Stanford Repertory Theater to commemorate Juneteenth with livestreamed reading of Vincent Terrell Durham play

(Illustration credits: Black boy by Goulwen Reboux. Prairie Fringed Orchid by Ananda Heller. Polar Bear by Candy Witcher. Arrangement by Vincent Terrell Durham.)

Stanford Repertory Theater (SRT) is one of three dozen theater companies co-presenting a Juneteenth reading of Vincent Terrell Durham’s play Polar Bears, Black Boys & Prairie Fringed Orchids.

The reading will be livestreamed via Zoom at 7 p.m. PT on June 19 in recognition of Juneteenth, which commemorates the ending of slavery in the United States.

Polar Bears, Black Boys & Prairie Fringed Orchids, which was presented in Stanford Repertory Theatre’s 2019 Summer Festival, is about a white liberal couple who host Black Lives Matter activists at a dinner party. A night of emotional conversation ensues, with discussions ranging from underweight polar bears, actress Lana Turner, saving the planet, gentrification, racial identity and protecting the lives of Black boys.

“We [SRT] did the first full production of the play last summer as part of the Environment and Social Justice season we presented with Planet Earth Arts,” said RUSH REHM, the artistic director of SRT and a professor of theater and performance studies and of classics in the School of Humanities and Sciences. “We were glad to join other Bay Area theaters in helping to co-present this staged reading at a distance.”

The presentation of Durham’s play, which is free to the public with reservations required, is being hosted virtually by PlayGround, a Bay Area community theater hub. Donations are being accepted to support The Juneteenth Theatre Justice Project, an effort to center Black theater artists and new voices, address systemic racism in the theater industry and help raise much-needed funds in support of Black theaters around the country.

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