An Issue of Blood
by Ensemble Playwright Marcus Gardley | directed by Chay Yew
April 3 – May 3, 2015
It’s 1676 in Virginia – a time when class, not color, defined an American’s destiny. Historic figure and wealthy landowner Negro Mary believes a vile curse has been cast upon her family and land. But her plans to break the curse are thwarted by a secret wedding, an interracial love triangle, and a crime of passion. Can Mary cheat fate and change the course of history? Or will their lives end in division and destruction? In An Issue of Blood, Victory Gardens Ensemble playwright Marcus Gardley and Artistic Director Chay Yew (The Gospel of Lovingkindness) look to a pivotal moment in our collective past to understand how we arrived in our tumultuous present.
Click to view: An Issue of Blood Student Study Guide
Public Programs is an event series designed to enhance your experience by exploring the themes and issues within Victory Gardens’ Productions. Connecting our theater to the world beyond the stage and rehearsal room, Public Programs events bridge ideas, provoke dialogue, and deepen the relationship between our audiences and our productions.
After every performance of AN ISSUE OF BLOOD (unless otherwise noted)
Join us for one of our intimate post show conversations. Led by members from the Victory Gardens community—artistic affiliates, subscribers, Artistic staff, Teen Arts Council members, and community partners— reflect on what you’ve seen and share your response.
SIDESHOW SIDE SERIES: AN ISSUE OF ANTIGONICK
Fri April 3rd, 2015 | After a performance of Sideshow Theatre Company’s ANTIGONICK
In Victory Gardens’ An Issue of Blood and in Sideshow’s Antigonick, issues of state-sponsored violence and inequality are brought to life through dynamic historical lenses. How can Greek tragedies and the stories of America’s first slaves bridge the gap between our past and present? In partnership with Sideshow’s Side Series, join this post-show conversation with human rights advocate Keisa Reynolds (We Charge Genocide) and participants of Victory Gardens’ We Must Breathe as we open old wounds to uncover new ways of healing
TAKE BACK THE MIC
Pre Show Spoken Word Performance Series
April 7th, 11th, 16th, 18th, and 24th, 2015 | 7:00 p.m
Last December, you heard them slam at We Must Breathe – an evening of performance pieces created in the wake of the national outcry stemming from the deaths and verdicts of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, and countless others. Now, select poets return to Victory Gardens to continue the conversation in the best way they know how—through their art. Join us for select pre-show performances in the lobby as these spoken word artists take the mic and share their truths.
RACE OUT LOUD
Wednesday Night Out | Wed April 8th, 2015
6:30pm cocktail get together at Victory Gardens | Special Afterwords
Racial tension in Chicago’s queer neighborhoods is on the rise. Claims of “racism” and “white boys’ town” have surfaced more and more in the last decade. How do queer people of color find solace in deeply segregated Chicago? In partnership with Center on Halsted, enjoy pre-show cocktails and free appetizers from Fiesta Mexicana, then stick around for this timely post-show conversation.
ARTIST TALK: BRINGING BLOOD TO LIFE
Special Afterwords | Thurs April 9th, 2015
When Victory Gardens announced a change in the season from A Wonder in My Soul to An Issue of Blood, it was born out of playwright Marcus Gardley’s need to respond to the recent deaths of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, and countless others. A historical drama set in the late 1600’s, An Issue of Blood critically examines our history to understand our present. Join Marcus Gardley (playwrights ensemble member) and Chay Yew (artistic director) as they discuss themes, ideas, and the new play process of bringing An Issue of Blood to life.
Encuentros | Fri April 17th, 2015
6:30pm cocktail get together at Victory Gardens | Special Afterwords
All around the country, undocumented Mexican immigrants are working as indentured servants to ensure their place in America. Whether they’re cleaning houses or building them, the pay is less than adequate and the conditions are even worse. With no legal rights and nowhere to turn, how can these workers ensure their safety and survival? Come early for pre-show cocktails and free appetizers from Fiesta Mexicana, and stay for this special Afterwords conversation that hits close to home.
BLACK LIVES MATTER: PAST, PRESENT, AND FUTURE
Town Hall | Sun April 19th, 2015
Cries of “I can’t breathe” and #BlackLivesMatter have shed harsh light on our country’s struggle with race, discrimination, and police brutality. Systems of oppression and racial inequity date as far back as colonial America – before Ferguson, before Selma, even before slavery. What do we do with a system we’ve inherited? Join us for a performance of Marcus Gardley’s historical drama, then stick around for this crucial town hall conversation as we unearth our roots and discover new ways of moving forward.
THE PLAYWRIGHT’S VOICE: …AND JESUS MOONWALKS THE MISSISSIPPI
Staged Reading | Tues April 21st, 2015 | 7:30 p.m.
Delve further into the mythical worlds of Marcus Gardley at this staged reading of … And Jesus Moonwalks the Mississippi. Presented in association with Congo Square Theater, this 2010 hit is a riff on a familiar Greek tale. Set on the banks of the Mississippi River during the Civil War, a lynched African American man named Damascus is immediately resurrected as a woman named Demeter. With only three days to find her daughter Po’em, she must transmit her song before she has to return to death.
HOW DO YOU FEAR ME
Special Afterwords | Thurs April 23rd, 2015
Since September 11, 2001, the rate of hate crimes against Muslims in the United States has quintupled. In 2015 alone, three Muslim American students were shot in the head in Chapel Hill, North Carolina; an Arab American man was brutally attacked by two white men at a supermarket in Dearborn, Michigan; police in Austin, Texas arrested a man for threatening to bomb an Islamic center - and the list goes on and on. In a culture of prejudice and fear against Muslim Americans, how do we hold each other accountable for shattering the stigma? Engage in this special Afterwords conversation shedding light on one of the most widely misunderstood communities in America.
SOUTH ASIA SPEAKS: THE NEW IMMIGRANT
Special Afterwords | Fri April 24th, 2015
The issue of immigration in America is complex - at best. Though immigration itself can be traced as far back as Irish and African indentured servants in colonial America, the vast majority of South Asian immigrants didn’t come to the US until after 1970. With Mexican immigration most commonly in the limelight - how can we illuminate the stories of South Asians? What other stories aren’t being told? Following the performance, join us for this special Afterwords conversation shedding light to immigration in the South Asian community.
COLLEGE NIGHT: LOOK AT ME
Preshow Performance | Special Afterwords | Sat April 25th, 2015 | 6:30 p.m
Though race and privilege on college campuses are often considered taboo topics, every college and university faces them. From misperceptions to underrepresentation, students of color are sometimes forced to navigate institutions that may not always protect them. Grab a pop and free pizza and watch young local artists respond at a pre-show performance, then stay for a special Afterwords conversation investigating race & privilege on college campuses.
LET FREEDOM RING
Special Afterwords | Tue April 28th, 2015
Earlier this month, the Jewish community celebrated Passover - an eight-day festival commemorating the emancipation of the Israeli slaves in ancient Egypt. What does it mean to celebrate this holiday in America, a country with deep roots in slavery? How has a history of oppression shaped American and Jewish culture? Join us for this timeless postshow conversation addressing old wounds and new waves.
“An Engaging, Distinctive and Committed Work. What’s immediately striking about Marcus Gardley’s very ambitious new play is its setting: Virginia in 1676. This fine writer offers a rare look at a moment when a country not yet a country might have gone in another direction.”
“Savvy. Heartfelt. Stirring.”
–Time Out Chicago
“An Important Play. Powerful.”
“The urgency spurring Marcus Gardley to write his play about America’s earliest history is echoed in performances sustaining its passion for every second of its swift 90 minutes.”
–Windy City Times