paths of Morris and DeHart have many similarities and even intersect at several points, leaving one to conclude that each will bring a great deal of authenticity to the characters they play.

Alex Morris

Actor Alex Morris

“What I Learned in Paris” Brings A Lesson in Love, Life, and Liberation!

What I Learned in Paris

A Houston powerhouse of talent brings Pearl Cleage’s “What I Learned In Paris” to life at The Ensemble Theatre.

Have you ever been to Paris? Can you tell us what epiphanic lessons you learned there?

What I Learned In Paris finds a group of adults enthralled in what some would consider quite inappropriate and trivial behavior since their on the ebb of one of the major historically significant political achievements of the 1970’s. C’est la vie mon chéri. No matter what gravely important changes or monumental successes hang in our backdrop, it doesn’t stop life’s little nuances from occurring. “The heart wants what the heart wants.”What I Learned in Paris

The story takes some far out psychedelic twists when a divorcee, back in the ATL fresh from her trip to Paris and full of new age wisdom, has a few liberating lessons for the love torn bunch. Director Eileen J. Morris has put together a powerhouse of talent to bring every dimension of Pearl Cleage’s romantic comedy to life.

Featured cast members include: Yunina Barbour-Payne, making her debut on The Ensemble Theatre stage; Kendrick “KayB” Bown, just seen in Fly; Cynthia Brown Garcia, who was in The Ensemble’s premiere of the Thomas Meloncon play Christmas with Great Aunt; Detria Ward, who won the 2013 Houston Press Best Actress for her performance in The Ensemble’s production of Pearl Cleage’s The Nacirema Society; and Mirron Willis, who most recently performed as Malcolm X in The Meeting.

2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 750 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 13 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Could you Imagine Celebrating Without Music?

Stepp Stewart's A Soulful Christmas at The Ensemble Theatre Nov. 8 - Dec. 21, 2014.

Stepp Stewart’s A Soulful Christmas at The Ensemble Theatre Nov. 8 – Dec. 21, 2014.

Could you imagine the holidays or any festive celebration without music? No matter your cultural influences or preferred genre, music plays an integral part in our lives in some way. Music helps us tell stories, share experiences, and mark significant occasions. Years later, a faint melodic tune can bring back vivid memories of emotions,  places or times, and people we’ve shared moments with.

In The Ensemble Theatre’s upcoming production of Stepp Stewart’s A Soulful Christmas, two children are taken on a musical journey to discover the rich history within the music, dance, and culture of their family’s holiday celebrations. Audiences are in for a musical treat as the cast performs familiar songs by Michael Jackson, Donny Hathaway, The Temptations, and more!
November 8 – December 21, 2014
Tickets are on sale now: http://www.ensemblehouston.com/season/seasonlineup.html

  • Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • Calendar

    June 2017
    M T W T F S S
    « Mar    
     1234
    567891011
    12131415161718
    19202122232425
    2627282930  
  • Categories