Grits Entertainment, LLC announces the filming of MARY SPEAKS, Angela Polite’s one-woman play with music inspired by The Black Lives Matter Movement.
The Equity-approved production was filmed without an audience on May 23, 2021, two days before the one-year anniversary of the murder of George Floyd. Mary Speaks draws parallels between Floyd’s death and the death of other black men to that of the crucified Christ. When theaters shut down last year, Ms. Polite reconceived the show into a 50-minute version with two original songs. Her company Grits Entertainment plans to partner with theaters around the country to exhibit the performance online and spark discussion in local communities.
“Mary Speaks takes the life of Mary, the mother of Jesus, and uses it to explore the history of black mothers and the loss of their sons,” Polite says. “Mother Mary becomes a prototype for the struggle of black mothers to raise and keep their sons alive in a society where their very existence is seen as a threat. Black mothers have experienced that ‘foot of the cross’ moment throughout history. It is time to recognize the struggle and pain that comes with raising a black son in America,” says playwright and actor, Angela Polite.
Polite presents Mary not just as a metaphor but seeks to re-imagine her as a real person at different moments in history when mothers face loss. “I play her as an African-American woman,” Polite says. “This is the story of Mary told through the African-American experience, coming out of slavery, into the lynching years, the fifties, the sixties, and into the present day. We see Mary as these different women throughout the timeline of the African-American experience.”
Ms. Polite’s credits include A Christmas Carol in Harlem, Emancipation (Classical Theatre of Harlem), Can You Hear Me Baby? (Berkshire Theater Festival), Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (The Kennedy Center), TV: GOTHAM, FBI, Blue Bloods.
Additional members of the creative team are Christopher Burris (director), Jeff Bolding (music direction, arrangements), Hans Charles (director of photography), Sabrina Bianca Guillaume (set and costume design), Carolina Ortiz (lighting design), Tiffany Rea-Fisher (movement coach), Erica Blunt (sound design), Francisco Aliwalas (editor), and Ada Zhang (stage manager). The production was filmed at The Sheen Center for Thought and Culture.
The filmed version of Mary Speaks is produced by Michael and Whit Cook, David and Anita Massengill, Brad Reeves, and MORE Partnerships, with Executive Producers Grits Entertainment, LLC and Julia Beardsley O’Brien.
Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer, award-winning filmmaker and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Bev’s Girl Films’ debut short film, Hide and Seek was a top ten film in the Asian American Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Competition, and she received a Best Actress nomination. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers, musicians and corporations. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman. She stars in and served as Executive Producer for the short independent films Hide and Seek, Balancing Act, Rom-Com Gone Wrong, Belongingness and When the World was Young (2021 DisOrient Film Audience Award for Best Short Narrative). She is also the Executive Producer for The Cactus, The Language Lesson, The Writer and Cream and 2 Shugahs.