2023/24 Season

The Most Spectacularly Lamentable Trial of Miz Martha Washington

March 8-31, 2024

Written by Pulitzer Prize Winner, James Ijames
Directed by Pirronne Yousefzadeh
Alan Page Auditorium | Mixed Blood Theatre

Ravaged by illness and cared for by the very slaves that will be free the moment she dies, Martha Washington’s fever dreams are haunted by a range of characters, from Queen Charlotte and George Washington, to a present-day trial lawyer, building up to a reckoning with family, legacy, and broken promises. Written by Pulitzer winner James Ijames, this biting satire examines history’s impact on present-day systems.

Production photo of the play The Most Spectacularly Lamentable Trial of Miz Martha Washington
Production photo of the play The Most Spectacularly Lamentable Trial of Miz Martha Washington

Join us for Learn + Do events featuring conversation with guests, activities, and food following the show.

Show Details

The performance runs about 90 minutes, without an intermission. Content is for mature audiences.

  • Masks required | March 29
  • English-language captioning | provided at every performance
  • Assisted Listening | available at every performance (reserve in advance)
  • Recorded Audio Description | March 13-31 (reserve in advance)
  • Live Audio Description and Tactile Tour | March 30

Playwright

Playwright James Ijames

James Ijames is a Pulitzer Prize winning and Tony Award nominated playwright, a director and educator. James’ plays have been produced by Flashpoint Theater Company, Orbiter 3, Theatre Horizon, Wilma Theatre, Theatre Exile, Azuka Theatre (Philadelphia, PA), The National Black Theatre, JACK, The Public Theater (NYC), Hudson Valley Shakespeare Theater, Steppenwolf Theatre, Definition Theatre, Timeline Theater (Chicago IL) Shotgun Players (Berkeley, CA) and have received development with PlayPenn New Play Conference, The Lark, Playwright's Horizon, Clubbed Thumb, Villanova Theater, Wilma Theater, Azuka Theatre and Victory Garden. James is the 2011 F. Otto Haas Award for an Emerging Artist recipient, and two Barrymore Awards for Outstanding Direction of a Play for The Brothers Size with Simpatico Theatre Company and Gem of the Ocean with Arden Theatre. James is a 2015 Pew Fellow for Playwriting, the 2015 winner of the Terrance McNally New Play Award for WHITE, the 2015 Kesselring Honorable Mention Prize winner for ....Miz Martha, a 2017 recipient of the Whiting Award, a 2019 Kesselring Prize for Kill Move Paradise, a 2020 and 2022 Steinberg Prize, the 2022 Pulitzer Prize in Drama recipient and a 2023 Tony nominee for Best Play for Fat Ham James was a founding member of Orbiter 3, Philadelphia’s first playwright producing collective. He received a B.A. in Drama from Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA and a M.F.A. in Acting from Temple University in Philadelphia, PA. James an Associate Professor of Theatre at Villanova University. He resides in South Philadelphia. (Headshot by Justin DeWalt)

Director

Director Pirronne Yousefzadeh

Pirronne Yousefzadeh (She/Her) is a director, writer, and educator with a passion for new work that centers and uplifts the stories of global majority communities with buoyancy and joy. She serves as the interim Associate Artistic Director at Playwrights' Center. She has developed and directed work at Playwrights Horizons, New York Theatre Workshop, The Public, Soho Rep, Ars Nova, The Kennedy Center, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Geffen Playhouse, La Jolla Playhouse, Cleveland Playhouse, Geva Theatre, Playwrights' Center, and many more. Pirronne is a Usual Suspect at New York Theatre Workshop, New Georges Affiliated Artist, and a member of Ensemble Studio Theatre. She is an alumna of the 2050 Fellowship at NYTW, Sagal Fellowship at Williamstown, SDC Denham Fellowship, Lincoln Center Directors Lab, Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab, and Drama League Directors Project. Pirronne was a finalist for the 2020 Zelda Fichandler Award from SDC and is a proud member of the union. M.F.A., Columbia University. Representation: Ben Izzo at Michael Moore Agency.

Cast

Actor Darius Dotch

A Hip Hop artist and Ivey Award-winning Darius Dotch is excited to return to the Mixed Blood stage. He is a graduate of Saint Cloud State University where he earned his Bachelor's of Fine Arts in 2009. His last Mixed Blood production and debut was Colossal by Andrew Hinderaker in 2014. Dotch has performed at several renowned theatres in the Twin Cities including Sweat by Lynn Nottage at the Guthrie Theatre, Raisin in the Sun and Color Purple at Park Square Theatre, Detroit 67’, Wedding Band and Pipeline at Penumbra Theatre, Skeleton Crew at Yellow Tree Theatre, and Intimate Apparel with Ten Thousand Things. Coming up next, he will be starring in Skeleton Crew at the Guthrie Theatre.

Actress Tolu Ekisola

Tolu (Feyintoluwa) Ekisola is motivated by a passion to illuminate black culture and history and educate the next generation. Recently featured on the cover of Insight News for her role as Priscilla, Tolu has returned from Southern California with the goal of making Mixed Blood her artistic home. She is always grateful for the opportunity to perform her craft and would like to thank her supporters and inspirations, her family, the Ordway Greenroom fellows and leadership, Mike Ricci, Matt Wall, Marci Lucht, James A. Williams, and her Normandale Community, amongst many.

Actor Domino D Lorion

Domino D’Lorion is a queer, Afro-Boriqua, actrx, playwright, teaching artist & drag queen (Lady Cummeal Cassadine). From Chicago, IL. They’re an alum of The Chicago Academy for the Arts, The Northwestern National High School Institute Theatre/Musical Theatre Program (Cherubs), and the University of Minnesota/Guthrie Theater BFA Actor Training Program with a minor in Business Management from the Carlson School of Management. Shows include Boudica (Guthrie Theater), award-winning STOOPIDITY (Minnesota Fringe Festival). This will be Domino’s debut at Mixed Blood Theatre! Domino is represented by Wehmann Models & Talent and Moore Creative Talent, Inc.

Actress Valencia Proctor

Valencia Proctor is so excited to be making her Mixed Blood debut! She is a multifaceted artist hailing from Jackson, MS. She is best known for her work in the Twin Cities as an actor and director. She was recently seen in the Pillsbury House x Exposed Brick production of “Passage” (F). Before that, she was seen in Misery (Sheriff) & Passing Strange (Youth) at Yellow Tree Theatre. She has also starred/ directed in productions at Penumbra, Lyric Arts, Illusion Theatre and more. Most recently, she has taken her oratory skills to the podcast microphone in her latest creative endeavor, “Not to Offend You But…” a podcast exclusively steaming on Spotify. (for now..) She wants to thank each of you for coming out today & hopes you enjoy the show!

Actor Mikell Sapp

Mikell Sapp is Minnesota's 2015 Ivey Award winner for Emerging Artist. Mikell hails from Phenix City, AL and is a graduate of Alabama State University. Mikell is extremely excited to be back on the Mixed Blood stage again. Previous theatre credits include: Pussy Valley (Mixed Blood), The Snowy Day (Children's Theatre Company), Charlie Black (Pillsbury), Shane (Guthrie), Broke-Ology (Pillsbury), The Ballad of Emmett Till and Spunk (Penumbra), The Agitators (Park Square), and Hot Asian Doctor Husband (Theater Mu).

Actress Monica Scott

Monica is thrilled to be making her debut at Mixed Blood Theatre. Her most recent theatre credits include Diesel Heart, Buddy!, Parks and Not for Sale at History Theatre. She has also worked with Children's Theatre, Illusion Theatre, The Guthrie and Penumbra. She holds a Bachelors of Fine Arts from NCA&T (North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University and an MFA from University of Minnesota/Twin Cities. Monica is deeply grateful for the continued love and support from family and friends.

Actress Karen Weise Thompson

Ten Thousand Things: Twelfth Night; A Winter’s Tale; Scapin; Intimate Apparel; Pericles; Henry IV Part I;; Romeo and Juliet; Little Shop of Horrors; Guthrie: Guys and Dolls; Girl Friday: Idiot’s Delight: The Matchmaker Park Square: Laughter on the 23rd Floor, Noises Off, The Heiress, Arsenic and Old Lace, Dead Man’s Cell Phone; Sherlock Holmes and the Adventure of the Suicide Club; Paul Bunyan Playhouse: Annie, Noises Off, The Full Monty, Lend Me A Tenor, The Music Man, Harvey,: Torch Theatre: Prints, Les Liasons Dangereuses, Miracle Worker, MacBeth,Gremlin: A Devil Inside, Blithe Spirit

* Member of Actor’s Equity Association

Design Team

Scenic Design | Matt Lefebvre
Costume/Makeup/ Wig Design | Zamora Simmons
Lighting Design | Karin Olson
Sound Design |Theo Langason
Props Design | Kris Schmidt
Production Stage Manager | Samantha Fairchild

The Most Spectacularly Lamentable Trial of Miz Martha Washington is presented by special arrangement with Broadway Licensing, LLC, servicing the Dramatists Play Service imprint. (dramatist.com) The play was developed at the PlayPenn New Play Conference.

Production Team

Artistic Director | Mark Valdez
NNPN Producer in Residence | Ansa Akyea
Production Manager | Raúl Ramos
Head Electrician | Scott Edwards
Technical Director | Evan Sima
Light Board Operator | Devin Hard
Sound Board Operator | Nick Mrozek
Assistant Stage Manager/Run Crew |
Jorge Rodriguez Sosa
Costume Support and Maintenance | Jorge Rodriguez Sosa and Zamora Simmons 

 

Box Office/House Manager | Jo French
Caption Designer | Laila Sahir
Caption Operator | Nick Sacco
Audio Describer | Laurie Pape Hadley
ASL Interpreters | Minnesota Deaf Muslim Community – Maria Dively and Tamara Grady

TalkBacks

Reverend Jim Bear Jacobs

Born in St. Paul, he is a member of the Stockbridge-Munsee Mohican Nation, an American Indian tribe located in central Wisconsin. He has degrees in Pastoral Studies and Christian Theology and has served various churches as youth minister, adult Christian educator, and director of Men’s Ministries. Presently he is parish associate at Church of All Nations Presbyterian Church. He is a cultural facilitator in the Twin Cities and works to raise the public’s awareness of American Indian causes and injustices. He is founder/convener of “Healing Minnesota Stories,” an initiative dedicated to creating events of dialogue, education, and healing, particularly within faith communities. He is currently the Director of Racial Justice for the Minnesota Council of Churches.

Attorney Jacquelyn Lutz

Based in Minneapolis, Jacquelyn practices family law with a passion that stems from personal experience. As the daughter of divorced parents and a mother of three boys, she intimately understands the complexities of familial dynamics. Her practice encompasses a wide array of cases from custody battles to divorce proceedings and prenuptial agreements and she advocates for all members of a family, irrespective of their roles or backgrounds. Jacquelyn Lutz is a recipient of the Minnesota Lawyer Diversity Equity and Inclusion award, which recognized her efforts to orchestrate delivering high quality racial equity education to small law firms who wouldn’t otherwise get access. Recognized as a 2023 Top Woman In Law by Minnesota Lawyer, Jacquelyn is an advocate for integrating breastfeeding considerations into family law and increasing access to lactation spaces in courthouses for attorneys. Jacquelyn’s presence on the legal scene isn’t just about advocating for individuals; it’s about fostering a more equitable and compassionate legal system—one where every voice is heard, and every family is represented with dignity and respect.

Advocate Jeremiah Ellis

Jeremiah is a tireless advocate for Black heritage and its rightful place in Minnesota narratives. His multifaceted knowledge - fueled by a diverse academic background including a Master's in Public Administration, Graduate Certificate in Strategic Management, and Bachelor's in Theology -  brings a richer understanding into the context of Black history and ongoing struggles for social justice. He champions the importance of understanding race and power dynamics throughout American history. His groundbreaking research is a powerful example of how historical narratives can be enriched. His work on the untold stories of Minnesota's Black Rosies – courageous African American women who worked in munitions factories during World War II  –  demonstrates a commitment to uncovering hidden histories. In celebrating Black leadership, his insightful article, “Saint Paul’s Distinct Leadership Tradition: A Century of the Sterling Club” earned the prestigious David Gebhard Award as well as the Virginia B. Kunz Award. This focus on silenced voices resonates deeply with explorations of race and power. Ellis also serves on the Saint Paul Heritage Preservation Commission and the board of the African American Interpretive Center of Minnesota, ensuring Black narratives are preserved and celebrated in Minnesota. Ellis has been honored as a Arthur C. McWatt Senior Fellow with the Ramsey County Historical Society and as a Wilkins Policy Fellow with the Roy Wilkins Center for Human Relations and Social Justice. 

Activist Atlese Robinson

Atlese Robinson is a writer, performer, director, producer, and the founding artistic director of Ambiance Theatre Company. Ambiance Theatre Company's mission is to support Black dramatic writers through script development, produce new works, and center the need for engaging Black audiences. Hailing from Saint Paul, MN by way of Chicago, IL, Atlese grew up to become a storyteller because of the stories of her elders. Atlese's most recent works include Queen mother (Red Eye Theater), Conflicted Hearts (Theater 45), Back Wall Street: The burning of Dreamland Theater (MN Fringe), and the burning of Greenwood (Nimbus Theater), which went on to be one of the most successful productions at Nimbus Theatre. Upcoming works include Withered Clovers (Gumbo Media) a work of investigative memoir examining the housing disparities in MN. Atlese recently completed her Master's in Strategic Marketing at the University of Sussex in Brighton, UK.

Activist Leesa Kelly

Leesa Kelly is an activist, writer, public speaker, and curator. Leesa is the Founder and Executive Director of Memorialize the Movement, a grassroots organization that preserves, displays, and educates the public on the protest plywood murals that emerged after George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis in 2020. Through her work with Memorialize the Movement, Leesa has spoken at over 17 conferences and universities, organized large-scale exhibitions in the Twin Cities and New York, and has led workshops on cultivating BIPOC representation and visibility in the museum and conservation industry. She believes in dismantling oppressive systems and rebuilding new systems that work for ALL people.

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