Rebellion Drama Returns to a Detroit Stage

DETROIT -- Detroiters who missed last year’s debut of “AFTER/LIFE,” a play chronicling the ’67 rebellion and the roles of women in the confrontation, will be able to catch it in an enhanced reading this month as it returns for one day only. The performance will be free but seating is limited.

“AFTER/LIFE: In Honor of the City Rising from the Ashes” debuted in Detroit last year to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Detroit rebellion. The staged reading will take place July 20 at 7 p.m. at the Williams Center, 8431 Rosa Parks Boulevard. Tickets can be reserved at https://afterlifestagereading.eventbrite.com

“What's different this year is that I've done some new writing to expand and clarify some of the original story lines around the female characters,” explained Dr. Lisa Biggs, who conceived this version of the play with Billicia Hines, director of the Black Theatre Program at Wayne State University.

“The performances last year introduced me to so many people in the neighborhood who were there and remembered first-hand where they were and what went on. So it was important to deepen some of the characters' storylines with this new information,” Biggs said.

In July 1967, Detroit residents in largely African-American neighborhoods squared off against the city’s largely white police department in a five-day confrontation that resulted in the deaths of 43 people (33 African-American and 10 white). The clash, which saw thousands of buildings burned, followed a police raid on an after-hours nightclub; residents said the rebellion was in response to an overzealous and racist police force.

The July 20 performance will feature a cast of new and established Detroit actors: Indigo Colbert, Lynette (Lani) Call, Assata Haki, Luke Hodgson, Timothy Hiemstra, Yolanda Jack, Yakeem Tatum and Taylor Jones.

Dr. Biggs, an actress, playwright and performance scholar, developed the play along with her students while serving as an assistant professor in the Residential College in the Arts and Humanities at Michigan State University. The initial debut was supported by a grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

Tickets are free but seating is limited. For more information or to get tickets, go to https://afterlifestagereading.eventbrite.com.






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