Please note the new date of this production. Read more about schedule changes here.
Ticket link goes live at 7pm. Please note you will not be able to register before 7pm the day of the premiere.
On-Demand streaming through Friday, October 30 at 11:59 p.m. EDT
Four young African American men find themselves untimely ripped from the world they know. Trapped in a cosmic waiting room, they struggle to make sense of where they are, how they got there and why their names ended up on “the list.” The play was inspired by the ever-growing list of slain unarmed African American men and women and it is described by the playwright as “an expressionistic buzz saw through the contemporary myth that ‘all lives matter.’”
This production contains strong language including racial slurs, mature content and violence, loud noises including gunshots, and references to murder and police brutality.
The Amplify, Empower, Illuminate: Four Plays, Many Diverse Voices series is sponsored by
Video Design and Production:
Tim Brown, Rob Siler
Director: Belinda Boyd
ISA: Macoy Stewart
GRIF: Shahmad Muhammad
DAZ: Gerald Kitt
TINY: Lucas Laguer
U/S ISA, U/S GRIF: Timothy Jones II
U/S DAZ, U/S TINY: Mackenely Ria
Assistant Stage Manager: Victoria Torres*
Dramaturgs: Caroline Hull*, Sage Tokach*
Assistant Multimedia Design and Production: Syd Deines*
*denotes UCF student. All cast members are UCF students.
THEATRE UCF PRODUCTION STAFF, FACULTY, AND ADVISORS
Director of the School of Performing Arts: Michael Wainstein
Artistic Director: Julia Listengarten
Director of Production: Bert Scott
Faculty Designer/Advisor: Huaixiang Tan
Faculty Designer/Advisor: Vandy Wood
Faculty Dramaturg/Advisor: Chloe Edmonson
Faculty Designer/Advisor: Tim Brown
Faculty Designer/Advisor: Rob Siler
Production Manager: Gary Brown
Assistant Technical Director: Shannan Rath
Sound Designer/Advisor: Lindsay Putnam
Master Electrician: Edd Gordon
Costume Shop Manager/Designer/Advisor: Daniel Jones
Costume Shop Floor Supervisor: Robin Ankerich
Faculty Stage Management Advisor: Claudia Lynch
This play is for the many, many, many, many African American men, and African American women who were “living while black” and killed only because of the color of their skin. May their souls rest in peace and their spirits spark revolution and change.
— Belinda Boyd
How can we honor the people whose lives have been unjustly claimed by police brutality? How do the living find peace and understanding after such senseless violence? How can people, especially white people blinded by prejudice or racism, finally see people of color as humans with lives, families, and stories?
These are the questions James Ijames asks of audiences in Kill Move Paradise, and these are the questions that need to be answered before Black lives will matter in America.
Ijames desperately began writing this play in response to the 2015 shooting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston. He was grappling with his own pain and frustration, as well as societal perceptions of Black people and the never-ending cycle of violence against them. The result is a tribute to Black lives that creates a space to say the names of those killed by police brutality and systemic violence. Nothing will ever justify the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tamir Rice, Trayvon Martin, and so many others, but, at the very least, we can say their names out loud.
James Ijames draws from several theatrical eras in this exploration of an issue that spans an equally vast history. He combines the Greek idea of Elysium (or paradise after death) with Beckettian existentialism (a la Sartre) to create a version of the afterlife where characters are finally given the space to process the racism they experienced on Earth. Even upon death, though, the men are not truly free. Ijames’s characters transform into TV sitcom stars, dancing for their audience of judges in a "broken up, shattered, and disturbed Cosby Show opening number. This performative dance sequence uses Brechtian alienation to bring awareness to audience members whose whiteness might be shielding them from the ugliness of everyday injustices.
Though Kill Move Paradise wrestles with extremely violent material, its violence is not recreated onstage – a choice likely inspired by the anti-lynching plays of the early 1900s. These plays were created to affirm Black lives and discuss how lynching terrorized Black families and communities. Rather than full productions, most anti-lynching plays were read in homes, churches, and other communal spaces, creating an active practice of Black belonging. One of these plays, Rachel by Angelina Grimké Weld, was sponsored by the NAACP, but was also highly criticized for appealing to white audiences. Grimké Weld responded by saying she intentionally appealed to white women, hoping that a story about the struggles of motherhood might touch their hearts and help them better understand the Black family’s pain.
Certainly, Kill Move Paradise is a tribute that Amplifies, Empowers, and Illuminates Black lives, but Ijames also issues a call for action, specifically to white audiences. He lets white viewers live in the discomfort of hearing the list of names read aloud and reminds them that their discomfort is nothing compared to systemic racism. When the play finishes, racial violence does not. As white dramaturgs, we must share the burden with collaborators of color, specifically the Black director and all-Black cast of Kill Move Paradise, and continue this conversation beyond this performance. We, the white dramaturgs, must abandon our identity as the silent judges, say these names ourselves, and become active allies against systemic racism.
— Caroline Hull & Sage Tokach
Resources for Black healing:
- Black Emotional and Mental Health Collective
- Black Mental Health Alliance
- Black Mental Wellness
- Therapy for Black Girls
- Therapy for Black Men
Resources for active allyship:
Ealey, Jordan and Ridley, Leticia. “Early Black Feminist Theatre and Lynching Dramas Revisited.” Daughters of Lorraine, HowlRound, 12 Nov. 2019.
Scroll down to see the website of their dramaturgical research, or click here to view it in a new tab on your browser.
Gerald Kitt (Daz) is a junior in the BFA Acting program. Past Theatre UCF credits include Urinetown (Hot Blades Harry/Assistant Choreographer), Water by the Spoonful (U/S Chutes&Ladders) and Of Mice and Men (Crooks). He also directs and choreographs for children’s theatre programs. Instagram: @geralds.world
Lucas Laguer (Tiny) is a sophomore in the BFA Acting program. He was most recently credited in the Theatre UCF production of Water by the Spoonful (U/S Aman, Ghost, Police Officer). His other production credits include The Curious Savage (Hannibal) and Rumors (Ken Gorman). He has also performed in the TYA staged reading Highest Heaven (Huracán) at UCF. Instagram: @_lukieboo_
Shahmad Muhammad (Grif) is a third-year transfer student in the BFA Acting program. His past Theatre UCF stage credits include Urinetown (Assistant Director), The Rover (Phillipo, Masquerader), Sweat (Evan), #GodHatesYou (U/S Noah), Titanic: The Musical (Ensemble) and Hot Mikado (Swing). Other previous theatre credits include Sing On, Ms. Griot (Mansa Musa) and One Monkey Don’t Stop No Show (Felix). Instagram: @shahmoody.
Timothy Jones II (U/S Isa, U/S Grif) is a second-year transfer student in the BFA Acting program. His credits include Theatre UCF’s Sweat (U/S Brucie) and Moment to Moment’s Barren (Tom). He has also directed a play at Pensacola State College called The Worker.
Mackenley Ria (U/S Daz, U/S Tiny) is a third-year transfer student in the BFA Musical Theatre program. He was last seen at the Athens Theatre’s production of Singing in the Rain. Other theatre credits include How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying (Twimble/Wally Womper) and Noises Off (Selsdon Mowbrary). He is also studying to be a composer and pianist and hopes to one day write his own musical.
Macoy Stewart (Isa) is a junior in the BFA Musical Theatre program. He was born and raised in Miami, Florida where he attended New World School of the Arts and studied Musical Theater. His Theatre UCF debut was Titanic: The Musical at UCF Celebrates the Arts 2019, and was last seen in UCF’s production of Sweat by Lynn Nottage in the role of Chris.
Syd Deines (Assistant Production Designer) is a sophomore in the BFA Design and Technology program. Her previous credits include Assistant Props Master for Urinetown.
Caroline Hull (Dramaturg) is a Theatre Studies and Creative Writing double major at UCF. She is the development director of Project Spotlight, as well as avid playwright. Previous performance roles include Into the Woods (Cinderella), Assassins (Lynette Fromme), and Sweeney Todd (Johanna). Her original play, Break, has been performed at KCACTF twice and won the John Cauble Award for Outstanding Short Play.
Sarah Nicholson (Stage Manager) is a senior in the BFA Stage Management program. Theatre UCF credits include Sweat (Stage Manager), The Tender Land opera at UCF Celebrates the Arts 2019 (Stage Manager), as well as Intuitive Men (Assistant Stage Manager) and Bathsheba’s Psalms (Assistant Stage Manager) as part of Pegasus PlayLab 2018. She has worked with Orlando Shakes on two plays as stage manager in PlayFest, their annual new works festival.
Lukas Royer (QLab Operator) is a sophomore in the BFA Design and Technology program with a focus on sound design. This is his second Theatre UCF production, having previously worked as a QLab Operator on Blood at the Root.
Sage Tokach (Dramaturg) is a second-year graduate student in the MFA Theatre for Young Audiences program. She is also the Project Coordinator for Ignition Arts and a teaching artist at the Orlando Repertory Theatre. At UCF, she is involved with Celebrate TYA and Playback UCF.
Victoria Torres (Assistant Stage Manager) is a sophomore in the BFA Stage Management program. Prior Theatre UCF credits include The Rover (QLab Operator).
Student dramaturgs Caroline Hull and Sage Tokach created a website to showcase their dramaturgical research. See the site below, or click here to view it in a new tab on your browser.
KILL MOVE PARADISE is presented by special arrangement with Dramatists Play Service, Inc., New York.
Victory Gardens Theater
(Chay Yew, Artistic Director),
Chicago, Illinois, as part of
IGNITION Festival of New Plays 2016
New York City world premiere produced by
Dr. Barbara Ann Teer’s National Black Theatre
Harlem, NY, June 2017