The 2014 DC Black Theatre Festival descends upon the city with a wave of exciting events: full length plays, one act battles, educational workshops and even a directors’ battle. Two plays in particular have rainbow family ties and are worth supporting.
Staring Kareema Wambuii as Casey, Chelsea Shorte as Alex, Sensuality is a universal story of two women in love. The show follows the lead character, Casey from childhood as she explores her sexuality and eventually meets her life partner. The play unfolds with humor, drama, wonderful surprises and of course…sensuality.
The play examines the catharsis that many women experience in coming to terms with their sexual being amid society’s prejudice. The play acts as an outstanding advocate for the enhancement of individual, family and community life by empowering people to realize and accept their diverse sexualities.
Sensuality is written and directed by Sonya Hemphill. Hemphill is the executive director of Clouds In My Coffee Theater, a not-for-profit company incorporated in 1994. Hemphill is a native New Yorker with roots in the stage since age 17 when she starred in an Off-Broadway production of the Hadley Player’s theater troupe. She was truly smitten with acting and changed her chemical engineering major to theater. She began writing and directing when she discovered that lesbian stories onstage were extremely rare.
“I wanted a place where two women could hold hands, experience an image of themselves onstage and feel proud to be a lesbian,” says Hemphill.
Written in September 1990 as a four scene one act play, Sensuality grew to a full production by 1992. The play has toured across the country at venues in San Francisco, Philadelphia, Atlanta, New York and Orlando and was featured at several colleges, Yale University, LaGuardia College, Penn State, and Bucknell.
Hemphill found her passion through Audre Lorde who’s writings encourage women to tell their stories. She read Audre Lorde’s novel, ZAMI, and realized that being a lesbian held a certain responsibility to ensure that others did not feel isolated in their quest to identify and understand their sexuality.
Sensuality takes place on Saturday, June 21 at THEARC located at 1901 Mississippi Ave SE, Washington, D.C. A VIP Meet and Greet starts at 6 p.m., followed by showtime at 7 p.m. To purchase tickets, visit www.cloudstheater.com. For more information about the DC Black Theatre Festival, click here.
This article originally ran on A Gurlz Guide on June 18, 2014.