“…IT HAS A VIRTUE OF GUT, URGENCY AND NECESSITY…UNADORNED HONESTY…”
by Shay Youngblood
Directed by Thomas W. Jones II
In Odessa Blue’s neighborhood café, three generations of a Black southern family share a passion for activism, art, and following your heart. But they don’t always agree on the methods, especially when their protests threaten their freedom and safety. Odessa’s son, Square, has been calling for reparations for decades and now is in danger for holding a large (and illegal) reparations-based tax refund. Meanwhile, his daughter Karma finds her own outlet for activism in provocative public performance with poet and love Lola. And matriarch Odessa, a rebel in her own time, worries about losing her beloved Fifth Avenue Happy Café to Square’s revolution.
In this expansive, timely, and magical comedy-drama, the Blue family faces a crossroads. Only together can they find the courage to stand up for their beliefs as they redefine what makes a family and what holds it together.
Renowned international author, artist, and playwright of Horizon‘s award-winning hit Shakin’ the Mess Outta Misery, Shay Youngblood weaves an urgent, vivid, and exuberant tale that calls for change while pulsing with humor, sensuality, and grace.
CONTENT WARNING: This play contains adult language, sexual innuendo, and brief instances of male nudity.
Download the Official Press Release
JULY 22-AUGUST 21, 2022
Press Opening: July 29, 2022
Wednesday – Friday at 8:00 PM
Saturday at 3:00 PM and 8:00 PM
Sunday at 5:00 PM
Tickets start at $30 on Wednesdays & Thursdays, and $35 on weekends.
Bring your neighbors!
Group pricing is available for parties of 10+. Groups of 10-24 receive $3 off the general admission ticket price. Groups of 25+ receive $5 off the general admission ticket price. Call 404.523.1477 x100 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Ticket prices are subject to change. Buy early for best pricing. Internet convenience fee added to all online orders. No refunds, exchanges, or late seating. Cannot combine discount offers.
About the Playwright
SHAY YOUNGBLOOD is an Atlanta-based writer, visual artist, and educator, as well as the playwright of Horizon’s award-winning hit Shakin’ the Mess Outta Misery, her first play, which premiered at Horizon in 1988 and 1989. Horizon reprised it in 2010, and the production won the Suzi Award for Outstanding Production of a Play, also directed by Tom Jones. A fiction writer who turned her Big Mama Stories into Shakin’, she subsequently received her MFA in playwriting from Brown under Paula Vogel. She is the author of several novels including Black Girl in Paris and Soul Kiss, collections of short stories and numerous essays.Her published plays including Shakin’ the Mess Out of Misery, Talking Bones and Amazing Grace (a stage adaptation of a children’s book), all produced by Horizon, have been widely-produced. Her short stories have been performed at Symphony Space and recorded for NPR’s Selected Shorts. Mama’s Home and Family Prayer, illustrated children’s books, are forthcoming from Random House. Honors include a Pushcart Prize for fiction, NAACP award for her plays, and a fellowship from the New York Foundation for the Arts. Shay is currently one of Horizon’s Black Women Speak writers, writing a new commissioned play about Black Southern women, Boss Ladies and Tender-Hearted Girls. Other current projects include Tent Cities, an environmental fable, and an interdisciplinary performance work about architecture, memory and the environment inspired by research in Japan, China and the U.S. Youngblood was appointed as a Commissioner to the Japan U.S. Friendship Commission in 2021, serves on the board of Yaddo artist residency, and teaches graduate creative writing workshops at City College, NY. Though she has now lived all over the world, she was born and raised in Columbus, GA, went to Clark College (now Clark Atlanta University), and recently returned to live in Atlanta, GA.
Cast & Creative Team
(click on the name over the photo to read bio)
Square Blue: JAY JONES
Karma: CHANTAL MAURICE
Odessa: OLIVIA DAWSON*
Miss Tuesday: MARLISS AMIEA*
Lola: PATTY DE LA GARZA
Art Action Member/Ensemble • Lola Understudy: DANIELA RAMOS
Art Action Member/Ensemble: JABORICE KNIGHT
Police/Louis Rose/FBI/Ensemble: ZACHARY TORMEY
Karma: De’Ja McKnabb
Miss Tuesday/Odessa 2: Parris Sarter
Square Blue: Evan Ivory
Police/Louis Rose/FBI/Ensemble: Daniel Ware
Art Action Member/Ensemble/Karma 2: Mionne Destiny
*Member of Actors’ Equity Association
Director: THOMAS W. JONES II
Co-Artistic/Producing Director: Lisa Adler
Set/Mural Designers: Isabel Curley-Clay & Moriah Curley-Clay
Costume Designer: Dr. L. Nyrobi Moss
Lighting Designer: Mary Parker
Projections Designer: Robbie Hayes
Sound Designer: Johnathan Taylor / Multiband Studio
Stage Manager: Julianna M. Lee* • Tracy Thomas*
Reviews & Press
- RADIO INTERVIEW & ARTICLE: WABE’s “City Lights with Lois Reitzes”
- RADIO INTERVIEW: WCLK (click the Listen button at the top of the page—the first segment of the show is about SQUARE BLUES)
- RADIO INTERVIEW: It’s Just Us Radio Show / Artist First Radio Network (show website)