2/7/2013 - 2/24/2013
Running February 7 to 24, 2013
Thursdays at 7:30 p.m.
Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m.
Sundays at 2:30 p.m.
A drama by Pearl Cleage
Directed by Jennifer Kay Jeter
Set in 1898 outside the all-black town of Nicodemus, Kansas, Flyin’ West examines the lives, memories and hopes of four women — two former slaves and two free women — seeking a better life. But even in the free state of Kansas — and even away from the uncertainties of the post-Civil War South — the women find that their new surroundings are not free of danger and unexpected twists.
Flyin’ West playwright Pearl Cleage shaped her fictional drama around the factual ramifications of the Homestead Act, the Emancipation Proclamation and the 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution.
Passed by the U.S. Congress in 1862, the Homestead Act became the vehicle by which many freed slaves could seek their liberty and reach for a piece of the American Dream. The Homestead Act enabled any applicant to get — at little or no cost — a single plot of roughly 160 acres on undeveloped federal land west of the Mississippi River. One year later, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, which declared the freedom of slaves (in the 10 Confederate states then in rebellion against the Union). After the 13th Amendment was passed and adopted in 1865 — thus abolishing slavery — thousands of freed slaves and their families were suddenly able to decide whether to remain in the South or to strike out on their own elsewhere.
Former enslaved African Americans left the American South in organized groups at the end of the of post-Civil War Reconstruction period to experience freedom on the free soils of Kansas. The town of Nicodemus in Flyin’ West represents the involvement of African Americans in the western expansion and settlement of the Great Plains. Today, according the National Park Service, it is the oldest and only remaining all-black town west of the Mississippi River.
Flyin’ West was originally commissioned and produced by the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta, where it premiered in November 1992. Since then, the play has been produced by hundreds of regional theaters and community-theater organizations across the United States — including a 1994 production at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.
Weathervane Playhouse's production of Flyin' West is made possible with support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.
ROSLYN HENDERSON-SEARS — Sophie Washington
PAMELA MORTON — Miss Leah
TINA THOMPKINS — Fannie Dove
JERMAINE LAMAR HARRIS — Wil Parish
DANEA RHODES — Minnie Dove Charles
MARC JACKSON — Frank Charles
► CLICK HERE to read more about our cast and creative team! (pdf)
THE CREATIVE TEAM
JENNIFER KAY JETER
SUSAN STOUT DAVIS
PAMELA PARKS COSTA
JASEN J. SMITH
ALAN SCOTT FERRALL
Scenic Designer and Technical Director
Assistant Technical Director