ShadowLand Poster.jpg


An Irons in the Fire Project

September 13, 2019 @ 7:00pm
Drama League Theater Center

Written by Erika Dickerson-Despenza
Directed by Candis C. Jones

This venue is wheelchair accessible.
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Ruth coaxes her dementia-ridden mother, Magalee, to sell Shadowland, the family business and New Orleans' first air-conditioned hotel for Blacks. But as Hurricane Katrina begins her ruin, Ruth is forced to wrestle with all that she’s ready to let go.

• • •

This play is the first installment of a 10-play Katrina Cycle. Taking up epic space, these plays traverse the Katrina diaspora in an examination of the ongoing effects of displacement rippling in & beyond New Orleans. Together, the ten works underscore colonialism, environmental racism & the erasure of Black land legacies through the distress of disaster, evacuation, displacement & urban renewal.

Performed By

Lynnette R. Freeman
Lizan Mitchell
Patrice Bell (Stage Directions)

Movement Consultant: Jill Vallery


Erika Dickerson-Despenza is a Blk feminist poet-playwright, cultural worker, educator and grassroots organizer from Chicago, Illinois. She's the recipient of the 2019 Princess Grace Award in Playwriting/Fellowship at New Dramatists and was a 2018 Relentless Award Semifinalist. Erika is a National Arts & Culture Delegate for the U.S. Water Alliance's One Water Summit 2019. She’s the 2019-2020 Tow Playwright-in-Residence at the Public Theater, a 2019 Writers' Gathering Jerusalem Writer-in-Residence, a 2019 New York Stage and Film Fellow-in-Residence, a 2019 New Harmony Project Writer-in-Residence, a 2018-2019 Dramatists Guild Foundation Fellow and was The Lark’s 2018 Van Lier New Voices Fellow. Erika is a 2019-2020 member of Ars Nova Play Group and a member of Ensemble Studio Theatre's Obie-winning Youngblood collective. Her work has been developed at The Lark, Vineyard Arts Project, New York Stage and Film, Public Theater, Victory Gardens Theater, Fault Line Theatre and Jackalope Theatre. Current plays in development include: ocean's lip/ heavn's shore, took/tied, hung/split, shadow/land, and cullud wattah (2019 Kilroys List; Public Theater, 2020). In addition to this water tetralogy, Erika is developing a 10-play Katrina Cycle, including [hieroglyph] (2019 Kilroys List), focused on the effects of Hurricane Katrina and its state-sanctioned man-made disaster.


Candis C. Jones is a theatre director and rising artistic leader. She has directed and developed work nationally and internationally at The Public Theater, The National Black Theater, The Alliance Theater, Detroit Public Theater, The Lark, The Kennedy Center, Zanzibar International Film Festival, New Harmony Project, The Fire This Time Festival, Primary Stages, New York University, and Weeksville Heritage Center. Candis is a 2018-20 Women's Project Lab Director, Drama League alumna, and a recipient of the inaugural Lilly Award for Emerging Directors.

Poster Art by Sean Devare