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Los Angeles in the mid-nineties and twelve-year old Jackie is at a crossroads. She’s just been accepted to a private school in Brentwood, the affluent, white neighborhood that also happens to be ground zero for the O.J. Simpson murder trial. At home, the Lord is alive and well, the rent’s past due, and Momma’s boyfriend just came back to town. Sexuality and spirituality, race and class, love and violence collide as Jackie attempts to make sense of her life in relation to the women in her real and imaginary landscapes. With an astonishing mix of humor, tenderness and theatrical daring, this coming-of-age story explores the barriers that keep Jackie from finding her authentic self, and the cost of overcoming them. TUVALU reunites the playwright and director behind the acclaimed PASS OVER, which recently won the 2019 Lucille Lortel Award for Best New Play.

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TUVALU OR, THE SADDEST SONG

Spring 2020

By Antoinette Nwandu Directed by Danya Taymor
Los Angeles in the mid-nineties and twelve-year old Jackie is at a crossroads. She’s just been accepted to a private school in Brentwood, the affluent, white neighborhood that also happens to be ground zero for the O.J. Simpson murder trial. At home, the Lord is alive and well, the rent’s past due, and Momma’s boyfriend just came back to town. Sexuality and spirituality, race and class, love and violence collide as Jackie attempts to make sense of her life in relation to the women in her real and imaginary landscapes. With an astonishing mix of humor, tenderness and theatrical daring, this coming-of-age story explores the barriers that keep Jackie from finding her authentic self, and the cost of overcoming them. TUVALU reunites the playwright and director behind the acclaimed PASS OVER, which recently won the 2019 Lucille Lortel Award for Best New Play.

Antoinette Nwandu

Antoinette Nwandu (Playwright) is a New York-based playwright. Her Jeff-award winning play, PASS OVER, had its New York debut at LCT3 in June 2018. A filmed version of the Steppenwolf production—directed by Spike Lee—had its world premiere at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival, and screened as part of SXSW 2018. Her play BREACH: a manifesto on race in america through the eyes of a black girl recovering from self-hate had its world premiere at Victory Gardens last season. Antoinette’s work has been supported by the Sundance Theater Lab, Space on Ryder Farm, Ignition Fest, the Cherry Lane Mentor Project, the Kennedy Center, Page73, PlayPenn, Southern Rep, The Flea, Naked Angels, Fire This Time, and The Movement Theater Company. Honors include the Vineyard Theatre Paula Vogel Playwriting Award, the Lorraine Hansberry Playwriting Award, the Negro Ensemble Company’s Douglas Turner Ward Prize, a Literary Fellowship at the Eugene O’Neill Playwrights Conference, and spots on the 2016 and 2017 Kilroys lists. Antoinette is a MacDowell Fellow, a Dramatists Guild Fellow, and an Ars Nova Play Group alum. She is currently under commission from Echo Theater Company, Colt Coeur, and Audible.

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Danya Taymor

Danya Taymor (Director) is a New York-based director and translator. Recent work: Jeremy O. Harris’ “Daddy“ (The Vineyard, The New Group), Danai Gurira’s FAMILIAR (Steppenwolf), Antoinette Nwandu’s PASS OVER (LCT3/Steppenwolf), Martyna Majok's QUEENS (LCT3), Justin Kuritzkes’ THE SENSUALITY PARTY (The New Group), Nathan Yungerberg's ESAI’S TABLE (Cherry Lane Mentor Project), Brian Watkins’ WYOMING (Lesser America) and MY DAUGHTER KEEPS OUR HAMMER, Sarah Gancher’s THE PLACE WE BUILT and LEGOM's I HATE FUCKING MEXICANS (The Flea). Her production of Antoinette Nwandu's PASS OVER (Steppenwolf) was filmed by Spike Lee and premiered at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. An alumna of the Women’s Project Lab, Sundance Theatre Lab, Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab, Van Lier Fellowship and the 2050 Fellowship at NYTW. She is a Usual Suspect at NYTW, an artist in residence at TFANA, a member of Ensemble Studio Theatre an associate artist at The Flea, and a recipient of the Cullman Award for Extraordinary Creativity from Lincoln Center. Education: Duke University.  

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