Wilma Theater to Host the Urban Noir Project
This weekend, on August 8th and 9th, Wilma Theater will host the Urban Noir Project, a show produced by Urban Noir Productions. It’s a series of vignettes that take audiences on a journey through the past several hundred years, bridging each era of African American history through song, dance and a powerful narrative.
The play is part docu-drama, part musical, incorporating everything from Civil War-era spirituals to James Brown and Public Enemy. “We use music and dance to talk about each era and move the story along,” explains Executive Producer Monica Moses. “For instance, we use hip-hop to take a look at Reaganomics and examine the economical impact on the African American community.” The performance begins with the slave trade and follows history all the way through to the election of the first African American president.
The production remains true to history and takes audiences on an emotional roller coaster. “There are a couple really heavy intense pieces, but we balance them out with some comedy. We’re giving you everything here. It’s a really, really unique piece.” Moses says. The show is entertaining and comfortable enough for audiences to sit through.
Monica Moses is the writer, director and executive producer of the play. The idea originated as a series of short stories Moses wrote in college. She then attempted to turn her stories into a television series, but was convinced the script would be better suited for the stage. Once the show was up and running, Moses wanted to test the community’s reaction by holding a performance at a local community center. Audience feedback was overwhelming, which led Moses to move toward larger venues.
The Urban Noir Project is a response to the civic unrest and racial tensions that are still embedded within contemporary society. Moses produced the play as a way to address these issues and encourage a dialogue among diverse demographics. “I want people to understand that we are all included in the African American history.” Moses explains. Her play is an attempt to bridge a racial gap and artistically express that “we are all part of a system and we do as the system dictates.” Once we are able to understand each other’s backgrounds we can gain perspective and acceptance. Obama’s inauguration is one of the final acts of the play, intended to leave the crowd with a feeling of hope and accomplishment.
To purchase tickets for the next performance of the Urban Noir Project, click here.