Langston Hughes’ “The Ways of White Folks” Gets World Premiere Staging Martin Luther King Weekend

-Courtesy of Perpetual Motion PR

EgoPo’s 2022-2023 Harlem Renaissance Season, co-presented with Theatre in the X, kicks off its first production with an immersive world premiere theatrical staging of Langston Hughes’ The Ways of White Folks on Martin Luther King weekend. Staged within the mansion at Glen Foerd public park and museum, The Ways of White Folks begins previews Wednesday, January 11th and opens on Friday, January 13th. The show runs two weeks, closing on Sunday, January 22nd. Tickets start at $32.

EgoPo’s Harlem Renaissance Season celebrates the legacy of Black culture, music, theater, art, literature, fashion, and scholarship in the United States, while also acknowledging and confronting the healing that is still necessary in this country around race relations.

“In 2022, we are still navigating the system of white supremacy that Langston writes about in The Ways of White Folks; and while progress has been made, it is important to know that the struggle still continues in the twenty-first century. Langston would be pleased to see the progress and disappointed to know that we are still fighting. Hopefully these pieces, still relevant almost one hundred years later, show the ever-present need for healing to Philadelphia audiences and inspire all of us to continue to heal through unity,” says co-director, Ontaria Kim Wilson.

The Ways of White Folks is intentionally and collaboratively staged by dual-racial directing team Ontaria Kim Wilson (in her EgoPo directing debut) and EgoPo Artistic Producer Dane Eissler, and conceived for the stage with Lane Savadove. Based on Langston’s collection of short stories, The Ways of White Folks presents powerful portraits of race relations in America with each short story offering a private view into the absurd and tragic interactions between Black and White people across systemic divides. In EgoPo’s immersive promenade staging, audiences are invited to attend a New Age retreat and explore each intimate story within the many rooms of the mansion at the historic Glen Foerd Estate on the Delaware River.

Langston’s words jump off the page with their vibrant, brutally honest, and often scathingly funny language. As the audience travels from room to room through Glen Foerd’s opulent mansion, the pieces come to life in an incredibly special and intimate way. Each space is specifically catered to each story, and makes the message of each piece that much more poignant. By staging them in an immersive way, we are asking the audience to reflect on how they have participated in these systems. The audience doesn’t just read or hear the stories, they are the stories,” says co-director and EgoPo Artistic Producer, Dane Eissler.

The Ways of White Folks features an ensemble of EgoPo newcomers including Taylor HarlowEvan SleppyKyson MartinEarl Grant, Faye WootenAyo MooreChristina FoyeTyrone NathanielTim MorrisCheyenne ParksNick ErholmLynn ShirleyCianna CastroAnnette Kaplafka, and Ethan Hammett. They are joined by familiar EgoPo faces Dawn McCall, who appeared in last season’s Curse of the Starving Class, and co-director Ontaria Kim Wilson (last seen at EgoPo in Wine in the Wilderness) taking a roKle of her own, as well as familiar Theatre in the X faces Paul McElwee (The West Philly Meeting), Danielle “Danni” Shaw (Dreamgirls)and Joseph Xavier-Mack (Pac and Biggie Are Dead, Dreamgirls). The artistic team for The Ways of White Folks includes Philadelphia designers Dirk Durossette (Production Design) and Rita Squitiere (Costumes), with stage management by Jamel Baker and assistant direction by Cheyenne Parks.

EgoPo will be working with local schools, nonprofits, and community groups to curate talkbacks and educational presentations, furthering their attempt to create reparative spaces through theatrical performances. If you are interested in bringing a group of ten or more people, please contact us for discounted rates and other benefits as available.

Tickets: Wed-Thurs: $32, Fri-Sun: $36, Champagne Opening: $39, Student/Industry: $15. To purchase tickets, go online at www.egopo.org or call 267-273-1414.

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