Asolo Rep’s Ground Floor presents a staged reading of Ty Greenwood’s The Paradox of Education
Asolo Repertory Theatre’s new work development program, Ground Floor, will present a staged reading of Ty Greenwood’s play The Paradox of Education on Monday, Feb. 28, at 7 p.m., in the Cook Theatre at the FSU Center for the Performing Arts. A donation of $5 is suggested, and proceeds will assist the Ground Floor program in supporting new and local artists.
The Paradox of Education centers on six Black college students who have been lured into a predominantly white institution (PWI) through a Black Excellence scholarship that promises they will be well taken care of across their tenure on campus. They immediately find out they have been sold a falsity and come to realize that “skin folk ain’t always kin folk,” as the students confront the differences between them.
“This play is inspired by James Baldwin and his timeless words and philosophies,” Greenwood said, noting that the work is heavily influenced by their time in undergrad at Washington & Jefferson College. “Like Baldwin, I also wanted this play to speak on issues such as race, education, colorism, so-called scholarships and more. I wanted to create a narrative that featured an all-Black cast dealing with these issues and intertwine Baldwin's words and essence throughout.”
Greenwood’s reading is the first event in Ground Floor’s new Muriel O’Neil American Heritage Commission Series, which is set to commission three plays by BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) playwrights and directors over the next three years, made possible by a generous $75,000 grant from the Community Foundation of Sarasota County.
“Artists who have been historically underrepresented in the American theatre need to have the space and resources to explore in a way they may not otherwise be able to,” said Asolo Rep Associate Artistic Director and Ground Floor Artistic Director Celine Rosenthal, who is curating the series. “This wonderful grant allows artists to do exactly that, and we couldn’t be more delighted to be working with Ty as the commission’s first recipient.”
Greenwood is a Black, queer artist who holds a B.A. in Communication Arts with an emphasis in Rhetoric and Honors in Theatre from Washington & Jefferson College and a Master of Fine Arts degree in Dramatic Writing from Carnegie Mellon University. They have presented their short play Not a Fairy Tale and research “Protecting our Black Men: Black Masculinity and the use of the Black Body” in For Black Boys Who Have Considered Homicide… at the Mid-America Theatre Conference. Greenwood developed and had a staged reading of their full-length choreopoem play, Death Dream, at Alumni Theatre Company. They also participated in City Theatre’s 2019 Momentum Festival: New Plays at Different Stages, where they presented an excerpt of Untitled Thesis Play as part of the In Their Own Voices event.
Recently, Greenwood was selected as the inaugural recipient of a commission from the Kemp Powers Commission Fund for Black Playwrights through City Theatre, and they were commissioned by The Hansberry Project to develop new works for The Drinking Gourd: Black Writers at Work. Greenwood’s work focuses on telling stories that are not damaging to the identity, existence and bodies of Black people, but are rather empowering, unapologetic and radical in nature.
“Our dramaturgical and curatorial ethos is not about creating ‘production-ready’ or ‘accessible’ work,” said Asolo Rep’s Literary Manager and Dramaturg, Adam Ashraf Elsayigh. “We want to give artists support so their imagination and creativity can flow in a space of incubation and development. We want these works to truly represent their voices, not their voices through our lens. We’re delighted to be doing so this season with an artist as dynamic as Ty.”
A staged reading of Ty Greenwood’s The Paradox of Education will be presented in the Cook Theatre at the FSU Center for the Performing Arts on Monday, Feb. 28, at 7 p.m. Tickets are available in person at Asolo Rep's Box Office at 5555 N. Tamiami Trail, by phone at 941.351.8000 or 800.361.8388, or online at asolorep.org. A donation of $5 is suggested, and proceeds will assist the Ground Floor program in supporting new and local artists.
Officially launched in the 2019-2020 season, Asolo Rep’s Ground Floor is a place for artists to try new stories, characters and forms, as well as a place for audiences to see promising work in some of its earliest stages. Specifically focused on amplifying untapped stories from Black, Indigenous, MENA, Latinx, AAPI, LGBTQIA+, disabled and neurodivergent playwrights and creators, the program also gives audience members a chance to glimpse the future of Asolo Rep programming.
Now in its 63rd season, Asolo Repertory Theatre is recognized as one of the premier professional theatres in America and one of the largest in the Southeastern United States. One of the few select theatres in the nation that performs in true rotating repertory, Asolo Rep’s highly skilled acting company and extensive craftsmanship bring to life this unique performance method that gives audiences the opportunity to see multiple productions in the span of a few days. Asolo Rep presents up to 10 productions each season including contemporary and classic works and provocative musical theatre experiences. A theatre district in and of itself, Asolo Rep is committed to expanding its reach into the community, furthering its collaboration with the best theatre artists working in the industry today and cultivating new artists through its affiliation with the FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training. Under the leadership of Producing Artistic Director Michael Donald Edwards and Managing Director Linda DiGabriele, Asolo Rep’s ambitious theatrical offerings and ground-breaking education and community programming engage audiences and ensure its lasting legacy for future generations. Visit asolorep.org to learn more.