After a one-day trial in 1945, an all-white male jury deliberates for under an hour and sentences Lena Baker to death for killing her abusive lover. Three days after being pulled over by a Texas State Trooper in 2015 for not using a turn signal, Sandra Bland was found dead in a Waller County jail cell.

In a poignant visceral theatrical experience combining the two stories, Winston’s American Captives: Lena Baker & Sandra Bland articulates how little has changed in the relationship between Black women and the United States justice system in 60 years between the deaths of Lena and Sandra. This unapologetic personal accounting bares new awareness of timeworn atrocities.

This Dixon Place commission is made possible, in part, with private funds from The Jerome Foundation, and public funds from NY State Council on the Arts w/the support of Gov Andrew Cuomo & the NY State Legislature.

About the Artists

Connie Winston has performed at New York City venues such as La Mama ETC, Dixon Place, New Dramatists, the Ohio Theatre, Soho Rep, HERE Arts Center, Brooklyn Academy of Music and Lincoln Center; and has worked extensively with the Talking Band. Winston has created numerous original ‘docu-drama’ performance pieces: My Name is Harriet Tubman (commissioned by Plays For Living), The Autobiography of Dorothy Dean (first presented by Dixon Place), Confession, and On Griffin Alley (workshopped with the Drama Department of Bennington College). She has directed productions of August Strindberg’s, The Stronger, Trifles by Susan Glaspell, and No Good War by Tali Ariav, developed with the Playwrights’ Workshop at the University of Iowa. She adapted Eudora Welty’s short story A Worn Path for the stage, and has been published in the African American National Biography (Oxford University Press) Black Masks Magazine, and Nka Journal of Contemporary African Art. Connie received her MFA in dramaturgy from the University of Iowa, an MA in performing arts from Emerson College and a BA in theatre from SUNY/New Paltz. Connie is seen on re-runs of TV series’ Conviction and Law & Order in her recurring role as Judge Shirley Taylor.

Rhonda “Passion” Hansome has directed over thirty-five productions, including Saviour? (Dwyer Cultural Center), Another Man’s PoisonAntigone Asata Shakur, T’was The Night Before Kwanzaa (Black Spectrum and Billie Holiday Theaters), and Real Black Men Don’t Sit Crosslegged On The Floor (New Federal Theater, Best Ensemble AUDELCO Award.) At the National Black Theater Festival, Bermuda Festival and New Federal Theater she directed Melba Moore’s Sweet Songs of the Soul; and in the NY International Fringe Festival she directed Damon & Debra and Black Martian. Other festivals include Voices From The Edge, NYU Festival of New Works, Chekov NOW, Potpourri, Estrogenius, and Going To The River. Hansome is a member of the Workshop Theater Company, Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab, Women’s Project Directors Forum, SDC and is an AUDELCO Outstanding Pioneer Honoree.

Comments