Sept 17 – Oct 1, 2020
written by local writer, performer and Kresge Artist Fellow Madelyn Porter, featuring Assata Haki, directed by Krista Schafer Ewbank
What Matters centers on a Detroit native whose daily walk spurs memories of the changes she has seen over the years, and pushes her to focus on what truly matters.
looking for tickets? click HERE.
Thanks so much for joining us for a new venture… not just theatre online, but theatre that is very personal! As theatres across the nation, and the world, struggle to find ways to bring live theatre to our audiences in a way that is safe, exciting and relevant we dug into our mission and the feedback we receive from our audience to guide us. Our mission is to promote connection through theatrical storytelling. Our audience loves the intimate nature of our space and the way our performances make them think and feel deeply. How could we hold true to those things in this new, online medium? We landed on short plays, written specifically for this medium, that rely on a connection between the performer and the audience. We’re excited as we launch this new endeavor. To get started, we could think of no better way than to explore, through theatre, what the whole world is talking about now… race. So we reached out to Kresege Arts Fellow Madelyn Porter and asked her to write a piece. It’s been an exciting journey to bring this new play to you as we learn and explore together. Thank you for being here, and for exploring with us What Matters
-Krista Schafer Ewbank, OBTC Artistic Director
Meet the Team
For Assata J. Haki (performer), acting is the root of the tree and some of the limbs are performing, storytelling, empowerment speaking, teaching, and writing. She is very excited to be working with Open Book. As an actress Assata’s recent work includes, but is not limited to, work The Black and Brown Theatre’s The Strolling Monologues as Nina Simone and Queen Amenirias. Assata’s love for acting presents her with many opportunities to perform on a variety of sets and stages. While acting is her love, Assata concentration is as a Theatre Teaching Artist. Assata graduated from Wayne State University with a B.A. in Theatre and in 2018, she earned her M.A. in Teaching Artistry in Theatre and Dance.
“The whole world is a stage…” and Madelyn Porter (playwright) plays a part in keeping it real in Detroit. Porter has worked in professional theatre for over forty years and is the recipient of the 2019 Kresge Arts in Detroit – Literary Arts Award. She is honored to partner with fellow artist and friend, Krista Schafer Ewbank. Porter performs historical reenactments and Storyliving at the Detroit Historical Museum, The Henry Ford/Greenfield Village, and Troy Historical Village. She is House Manager for Detroit Public Theatre, lead drama instructor for Michigan Opera Theatre’s Create and Perform, is a board member and performs for Carrie Morris Arts Production (CMAP), and facilitates drama/ poetry workshops for Youth Arts Alliance/InsideOut. Porter also writes and creates stories on commission.
Krista Schafer Ewbank (Director) is the founding Artistic Director of Open Book, and has directed 2020: The Year They Cancelled Everything, The Complete Canon of Post-Apocalyptic Fiction and Film (abridged), The (Curious Case of the) Watson Intelligence, Ada and the Engine, Life Sucks, Peter and the Starcatcher, Bauer, and Wiley and the Hairyman for OBTC. Krista received the Wilde Award for her performance in Emilie, and was previously nominated for her performance in Boy Gets Girl as well as for her direction of Peter and the Starcatcher. A native Michigander, Krista holds a degree in theatre from Northwestern University and has worked in theatres across the country acting, teaching, and directing. She recently directed for Grosse Ile High School and the Grosse Ile Boar’s Head Festival.
Maria Tejada (Production Manager) is a professional stage manager who has worked with several Michigan theatres including Water Works Theatre, Planet Ant and six years at Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington, DC even traveling to Macao, China with the production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Maria graduated from Grand Valley State University with degrees in Theater and Spanish. She is a facilitator with Detroit Public Theatre’s Shakespeare in Prison program, the Company Manager for Roustabout Theatre Troupe and she is so excited to now be a part of Open Book Theatre Company!
Listen to the songs referenced in the piece with this SPOTIFY PLAYLIST