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This week features some exciting theater and exhibition openings: Theatre Exile opens its world premiere of the James Ijames play Abandon, EgoPo and Theater in the X’s collaboration Plum Bun, and a jazz opera in three acts arrives from the Delaware Valley Opera Company. HOT BED explores color with its Leading a Colorful Life exhibit, and Grounds for Sculpture sets up for two new exhibits. Naturepalooza gets us ready for Earth Day vibes, too.
Christ Church Neighborhood House, 20 N American Street, Philadelphia
EgoPo and Theatre in the X’s Harlem Renaissance season closes with the world premiere of Jessie Redmon Fauset’s Plum Bun. The performance tells the story of Angela Murray, a young, light-skinned, white-passing Black woman who faces “the headwinds of racism and sexism in 1920s Philadelphia” as an unexpected journey leads to her reclaiming her identity.
Take My Otherness
Venice Island Performing and Recreation Center, 7 Lock Street, Philadelphia
The Delaware Valley Opera Company presents the US premiere of Take My Otherness, a Jazz Opera in 3 Acts, a performance written, composed, and performed by women from different cultures as they preserve and stand firmly in their own identities and search for a place to call home. Five women—of Chinese, German, Iranian, African, and Greek descents—are foreigners in their new home and to each other as they are thrown together in a group therapy session, introducing themselves through musical languages from jazz, Wagner, rap, and traditional folk music.
Saturday, April 22, 10am-2pm
Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education, 8480 Hagy’s Mill Road, Philadelphia
Hike trails, check out nature-themed arts and crafts, discover critters in the ponds, and learn about fungi and more at this year’s Naturepalooza, a family-friendly celebration of Earth Day. The Schuylkill Center will host a full slew of activities through the morning and afternoon—reservations are suggested.
Sham-e-Ali Nayeem: Cultivating Home
Saturday, April 22, 1-4pm
Hyderabadi Muslim American poet and interdisciplinary artist Sham-e-Ali Nayeem swings by Blue Stoop for a virtual class on “cultivating home.” Poets (and artists alike) are invited to the one-day workshop where you will “bring your ancestral and imagined homes to life through deep remembrance, listening, dreaming of worlds without exile, and recreating spaces that feel safe for your body and spirit.”
Leading a Colorful Life
April 22-May 27
HOT BED, 723 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia
HOT BED opens its new exhibit this weekend, an ambitious six-person exhibition of painting, print, and sculpture from artists connected to Philly that collectively asks viewers to reflect on what color means to them personally. The opening reception is Saturday, April 22, at 6-9pm, with the closing reception on Saturday, May 27. You’ll have to book an appointment first to check out the exhibit.
Everyday Futures Fest Block Party
Sunday, April 23, 12-5pm
Da Vinci Art Alliance, 704 Catharine Street, Philadelphia
Palumbo Park, 723 Catharine Street, Philadelphia
Join DVAA this weekend for a family-friendly block party, featuring over 50 local cultural partners, community groups, and creators. Temporary installations, music, dance, storytelling, sustainable vendors, interactive workshops, and more are on deck.
Two new exhibits are opening this week at Grounds For Sculpture. Local Voices: Memories, Stories, and Portraits takes a look at New Jersey’s Indian diasporic community through first-person narratives, images, and objects of 15 storytellers from the community. Spiral Q: The Parade is a retrospective about Spiral Q, the 27-year-old, Philadelphia-based nonprofit that promotes social and political change through giant puppetry, pageantry, and direct action.
Wednesday, April 26, 6:30pm
Weitzman, 101 South Independence Mall East, Philadelphia
The Weitzman is screening Upheaval, a film on the life and legacy of former Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin. Historians and everyday Israelis are featured in the film, discussing his controversial politics.
April 27-May 21
Theatre Exile, 1340 South 13th Street, Philadelphia
Brett Ashley Robinson directs the world premiere of the James Ijames play that follows Luella as she is haunted by the ghost of her son, and Joshua, who is kicked out of his house by his brother. The two lonely souls collide into an “American family in its truest sense” in a performance that is “sometimes violent, sometimes healing; with a gossamer veil that separates the worlds of the living and the dead, and shame and acceptance.” Previews begin next week with opening night coming Wednesday, May 3. Act now—tickets tend to fly with Theatre Exile and James Ijames shows!
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