Friday, January 27, 2023

St. Louis Shakespeare Festival Has Invited an Afrofuturist

Trevon Griffith, a musician, and composer was offered the chance to direct St. Louis Shakespeare Festival’s tourCo production Midsummer Night’s Dream HTML3.html3. His first thought was “What does my community want to hear?”

Griffith said, “If I was going do a version like this, I wanted a new space that was centered in Blackness and joy.” “Afrofuturism was the first theme that came to mind. It is a place where we can define what it looks like in the future.

Six actors will play multiple roles in the production. It puts a modern twist on Shakespeare’s classic play. The production will be held from August 2nd to 27th and stop at 24 parks in the St. Louis area, as well as several locations in Illinois.

Griffith created original music to create his Midsummer universe. The lyrics were adapted from the play’s text. This unique soundscape is intended to bring the Afrofuturist concept to life while bringing back familiar themes from people’s daily lives. He shared this goal with Brandin Vaughn (costume designer), who Griffith approached to join the project after admiring Griffith’s work for many years.

Vaughn states that “Griffith” sent him a vision board describing his concept. “I started to study African cultures and African fabrics. It was something I wanted to incorporate into contemporary and modern styles.

Vaughn, who runs his clothing line and storefront in St. Louis combines elements from current fashion with references to futuristic styles in his costuming. Vaughn says that the best part of the experience was working with the other members of the production team.

“The fact it has an all-Black cast and that the St. Louis Shakespeare Festival took that opportunity to produce a production featuring all-Black talent. It’s simply the greatest thing. Vaughn states that it gives us the chance to share our vision of Shakespeare’s Black eye.”

Vaughn, Griffith, and I look forward to bringing this show to areas in the St. Louis region that might not have regular access to the arts. Griffith claims that the show is a “dedication to self-love”, and that it should be experienced by everyone.

Vaughn states that many people never get the chance to see the theater as a child. It’s amazing to me that they bring it to my door. To let the Black community know that it is possible to be successful in theater and fashion. To prove it, we’re bringing it to you.

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