Sunset Dreams by Anita Gonzalez; directed by Pat Jones
Synopsis: It all started when Lynette listened to her sister Maryse and agreed to travel to the Caribbean for Thanksgiving. It sounded ok. Distant relatives heading to the beach to get away from work and family strife. At first all is good. But once everyone settles in at the hotel, spats and bickering collide with piña coladas and shared vulnerabilities. To top it off, Aunt Nettie’s mental state keeps everyone on edge. Maryse and Lynette regurgitate old wounds and honor their shared childhood experiences. Eventually, the celebrants reach Sunset Dreams beach and immerse themselves in salty ocean waves. Except they don’t know how to swim. Ancestors and ancient rituals long-forgotten sooth their wounds.
The Donkey Skin Sisters by Holli C. Sinn; directed by Caitlin Hart; music by Jenn Haartman Luck
Synopsis: After a ten-year estrangement, Billie and Cameron are far from their childhood fantasies of becoming a country music sister duo, The Donkey Skin Sisters. We meet them at a prison where Billie is on death row for gunning down a family while high on a cocktail of drugs. Cameron, now a professor in musical history, comes to visitations trying to understand how they ended up in two very different places. This musical reinvents country classics to chronicle the two sisters’ journey through coping and drowning with sexual trauma in their childhood. While Billie is forced to reckon with her crimes, both sisters are left with harrowing questions: Where does the buck stop? Who is truly guilty? How does someone seek redemption when bearing generations of unaccountability? They come to remember what they knew as children: their only salvation can be found in the music.
Alis Awake by Shawntai Brown; directed by Janai Lashon; lyrics by Alesyn McCall
Synopsis: Rapper Alis is over virtual school, isolation and fitting into the expectations of Woman of Promise Academy. When classmate and fellow wordsmith Mable offers a chance to cut class early by getting a free essay, Alis welcomes the shortcut, but the link to the free essay turns out to be anything but a path to freedom. Alis tumbles into an alternate world where the Queen of Hearts threatens to behead students already lost in a broken school system, Mable included. Education cases of the past prove to be ever present in keeping students like Alis small, but figures like Linda Brown of the Brown v. Board case won’t let Alis take on the Queen alone. Books and history come to life as Alis traverses an awakening adventure of self discovery and verbal warfare.
The American Life of Dieguito Rivera y Kahlo by Emilio Rodriguez; directed Monica Lopez Orozco
Synopsis: How far have we come and how can progress be measured? The American Life of Dieguito Rivera y Kahlo will explore the blurry lines between melting pot and multiculturalism and the messy but magical purgatory for those who fit in neither world. When the miscarried son of Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo wakes up in a land far away, he sets out on a journey to find his lost identity that is somewhere between Mexican and American't.
This activity is supported by the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, administered by LOWELL AREA ARTS COUNCILS INC, Puffin Foundation West, LTD and Meijer.