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The effects of racism on one family from 1851 to 1995 haunt its last surviving member in one insomnia-plagued night 

SILVER SPRING, Md. – Perisphere Theater, a nonprofit professional company based in Montgomery County, Md., will open its production of Blue Door, a play with original songs by Tanya Barfield, at the Silver Spring Black Box Theatre on February 25. The drama examines the effect of the past on the present by following one Black family through slavery, Jim Crow, lynching, and other forms of American racism from 1851 to 1995.

Artistic Director Kevin O’Connell said, “Our mission at Perisphere Theater is to produce plays that examine personal and collective history and the notion of history itself. We chose Blue Door for our next production because it looks at history through the eyes of a man who thinks it’s a crutch to say that racist atrocities inflicted on his family have any effect on who he is in the present. He hallucinates visits from dead members of his family and slowly comes to grips with how the experience of each generation affected the next, all leading to his current identity crisis.”

Playwright Tanya Barfield is the co-director of the Lila Acheson Wallace American Playwrights Program at the Juilliard School. Her play Bright Half Life has been seen at multiple theaters around the country since premiering at WP Theater Off-Broadway; it also received a Lambda Literary Award. Her play The Call premiered as a co-production between Playwrights Horizons and Primary Stages. Barfield is the recipient of a Lilly Award and the first inaugural Lilly Award Commission, a Helen Merrill Award, Honorable Mention for the Kesselring Prize for Drama, and a Lark Play Development/NYSCA grant. She has twice been a finalist for the Princess Grace Award. Her residencies include the Sundance Institute Theatre Lab, the Ucross Foundation, New York Stage and Film, the Royal Court International Residency, and Seattle Rep’s Women Playwrights Festival at Hedgebrook. She’s also an alumna of New Dramatists and the Dramatist Guild Council. Barfield also writes for television (HBO, FX, Showtime) and shares a Writers Guild of America Award for her work on season four of FX’s The Americans. She was nominated for an NAACP Image Award for writing the episode “Shirley” of the FX series Mrs. America.

Blue Door premiered at South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa, Calif., in April 2006. It made its off-Broadway premiere at Playwrights Horizons in October of that year. The New York Times wrote, “Tanya Barfield’s thoughtful play deals with themes central to the work of August Wilson. Mr. Wilson examined the African-American experience through a wide-angle lens. Ms. Barfield concentrates on the same battle but locates it in a single man’s soul.” Variety said, “The writing never asks for pity. Instead, demons are faced with humor and incisive metaphors.”

Perisphere Theater’s production is directed by Henery Wyand, a director and playwright who was recently a directing fellow with Shakespeare Theatre Company. He has previously directed at the Adirondack Theatre Festival. In 2020 he assisted the director of the off-Broadway production of Mrs. Warren’s Profession. Wyand holds a BA in Drama from Vassar College and studied advanced directing at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center’s National Theater Institute.

DeJeanette Horne plays the central character, Lewis. Jaucqir LaFond plays Lewis’s deceased brother, grandfather, and great grandfather. Horne, a native Washingtonian, most recently appeared as Mr. M. in My Children! My Africa! with the Washington Stage Guild. LaFond is a graduating senior acting major at Howard University from Atlanta.

Perisphere’s Blue Door will play for 10 performances from February 25 to March 12. More information can be found here: https://perispheretheater.com/blue-door/. Members of the media wishing to review the play or interview members of the production team should use the contact information at the top of this release.

Proof of vaccination against COVID-19, including a booster, is required to attend the play. Requests for exemptions must be made at least 48 hours before a performance. Patrons are required to wear masks that provide a full seal over both mouth and nose at all times unless drinking water. For more information about COVID protocols see https://perispheretheater.com/covid-19-precautions/

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