By NAN ET Editor
News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. Oct. 22, 2021: This Sunday, as she has done ever since March 2020, Guyanese immigrant playwright and actress Ingrid Griffith will become Shirley Chisholm – again.
Written and performed by Griffith, the one-woman show, “Shirley Chisholm: Unbossed and Unbowed,” is set for The Triad Theater in Manhattan, at 158 W. 72nd Street, New York, NY 10023 on Sunday, October 24th at 3 p.m.
Directed by Kate Mueth, the play tells the story of former Caribbean American congresswoman and Presidential hopeful, Shirley Chisholm, the daughter of Guyanese and Barbadian parents.
This special performance is supported by a City Artist Corps grant, an award created to activate and energize New York City’s artists and engage the public with arts activities this fall.
Griffith plays Shirley Chisholm and a slew of other characters in the 70-minute show that tells the story of an important historical figure and icon – not just to women, but to numerous marginalized communities. While this performance dramatizes the Civil Rights era, it’s also relevant to what we still see in politics today.
“It’s been over 50 years since Shirley Chisholm fought for civil rights, women’s rights and justice for the disenfranchised,” said Griffith. “We are in a moment in history when we must continue the fight she waged so bravely. It’s time we all know Shirley Chisholm’s story. Our country is at a tipping point, suspended between great peril and great possibilities. Shirley Chisholm is not with us but we can gain strength from her spirit, vision and strategies.”
The story journeys back to 10-year-old Chisholm returning to the United States after being separated from her parents during The Great Depression. The viewer is able to see how the years living with her grandmother in Barbados manifested and reinforced her Caribbean heritage in her bearing, speech pattern and expectations of herself. Chisholm’s childhood also shows how race and gender were intended to determine how far she would go in life, why as a young woman she chose to fight for the disenfranchised, and what it took for her to rise.
Unbossed & Unbowed dramatizes the Civil Rights era, the unrest of the 1960s, the patriarchal system and the all-boys network Chisholm was up against, many themes we still see in the politics of today, says Griffith. Visuals and music establish the tenor of the times and create mental images of the economic, political and social upheavals in America from the 1930s to the early 1970s.
The characters in this performance all have strong voices and valid points-of-view, but it’s Chisholm’s narrative that delivers the story’s message.
Griffith has been researching, writing and workshopping Shirley Chisholm’s story for the past five years. In March 2020, the full staged production was performed for the first time at Hear Her Call Festival in Queens, NY, where Unbossed & Unbowed won best script.
Soon after, the pandemic brought live theatre to a halt. The second live performance was August 2021 at Southampton Arts Center, Southampton, NY.
The “Shirley Chisholm’s story needs to be heard by one and all,” says Griffith. “I’m appreciative for this grant and hope that audiences will come witness this theatrical performance for themselves.”
Admission is free. All COVID-19 protocols are in place. Please pre-register at unbossedoct24.eventbrite.com.