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Every 28 Hours: 1-Minute Play Festival Tackles Race & Police Brutality in Black Communities

Every 28 hours in America, a Black person is killed by the police. It’s a statistic that is frightening to even conceptualize. However, it’s something that is very real and plagues the Black community every day. Using this statistic and America’s history of police violence against Black bodies, the One-Minute Play Festival and Oregon Shakespeare Festival have teamed up to create Every 28 Hours with a specific focus on the events of Ferguson, Missouri.

The project started by gathering artists from top theatre companies around the country to create a series of one-minute plays centered around the themes of race and police brutality.While it seems as though a one-minute play isn’t enough time to faithfully explore the subject matter, I ask you this question: Is one minute not the amount of time it takes for a law enforcement officer to make an incorrect assumption and leave another Black body lifeless on the ground? In one minute is someone able to be choked to death? In one minute is someone able to be held down on the ground against their will with a knee lodged in their spine? Yes, these occurrences can happen in a minute and have happened. Co-Creater and Producer of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Claudia Alick, told The Takeaway with John Hockenberry that “you can do a lot in one minute, the rigor and the restraint required means that you say something specific.”

The plays were workshopped in St. Louis from October 18th – 23rd, were produced and live streamed October 24th, and featured content by collaborators such as Lynn Nottage, Dominique Morisseau, Nikkole Salter, The National Black Theater, The Hansberry Project and American Theater Company, The Black Rep and many more. The festival will make the body of plays available for participating theatre companies who’ve sent participants — and other national partners who have opted to participate for free –with the aim to have those partnering theaters hold a specific day or week of events in staging these plays from Oct 26th– October 30th, 2016.

As a firm believer that the stage is the best place for art to truly live, breathe and exsist, I find productions like this to be important for the whole world to see. I don’t want to have to wait a year to be able to see these plays, but I know it will be more than worth it.

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