Archive by Author

Calling All Poets Who Love Acting! Audition Notice for “King David”

27 Aug

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Hello fam!

This makes me so excited. Like…literally. What could be more awesome than a play that incorporates our favorite thing — poetry?! Nothing. Nothing is more awesome than that. My latest show “King David” which will be presented on the prestigious Columbia University stage incorporates poetry and dance to tell the amazing story of King David (II Samuel 11-13) in an entirely new and contemporary way. Check out the video above to see what I mean. But guess what? I need people like you — my kindred poetic spirits — to make it happen. Take a look at the audition details below, the video above, and take the leap to transform your spoken word career into what could be the beginnings of an acting career as well.

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Seeking Non-Union Actors to audition for The Taken – Part I: King David

  •  NEW WORK: This lyrical modernization of a Biblical tale is a collaboration between playwright Ayvaunn Penn and director Nana Dakin, both second-year MFA students at Columbia University. Adapted from the story of King David (II Samuel chapter 13), Penn’s poetic work explores the devastating consequences of King David’s actions and the generational violence it begets. The Taken will be presented as a full production in the spring of 2017. For this presentation of the first act, we are interested in exploring the heightened musicality of Penn’s storytelling.
  •  CASTING: NON-UNION. OPEN ETHNICITY. AGES 18+. We seek versatile performers with a passion for poetry, prosody, musicality, movement and ensemble work. Performers with backgrounds in spoken word and music are strongly encouraged to audition.
  •  CHARACTER BREAKDOWN:
  1. DAVID – King of Israel. Male. 20s-40s. Athletic. Historically virtuous and heroic. His fatal lust proves his downfall.
  2. BATHSHEBA – Wife of a soldier. Female. 20s-30s. Sensuous, strong and quick to speak. Widely lusted after but very much in love with her husband Uriah.
  3. ZIBA – David’s head servant. Female. 50s -60s. Wise and opinionated. David’s moral compass. The eyes and ears of the palace.
  4.  FEMALE ENSEMBLE (TAMAR) – Female. Teens – 20s. Athletic. TAMAR – King David’s daughter. Sweet. Unassuming. Innocent.
  5. MALE ENSEMBLE 1 (AMNON / JOAB / ELISHAMA) – Male. 20s – 30s. Athletic. AMNON – King David’s son. Rapes his sister Tamar. / JOAB – Army captain and King David’s right hand man. Exudes power and authority. Gets the job done with no questions. / ELISHAMA – Servant. Hiding a secret affair. Enjoys telling crazy stories about Ziba.
  6. MALE ENSEMBLE 2 (ABSALOM / JEZREEL) – Male. Teens – 20s. Athletic. / ABSALOM – King David’s son. Kills his brother Amnon for raping his sister Tamar. / JEZREEL – Servant. Newly hired. Energetic but immature.
  • REHEARSAL SCHEDULE: Rehearsals will start the week of September 5th, and go until October 6th (opening night). Rehearsals will take place 2-3 times a week from 6.30-9.30pm and on one weekend day, from 10-2pm or 2-6pm, with few exceptions. All rehearsals will be held in the area around Columbia University.
  •  PUBLIC PERFORMANCE: The production will be presented at Columbia University’s Schapiro Theatre October 6th-9th, 2016.
  • AUDITIONS:
Monday, August 29th, 10am – 6pm
at 612 West 115th Street, New York, NY 10027
Watson Hall, Room 106
*closest subway is the 1 train to 116th Street
Tuesday, August 30th, 1pm – 9pm
at 3280 Broadway, New York, NY 10027
5th Floor, Studio 5
*closest subways are the 1 train to 125th St. or 137th St.
Auditions will be scheduled in 10 minute slots.
 To submit please follow these instructions:
  1. Email Director Nana Dakin: n.dakin [at] columbia [dot] edu
  2. In the subject line write: “Audition, King David”
  3. Specify which ROLE you are auditioning for
  4. Specify which audition DAY(s) and TIME(s) you are available for
  5. Attach PDF of your Headshot
  6. Attach PDF of your Resume

All the best,

Ayvaunn Penn

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mariana6 (1 of 1)-LAyvaunn Penn most recently served as assistant director to Golden Globe winner Regina Taylor on her show STOP. RESET. at the Tony Award winning Goodman Theatre. She is the Columbia University School of the Arts Dean’s Fellowship recipient for the Playwriting Class of 2018. Follow her @PennSpeaks on Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

Are you a Poet? Love Acting? This Could be Your Opportunity.

25 Apr
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Living in NYC? Talented poet? Or, are you a dancer or director with an ear for poetry and rhythm? I want to work with you to create a spoken word theatrical production. Hit me up at BlackAndMakingIt@gmail.com (with “g”) for details, and share this to spread the word.
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Spread the poetry revolution by clicking the image to become a fan on Facebook. 

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Ayvaunn Penn is an award-winning writer and the author of Ephemeral Moments, a book of poetry and short stories available on Amazon. She is also the founder of Your Black Poets and currently earning her MFA in Playwriting at Columbia University. Catch her spotlighting black excellence in theatre and the performing arts with Black And Making It. Click to follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

Poet Mentors Incarcerated Youth Through Art. Meet Messiah Ramkissoon.

23 Apr
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Not only did he win 3 times at New York’s Apollo Theater for his lyrical skill, he was also a featured performer at the unveiling of the MLK monument in Washington, DC, and that’s not the end of his impressive resume. Learn how this master of language is using his talent to change the lives of others for the better.
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Spread the poetry revolution by clicking the image to become a fan on Facebook. 

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Ayvaunn Penn is an award-winning writer and the author of Ephemeral Moments, a book of poetry and short stories available on Amazon. She is also the founder of Your Black Poets and currently earning her MFA in Playwriting at Columbia University. Catch her spotlighting black excellence in theatre and the performing arts with Black And Making It. Click to follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

Trayvon Martin Dedication: “Black is Just as Right”

15 Jul
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Ayvaunn Penn is an award-winning writer and author of Ephemeral Moments. This book of poetry and short stories addresses issues such as: struggles of faith, domestic abuse, racial injustice, a falling economy, and contemporary love – all through the eyes of a Christian. It is available for purchase on Create Space eStoreTo preview the book, click here To receive Ayvaunn’s daily Bible devotionals by email, click here.

Featured Poem of the Week: “The Art of Pain” by Jonathan Downey

20 May

pain

This old lady said to me, “Boy what you know about pain”………..as I sat there I realized I knew what ever body else knew….it hurts. See fixing a broken heart aint no easy task especially when you unmask those feeling you have only to have them crushed. The rush of the anxiety creeps up your spine until it reaches your mind then shoots back to your heart where it started. Until your body shuts down and you dont wanna get up and you dont have the keys to start it. Pain aint no joke to those who have really been hurt especially when you worked so hard to build up that wall around you heart only to take it down and have it shattered. After that it doesnt matter cause you will never find the pieces and the person who did it you will never be at peace with. Yea they apologize and you know that they are sorry for what they have done but they will never know the damage because they arent the ones that have to deal with it. A broken heart doesnt just hurt emotionally it also hurts physically. Let Newton’s Law of Physics be an example how chemistry can create chaos. These words are just a reaction of an action that was either opposite or equal. You can see through the chest of someone whos had a broken heart is transparent but apparently the male species cant have a broken heart we can only break them but we have to learn from some where. What I’m trying to say is one can only know pain after it has been afflicted. Some seek revenge and inflicting pain becomes addictive. In short we all know what pain is whether its a paper cut or broken finger but the pain of a broken heart always tends to linger……

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About the Author: 

“My name is Jonathan Downey. I am 20 years old, and I am from Norlina, NC. This is just a brief poem about how a broken heart can cause a vicious cycle between men and women.” 
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Spread the poetry revolution by clicking the image to become a fan on Facebook. 

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Ayvaunn Penn is an award-winning writer and the author of Ephemeral Moments, a book of poetry and short stories from the Christian perspective, available on Amazon.com in the fall of 2013. She is also the founder of Your Black Poets. To receive Ayvaunn’s daily Bible devotionals by email, click here. Click to follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

Featured Poem of the Week: “Men in Society” by Darrell Freeman, Jr.

14 May

man

Men in society is slowly being replaced,

With independent women and single mothers.
Ripping the heart out of the average American family.
Men in society is being tested and overlooked.
Now days women seem to be doing it all.
Women are overlooking or not acknowledging the role of men.
A  man is a protector, a provider and a companion.
Society tells men it’s their job to provide and protect their family.
As a man that’s what’s expected of you.
It’s like a double edge sword.
If a man doesn’t live up to society’s expectations,
He’s considered less than a man.
When a woman takes on that same role,
She’s looked at as noble, strong and unbreakable.
In some instantance’s she’s more of a man, than a man.
She’s not expected to take on that role, like a man is required to.
But she’s given more credit when she does,
vs. what the common  man does for his family in that same situation.
The woman is looked at as if she’s heaven sent.
Giving the men the notion that we are not needed.
As well as teaching the future generation that’s the way life goes.
In a relationship it’s 50/50.
No one is higher than the other.
But now a days whoever brings in the biggest paycheck controls the home.
Leaving us as people to re-examine our values in life.
A man is not higher or lower than a woman.
As well as a woman is not lower or higher than a man either.
But in our personal life a woman is looked at,
 as the one who controls the home.
Leaving men to be in the work field, controlling the income.
A man’s role is limited and the credit,
 he receives is short lived and unappreciated.
The father’s day holiday is overshadowed,
 by mother’s day and dead beat dads
Rarely is he acknowledged for raising his family.
As men we must not let these issues discourage us from being men.
Stand strong and show society we do belong here.
If we continue to educate and teach our kids,
Then the future generation will recognize the worth of men.
Then and only then will the society of men be stronger than ever.
But we must take care of our responsibilities as men and as fathers.
So many of our women are use,
 to taking care of  their families without a man.
It’s time we show them how much we love them, and provide for our family.
Let’s bring family values back, we all must step up to the plate as men.
It’s time we teach by example.

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About the Author: 

“My name is Darrell Freeman Jr. & I’m from Crowley Louisiana. I currently reside in Lake Charles, Louisiana.  I write from the heart. I wanna inspire others to look beyond their circumstances and strive for bigger & better things. I try to write about topics others are afraid to talk about….I’m currently working on starting my own business — Freeman’s World — which is a variety of businesses dedicated to giving back & uplifting the community….I wanna encourage everyone to follow your dreams. No matter how tough the road up ahead is always have faith and continue to push towards excellence.”

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Spread the poetry revolution by clicking the image to become a fan on Facebook. 

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Ayvaunn Penn is an award-winning writer and the author of Ephemeral Moments, a book of poetry and short stories from the Christian perspective, available on Amazon.com in the fall of 2013. She is also the founder of Your Black Poets. To receive Ayvaunn’s daily Bible devotionals by email, click here. Click to follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

Featured Poem of the Week: “Man Where the Leaders At” by Bernell Wesley

6 May

leaders at

Way back when I was young,

When things were good, when

Just to be on a bus was good enough,

When,

Kids acted like they should, when

They didn’t talk back,

Did their homework,

Because making good grades was yea, good,

Man, where the leaders at,

When, words like wack, crack, slack and jacked

Meant nothing to be alarmed about, when

Pants were worn way up, not way down, when

On the down low, meant you had more than one

Woman, not a woman and man

Man, where the leaders at, when

There were no policemen, metal detectors

In school lock-downs or Saturday in school arrests,

Man, where the leaders at,

Man, where the leaders at,

Man, where the leaders at.

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About the Author: 

“I am a junior at Georgia State University completing my degree in English with a concentration in Creative Writing and a minor in History. I was born on a sugar cane plantation outside of  Morgan City Louisiana 59 years ago. I am honored to have worked on Operation Moses, the first ever air lift of the Beta  Israel or Falashas from Sudan to America and Israel in 1984. I am [also] writing a script: Operation Moses: A Journey From a  Louisiana Sugar Cane Plantation To Africa.”
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Spread the poetry revolution by clicking the image to become a fan on Facebook. 

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Ayvaunn Penn is an award-winning writer and the author of Ephemeral Moments, a book of poetry and short stories from the Christian perspective, available on Amazon.com in the fall of 2013. She is also the founder of Your Black Poets. To receive Ayvaunn’s daily Bible devotionals by email, click here. Click to follow her on Twitter and Facebook.