Juneau Park Friends in partnership with Milwaukee County Parks will present the season’s final Poetry in the Park, featuring “Before Evening Comes,” a work about hope in the face of overwhelming despair. The program is slated for Tuesday, Sept. 13, from 6:30-8 p.m., at Juneau Park, 900 N. Prospect Ave.
On the bluff overlooking Lake Michigan, near the statue of Solomon Juneau, actors will give a staged reading of Philana Omorotionmwan’s play. Audience members will get a first look at the developed work, meet the playwright, actors, director, and participate in the post-show talkback.
By the event date, Omorotionmwan will have completed a week-long Br!NK residency with Renaissance Theaterworks. The purpose of Br!NK is to advance the work of Midwestern women playwrights. During their residency, playwrights develop their scripts with a director, a specialist in dramatic composition, and a full cast to consider their plays from every angle.
In summarizing her play, Omorotionmwan writes, “What becomes of black boys in a world firmly rooted in the belief that they pose a threat to public safety? In the dystopian future of 2083, they are forced to undergo a government-mandated surgery that leaves them crippled. Despite this, a mother of four fights to keep her sons off of the operating table in the best way she knows how. Will she be able to save her sons? Why does she continue to hope? How does she continue to dream in the face of overwhelming despair?”
The staged reading at Juneau Park is part of the tour culminating in a weekend reading festival at the Broadway Theatre Center.
“We are in our second year of bringing quality poetry and the spoken word to Juneau Park! We feature established poets from Milwaukee, Madison, and out of state, alongside up-and-coming local poets,” event-organizer Sandy Duffy said. “Our final performance of the season is a gift to all of Milwaukee County.”
The public is invited to bring blankets or chairs to sit on during this low-key, family-friendly cultural event. Visitors may also bring snacks and beverages to enjoy during the reading.