Conjur Woman

by Beatrice Manley

directed by George Ferencz

l to r: Harry Mann, Jasper McGruder, Sheila Dabney, Yukio Tsuji 

In honor of Black History Month, we are proud to present Beatrice Manley’s "Conjur Woman", a dramatic folk opera chillingly sung by Obie-Winner Sheila Dabney and directed by George Ferencz, a resident director at La MaMa. Original music for "Conjur Woman" is composed by Ellen Stewart along with Sheila Dabney, Harry Mann, Jasper McGruder and Yukio Tsuji, and is played on a cornucopia of instruments including a harmonica, washboard, jug, acoustic guitar, bass and percussion…think 1800s music of the slave. In Conjur Woman, Beatrice Manley’s deeply haunting and poetic one-woman folk opera, a conjur woman uses spells and potions to turn her lover into a tree so that he cannot be sold into slavery. Tragically, even the conjur woman’s powers cannot stop the tree from being chopped down and made into logs. Conjur Woman is a compelling piece that moves in and out of memory, panic, agony and clarity, leaving us profoundly moved. The title Conjur Woman is an homage to Billie Holiday. “Ah spells you ‘n case Ah lose you Day gon’ sell you Day gon’ sen’ you away Dis’ll hold ‘em off, daahlin’ Day don’ know you a tree” ~ from Conjur Woman Author Beatrice Manley’s sixty-year career in the theater started on Broadway and ended in the Los Angeles avant-garde scene. She was a co-founder and leading actress in the famed San Francisco Actor’s Workshop, where she originated the lead role in the U.S. Premiere of Bertolt Brecht’s Mother Courage. Sheila Dabney won an Obie Award for Best Actress in Maria Irene Fornes’ "Sarita", was nominated by the NY Innovative Theatre Awards for Outstanding Actress in "The Emperor Jones" and won a LA Dramalogue Award for "A Midsummer Night’s Dream". She was in Michael Koukiyannis’ Broadway production of "The Bacchae" with Irene Pappas. Ms. Dabney is a graduate of the Julliard School of Drama and The Edith Skinner Institute. Director George Ferencz has been a resident director of La MaMa for over 25 years and curator of the Experiments Play Reading Series for 10 years. He has staged several festivals including the La MaMa Festival of Sam Shepard’s jazz plays, ShepardSets, and a festival of Shepard’s Rock’n’Roll plays, Shep’nRep. George has directed regionally at Syracuse Stage, Cleveland Playhouse, San Diego Rep, Pittsburgh Playhouse and Actors’ Theatre of Louisville. The design team includes Obie-Winner/La MaMa resident set designer Jun Maeda, who has created a unique bass instrument for the show, and light designer Jeff Tapper.

Performances: 

 1/31/2008 at 7:30pm
 2/1/2008 at 7:30pm
 2/2/2008 at 7:30pm
 2/3/2008 at 3:00pm
 2/3/2008 at 7:30pm
 2/7/2008 at 7:30pm
 2/8/2008 at 7:30pm
 2/9/2008 at 7:30pm
 2/10/2008 at 3:00pm
 2/10/2008 at 7:30pm

Theatre/Venue La MaMa Experimental Theatre 

74A East 4th St  New York

Phone Number for Reservations 212-475-7710 
Website for reservations www.lamama.org  
Running time  

 

Producing Organization: LaMaMa Experimental Theater Club  
Website www.lamama.org  
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