Posts in Community Performances
Nu World Resurrection - First General Meeting
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By: Marvin Roxas

"minute by minute, hour by hour, if truth is light, then knowledge is power..."
~Mama Rashida

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On Wednesday, both new and old members of Nu World Art Ensemble met together at the WombWork BlackBox Theatre to discuss plans, organization and ideas for the reunion and rebirth of the adult theatre troupe of WombWork Productions, Inc. We shared stories about seasonal in-house performances, upcoming productions, and community agreements that would hold Nu World Art Troupe members accountable. 

Mama Rashida in Coppin State University's Tell Pharaoh
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By: Mama Kay

Tell Pharaoh is a play written by Loften Mitchell in 1963. The play was edgy for it’s time period, and progressive for the time that it was in. But for now a few things had to be tweaked because it was written about the black experience in New York City. The professor/director Willie O. Jordan, tweaked the play so that the focus didn’t revolve around New York. It was brilliantly executed by the cast and the singing was excellent. You know, Mama Rashida always complains that she was gonna forget her lines, and seeing her in a play that I did not participate in, I could tell that her hand was deeply involved. I know her rhythm, I know how she thinks, and I know how she embellishes the show with her experiences.\

You know Mama Rashida is a lover of black history. And when she played Rosa Parks, it was amazing. Christian Harris was phenomenal in the show. She played one of the main characters and she is a Nu World actress and singer. Her singing was exquisite and her trained voice was utilized in ways that I hadn’t heard before. Her levels that she used was amazing. My mother, Geraldine Waters, almost fainted when Christian sang, “Everything must change.” The Coppin Repertory Theatre should be proud of a show that was well-executed and brought back to life with their modern touches.

Wedding of David and Doralee
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By: Dr. David Fakunle

I’ll start with the beginning. I first laid eyes on Doralee in 2001, because there was a show that WombWork did at Theatre Project. I remember the exact scene where Doralee and Ola dressed as prostitutes, and I was in the audience and I laid eyes on Doralee and I said, “Oh I like her!” Ola wrote that part of the performance. That’s when I first saw Doralee on the first time. It wasn’t long after that that my sister and I joined Nu World. So you know, I’m in the company and once in a while Doralee would show up. It was a classic example of her being out of my league. And I always thought that she was so much older than me. Other than just the way she held herself, I always saw herself as much older and more mature; a woman. And it was always just hi or hello and nothing deeper.

Doralee and Ola Performing

Doralee and Ola Performing

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Fast forward to 2010, and I was starting back up with Nu World, because I was working in Virginia and I got a job with social security. On Facebook, there was this game where people would post numbers and anyone among their friends would take this number and you can find someone out about me. And trying to be cool, I put it out there that anyone who wants to say something for me can just message and send me. I was in the back of social security training and on Facebook. Then I received a message on December 7th 11:35pm from Doralee; I read it the next morning in class. It read, “I feel like there’s always something you wanted to tell me, but then again it might be wrong.”

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At that point, I broke down and cried. And I’m in the back of the room so no one saw it. I don’t know what gave it away, but she saw right through me. And it was a Wednesday, and I had rehearsal that night. I snuck out of the rehearsal room, and I called her and told her everything. That Friday night, we went on our first date, and we’ve been together ever since. I had to cut out a few women out of my life ever since haha. After the honeymoon period, we continued and I didn’t realize just how emotionally damaged I was. She allowed me to tap into emotions that I didn’t know I had. She was relentless with me and stuck with me even though I’ve pushed her away many times. And we’ve been a team, raising this kid and doing our best with this. So that is why we chose this date on the 8th, initially we were just gonna go to the courthouse. We realized that we couldn’t do this without our friends and family. We were gonna do it originally at our friend’s house, and then at a community center but that cost too much money, but then we realized that we could just do it at WombWork. It was the universe working the way it had to. And it was awesome seeing the people who came out to show their support in it coming together. That’s our style, we put things together to get everything together. It worked out perfectly and it describes our relationship in a nutshell. She balances me in a lot of ways.

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UMBC The Choice Program's College Night
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By: Marvin Roxas

On Monday November 13th, WombWork Productions, Inc.'s Next Generation Art Ensemble performed at the University Center Building at UMBC to start a conversation with youth about addressing racial inequity, their personal journey to college, and how they see themselves working in partnership with social change activists in Baltimore. 

The program was organized by The Choice Program at UMBC in partnership with:

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"The Choice Program at UMBC is a not-for-profit organization administered by The Shriver Center at The University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). For 30 years, Choice has engaged, mentored, trained, and advocated for disconnected youth. The overarching program goals are to:

  • reduce recidivism of young people involved in the justice system;
  • reduce placement in foster care for youth in the social services system;
  • and strengthen youth and family ties to the community through increased educational and vocational opportunities.

The Choice Program interventions provide services in the Baltimore and Washington DC metro areas. The program has strong partnerships with the Maryland Department of Juvenile Services, the Maryland Department of Social Services, Baltimore City Public Schools, and AmeriCorps."

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Mama Odessa's 80th Birthday Party
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By: Ola Lawal

Mama Odessa was dressed in a lovely African dress and so were the rest of the hundred people celebrating her milestone of eldership. We were in Historic Oakland and the vaulted ceilings vibrated with the djembe drums in her honor as we sang in Wolof, a language of West Africa. They served jolof rice and plantains. Mama Odessa gave a small speech about what the number 80 meant. People from every walk of her life: her sorority friends, church, social work, friends, international travelers, and family members were in attendance. She talked about the importance of Africa in her life. Mama Stella wrote a beautiful piece called Dear African, African-American that described our relationship after more than the 500 hundred of colonization. She seemed to channel the connection of us before colonization, drawing visuals that brought the audience to tears. WombWork sang, danced, and gave words of acknowledgment for this great milestone.

We honored Mama Odessa for walking in a way that was pleasing to our ancestors and for not only thinking for herself. We honored her for listening to guidance and we prayed for her that when her soul reaches the end of this flesh journey she will meet the creator with straight eyes and clean hands. We told her that she’s experienced a lot, but how will she remember her 80 years of life?

Mama Lydia, Mama Odessa’s daughter, booked WombWork Productions, Inc. for this occasion. In addition to community productions, WombWork Productions, Inc. is also available to perform at personalized functions like birthdays, weddings, and social gatherings.

International Black Film Festival Performance

by: Marvin Roxas

Next Generation Art Ensemble performed a 15-minute piece of their Judged by 12 Carried by 6! Plantation Psychosis after being welcomed by Mayor Catherine Pugh and watching several black youth films regarding bullying and police brutality during the opening night of the International Black Film Festival at the Charles Theater (1711 N. Charles St.) 

Mayor Catherine Pugh introduced the movies by mentioning her vision about having a school night next year so that more students would be able to attend the Festival. She also referred to the performers, filmmakers, and actors as some of the "most creative people in the universe."

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