The first performance of a new work in front of an audience is always charged with a wide variety of electrifying feelings. Sunday afternoon at the Fountain was no different when our world premiere stage adaptation of Citizen: An American Lyric launched its first preview and audiences were able to experience the provocative new piece for the first time. Buy all accounts, it was an exhilarating success.
“Easily, it is the most profound, emotionally engaging production I have experienced in decades,” exclaimed longtime Fountain Family member Kato Cooks. “It brought me to tears, wringing blood from my soul. It spoke aloud what many of us only consider privately, afraid to give our introspection, these ruminations, these voices. Tears welled in my eyes as the intense performances drained me. Every moment, every actor sublime. I must experience this one a few times with different sets of friends.”
Kato’s compelling experience was clearly shared by others in the audience at the Sunday matinée. At one moment in the middle of the performance, an audience member was so jarred and engaged in the events unfolding between characters on stage that she actually vocally called out, “Did she really just say that?” The rest of the audience — and the actors on stage — laughed heartily at her honest, spontaneous vocal reaction. It was one of those unplanned truthful shared moments in live theatre that is cherished and we’ll always remember. Sunday’s first preview received a standing ovation.
‘Citizen’ Cast Celebrates First Preview
Citizen: An American Lyric is the world stage premiere of the internationally acclaimed book about race in America by Claudia Rankine, adapted for the stage by Stephen Sachs. Directed by Shirley Jo Finney, the play features Bernard K. Addison, Leith Burke, Tina Lifford, Tony Maggio, Simone Missick and Lisa Pescia. Previews continue through July 31. It opens August 1st.