The 2018 Wilma production, directed by Blanka Zizka, features
Avery Hannon, Anthony Martinez-Briggs, Brandon J. Pierce,
and Lindsay Smiling.
To support the ongoing Justice for George Floyd and Black Lives Matter movements, The Wilma Theater in Philadelphia will stream their 2018 production of James Ijames’ KILL MOVE PARADISE from today, June 8, 2020, to June 21, 2020, featuring members of the Wilma’s HotHouse Company. The play, a New York Times Critics Pick, and winner of the Whiting Award and the Kesselring Prize, is inspired by the ever growing list of slain unarmed Black people in America. 100% of the proceeds from the streaming event will benefit Black Lives Matter Philly.
“The streaming of this production of KILL MOVE PARADISE is an opportunity for us to use what we do best to raise awareness and money for Black Lives Matter Philly, which is working tirelessly towards transformative justice,” said playwright and Wilma Co-Artistic Director James Ijames. “This play contains a lot of pain, a lot of sorrow, but I hope it also offers my own community a space of healing and hope.”
Directed by Artistic Director Blanka Zizka during the Wilma’s 2018-19 season, KILL MOVE PARADISE tells the story of Isa (Lindsay Smiling), Daz (Brandon J. Pierce), Grif (Anthony Martinez-Briggs) and Tiny (Avery Hannon), four black men who find themselves stuck in a cosmic waiting room in the afterlife. The play depicts these men as symbols of life and hope. Gone but never forgotten, KILL MOVE PARADISE illustrates the possibilities of collective transformation and radical acts of joy.
To stream the production, virtual audience members will be asked to make a contribution of any size to Black Lives Matter Philly. Black Lives Matter was created by co-founders Patrisse Kahn-Cullors, Alicia Garza, and Opal Tometi, in response to Trayvon Martin’s murderer, George Zimmerman, being acquitted for his crime. It gained more traction On August 9, 2014, when Officer Darren Wilson murdered 18 year old Mike Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. That same summer, local Black activists and organizers in St. Louis issued a call for Black organizers, healers, artists, attorneys, and independent media folks to come to Ferguson to demand justice for Mike Brown. On August 28, a Northeast contingency of about 30 activists bused for 20 hours from New York City to Ferguson, Missouri for the Black Life Matters Freedom Ride. Months after the life-changing experience in Ferguson, BLM Northeast held their first of several meetings. Soon after, they began exploring more city-based meetings. In February of 2015, two of the original Ferguson Freedom Riders decided to form Philadelphia’s official chapter. Months later in May, BLM Philly held the first local chapter meeting at the St. Paul’s Baptist Church. Since then, the chapter has flourished and launched a number of initiatives, including letter campaigns, Black Joy and Healing circles, vigils, and forums.
For information, or to watch the streaming performance, please visit wilmatheater.org. Donations to Black Lives Matter Philly can be made here: https://tickets.wilmatheater.org/donate/i/killmoveparadise. Additionally, the Wilma will be sharing additional resources to support the movements, protests, and to educate audiences about anti-racism efforts.
Wilma Theater presents
KILL MOVE PARADISE
Streaming archived performance to benefit Black Lives Matter Philly
June 8, 2020-June 21, 2020
Avery Hannon (Tiny) is an actor and musician who made his professional debut at age 12 as ‘Young Troy’ at the Arden Theatre’s Barrymore-nominated production of Gypsy. Avery is a theater major at the Burlington County Institute of Technology and has performed locally in productions of The Miracle Worker, Mary Poppins Jr., High School Musical Jr., Once on This Island Jr., Into the Woods Jr., James and the Giant Peach Jr., The Wizard of Oz Jr., and The Little Mermaid Jr. He is grateful for his training at MainStage Center for the Arts and his family who support his career.
Anthony Martinez-Briggs (Grif) is a collaborative spirit grateful to be working yet again with Blanka at the Wilma. He is a Resident Artist with the Wilma HotHouse, teaching artist (Philadelphia Young Playwrights, Wilma Theater, Village of Arts and Humanities), actor (Recent: Describe the Night, Passing Strange, Adapt!, When The Rain Stops Falling [Barrymore Best Ensemble] at the Wilma), social justice advocate, writer, director, sound designer (Recent: Bienvenidos Blancos with Team Sunshine Corp) and proud member of the band ILL DOOTS. ILL DOOTS has been seen on stage at The Wilma Theater in An Octoroon and in Flashpoint Theater’s Hands Up: 6 testaments, 6 playwrights (Barrymore for Original Music). ILL DOOTS recently released their long-awaited self titled debut album available on online music platforms. Find the album and more info about ILL DOOTS at www.ILLDOOTS.com.
Brandon J. Pierce (Daz) was thrilled to make his Wilma debut in Kill Move Paradise! Off-Broadway: Exit Strategy (Primary Stages). Regional: Welcome to Fear City (KC Rep); Shakespeare in Love, Richard II, Troilus and Cressida, The Taming of the Shrew (PA Shakespeare Festival); A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Metamorphoses, Peter Pan, Charlotte’s Web (Arden Theatre Company); The City of Conversation (Delaware Theater Company); Dutch Masters (Azuka Theatre); Comedy of Errors, Romeo and Juliet (Shakespeare LIVE! – The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey); Fair Maid of the West (Philadelphia Artists’ Collective). Education: BFA University of the Arts.
Lindsay Smiling (Isa) has recently appeared in Kill Move Paradise, Mr. Burns, a post-electric play, and Passage at the Wilma. Mr. Smiling has performed Off-Broadway and at many regional theaters including: InterAct, Arden Theatre Co., Shakespeare Theatre of NJ, Theatre Exile, Philadelphia Theatre Company, Milwaukee Rep., Syracuse Stage, Walnut Street Theatre, People’s Light, Pittsburgh Public, Two River Theatre, Victory Gardens, ACT, Dorset Theater Festival, Human Race Theatre, Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, Illinois Shakespeare Festival, Mixed Blood Theater, Bristol Riverside Theatre, Ensemble Studio Theater, Lantern Theater Co, and Shakespeare on the Sound. He is a proud Wilma HotHouse Company member. www.lindsaysmiling.net.
Blanka Zizka (Director/Wilma Co-Artistic Director) has been Artistic Director of The Wilma Theater since 1981. In January 2016, The Vilcek Foundation announced Zizka as recipient of the Vilcek Prize, which is awarded annually to immigrants who have made lasting contributions to American society through their extraordinary achievements in biomedical research and the arts and humanities. She received the Zelda Fichandler Award from the Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation in 2011, and was a Fellow at the 2015 Sundance Institute/LUMA Foundation Theatre Directors Retreat. For the past six years, she has been developing practices and programs for local theater artists to create working conditions that support creativity through continuity and experimentation.
She has directed over 70 plays and musicals at the Wilma. Most recently, Blanka directed Describe the Night, There, Romeo and Juliet, When The Rain Stops Falling, Tom Stoppard’s U.S. premiere of The Hard Problem, Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead, Hamlet, Paula Vogel’s world premiere Don Juan Comes Home from Iraq, Richard Bean’s Under the Whaleback, Tony Kushner’s Angels in America, Tadeusz Słobodzianek’s Our Class, Sarah Ruhl’s In the Next Room, and Macbeth, which included an original score by Czech composer and percussionist Pavel Fajt. Her recent favorite productions are Wajdi Mouawad’s Scorched, Tom Stoppard’s The Invention of Love and Rock ’n’ Roll, Sarah Ruhl’s Eurydice (which featured an original score by composer Toby Twining, now available from Cantaloupe Records), Brecht’s The Life of Galileo, Athol Fugard’s Coming Home and My Children! My Africa!, and Caryl Churchill’s Cloud 9. She collaborated closely with Dael Orlandersmith on her plays Raw Boys and Yellowman, which was co-produced by McCarter Theatre and the Wilma and performed at ACT Seattle, Long Wharf, and Manhattan Theatre Club. Blanka was also privileged to direct Rosemary Harris and John Cullum in Ariel Dorfman’s The Other Side at MTC. For the Academy of Vocal Arts, she directed the opera Kát’a Kabanová by Leoš Janácek. She has collaborated with many playwrights including Paula Vogel, Richard Bean, Yussef El Guindi, Doug Wright, Sarah Ruhl, Tom Stoppard, Linda Griffiths, Polly Pen, Dael Orlandersmith, Laurence Klavan, Lillian Groag, Jason Sherman, Amy Freed, Robert Sherwood, and Chay Yew.
James Ijames (Playwright/Wilma Co-Artistic Director) is a Philadelphia-based performer and playwright. He has appeared regionally in productions at The Arden Theatre Company, The Philadelphia Theatre Company, InterAct Theatre Company, The Wilma Theater, Baltimore Center Stage, Mauckingbird Theatre Company, and People’s Light. James’ plays have been produced by Flashpoint Theater Company, Orbiter 3, Theatre Horizon, Wilma Theater (Philadelphia, PA), The National Black Theatre (NYC), Steppenwolf Theatre, Definition Theatre (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 he has two Barrymore Awards for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Play for Superior Donuts and Angels in America 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 and a 2019 Kesselring Prize for Kill Move Paradise. James is 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 is Assistant Professor of Theatre at Villanova University and resides in South Philadelphia.