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OnyxFest to return with 6 locally written and produced one-act plays

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OnyxFest, a theater festival dedicated to amplifying the work of Black playwrights, is returning this fall for two consecutive weekends.

Presented in partnership with IndyFringe and sponsored by the Africana Repertory Theatre of IUPUI, the 12th annual fall theater festival will feature six newly produced one-act plays written by local playwrights Nov. 3-6 and Nov. 10-12.

Vernon A. Williams, communication and community engagement strategist for IUPUI and the executive director of OnyxFest, said one of the things taken into consideration when choosing plays for the festival is substance and entertainment value.

OnyxFest gives local Black playwrights a platform and a stage to showcase work that otherwise likely wouldn’t be seen. However, another one of the goals of the festival is to present audiences with an idea to think about.

Still from “The Price of Progress: The Indiana Avenue/IUPUI Story” from a previous OnyxFest. (Photo provided by OnyxFest)
Still from “The Price of Progress: The Indiana Avenue/IUPUI Story.” (Photo provided by OnyxFest)

“We want it to be something that is beyond fluff,” he said. “We want it to be something that has substance, something that after you see it, you’re glad you did.”

The lineup for this year’s festival includes one of Williams’ own plays entitled “A Noise In The Attic,” which he said is a family-centric drama/comedy about a woman whose husband has put his own dreams and aspirations above hers for seven years.

However, someone else enters the situation, Williams said, causing the wife to gain some perspective, addressing her own frustration and then deciding to do something radical.

Other plays featured in OnyxFest will include “Police State” by Rain Wilson, “Houseless, Not Homeless” by Michael Florence, “Black Is My Color” by Celest Williams, “Majesties” by Charla Booth” and “Your Love Will Be Judged” by Gabrielle Patterson.

“We really go through a lot to make sure that everybody has a different story to tell,” Williams said. “So when a person buys a ticket, they can buy a ticket for all six of these shows and not see the same story told — not once — because they’re also different.”

OnyxFest is open to the public and each of the plays is appropriate for viewers of all ages, Williams said. Any show dealing with mature themes does so tactfully and tastefully, he said.

OnyxFest will take place at IndyFringe Basile Theatre, 719 E. St. Clair St., Nov. 3-6 and at the IUPUI Campus Center Theatre, 420 University Blvd., Nov. 10-12. Tickets for OnyxFest are $15 and are available with a full play schedule at indyfringe.org/onyxfest. More information about show times can also be found at onyxfest.com.

Contact staff writer Chloe McGowan at 317-762-7848 or chloegm@indyrecorder.com. Follow her on Twitter @chloe_mcgowanxx.

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