Dear ACT Community,
Dael Orlandersmith is one of America’s great storytellers. ACT has a long relationship with Dael going back to 1999 when she first performed on our stage in The Gimmick. Since then, audiences have seen her work in Monster (2001) and in her Pulitzer Prize nominated work Yellowman (2002).
In 2018, ACT was joined by many theaters across the country in producing Until the Flood. This play, as described by director Neel Keller, is an ongoing, ever branching, ever flowing conversation. It was born out of an urgent exchange the staff at the Repertory Theater St. Louis had the week of Michael Brown’s shooting by a police officer in Ferguson. Together, they asked the question,“What kind of theater could be a part of that  discussion.”
Dael traveled to Ferguson a few months after Brown’s death and spoke with dozens of people still grappling with the shooting and how its aftermath affected them. These intimate conversations reveal many disparate points of view; they were moving, scary, hopeful, angry and sparing. Dael bravely collected the thoughts and emotions swirling within those conversations and created her one-woman play and the composite characters that bring it to life.
Sadly, as I write this, these conversations continue to be relevant and urgent. Earlier this year, ACT joined a consortium of theaters that had produced the live, on stage version of Until the Flood. We all sensed the opportunity to continue this dialogue and pooled our resources to make a filmed version of Dael’s play available for a wider audience.
For those who had the opportunity experience the power of this show at the theatre, this filmed version will bring you in close to Dael’s performance of a cross-section of citizens, as she inhabits their conflicting views and complicated feelings. We believe in this kind of brave storytelling and hope it can be the starting point for meaningful conversation and continued action.
Artistic Director ACT Theatre