SAN DIEGO–Cygnet Theatre closes its 15th season with the world premier of The Wind and The Breeze by New York based playwright Nathan Alan Davis.
This poetic, slice-of-life drama was the winner of the 2013 Lorraine Hansberry Award and part of The Bill and Judy Garrett Finish Line Commission in 2016, where it moved audiences with its humanity and humor.
Cygnet’s production is directed by Rob Lutfy and runs May 16 through June 10.
Meet Sam. He is the legendary, undisputed, greatest emcee in Rockford, Illinois. Sam is waiting on a bridge for the Independence Day fireworks, but it is February and his closest friends need their hero. Sam is waiting on a sign, while his friends and their outsized dreams challenge him to a battle he can’t win. Sam is learning that love means letting go and that failure is in the eyes of the beholder.
The Wind and The Breeze explores the politics of place, the unspoken expectations of friendship and what happens when we choose to stand our ground on shifting sands.
“I love this play for its people; they feel like family. I fell in love with them back in 2012 when I was working at The John F Kennedy Center where Nathan was workshopping the play,” Director Rob Lutfy said. “Nathan and I became instant friends and his plays continue to captivate me. The Wind and the Breeze is perhaps his most realistic and his most subtle. The things I have grown to love about a Nathan Alan Davis play-lyricism, empathy for all people, transcendence, and search for a deeper truth-are all here. Nathan has written a meditation on change, acceptance and dreams.”
Since workshopping The Wind and the Breeze at Cygnet, Davis, a graduate of Juilliard’s Lila Acheson Wallace American Playwrights Program, has had increasing success as a playwright including Nat Turner in Jerusalem (NYTW, 2016; New York Magazine Critic’s Pick), and Dontrell, Who Kissed the Sea (NNPN Rolling World Premiere, 2015, Los Angeles Times Critic’s Choice, Steinberg/ATCA New Play Citation). Most recently, Davis received the prestigious Whiting Award ($50,000), which recognizes emerging writers based on the criteria of early-career achievement and the promise of superior literary work to come. Past recipients of the award include August Wilson, Tony Kushner and Suzan-Lori Parks. The selection committee praised his work saying “Nathan Alan Davis is a genuine poet of the theatre, charting new territory for lyrical drama.”
“Every word matters in a Davis play, just as every word left unspoken. The central questions he is asking with The Wind and the Breeze are: What do you do when the world around you is changing in ways you aren’t ready for? What does being a role model mean? And what if you don’t want that responsibility? What if in order for your dream to come true all the people you love won’t be able to achieve their dreams?” Lutfy says.
Moving the crowd as legendary emcee Sam is Terrell Donnell Sledge. His faithful group of protégées include Cortez L. Johnson, Chaz Shermil, Nadia Guevara, and Demetrius Clayton. Rounding out the cast is Monique Gaffney as the no-nonsense police officer, Ronda.
The cast will be traveling to Milwaukee Repertory Theatre in April to workshop the play, a testament to how its message resonates with communities throughout the country.
The production features set design by Sean Fanning, costume design by Shirley Pierson, lighting design by Craig Wolf, and sound design by Steven Leffue. Dean Remington will stage manage.
Tickets can be purchased in person at the box office located at 4040 Twiggs St., by phone at (619) 337-1525, or by visiting www.cygnettheatre.com.