"BLACK GOLD - the Passion of Aleijadinho," based on the life of Antonio Francisco Lisboa (1738-1814), Baroque sculptor of Brazil, will be shown in two featured performances at Shooting Star Theatre in South Street Seaport in December. Presented by NY Artists Unlimited and MTP-Montauk Theatre Productions, shows are Saturday, December 4, at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, December 5, at 3 p.m. "BLACK GOLD" is the dramatic account of a man born a slave and freed at birth by his Portuguese father, a master builder of churches. Winning Brazil's Grand Prize at the age of 18, Lisboa became the Michelangelo of his country. His life parallels the gold rush in the colonial cities and the development of Brazil in arts, religion and politics, reaching for independence from the Portuguese and its own identity.
Montauk Theatre Productions, founded in 1987, is a nonprofit organization focusing on the development of new talent and new works in the theatre arts. Its main operating venue is Shooting Star Theatre in South Street Seaport, operated by Bill and Anita Brown. NY Artists Unlimited is a 28 year old, nonprofit multicultural company that serves under-served audiences throughout the boroughs of NYC and remote regions of the Northeast. The focus is on original works that evoke dignity of the individual and sanctity of the human spirit. An audience of approximately 30,000 is reached annually in libraries, recreation centers, universities, schools, nursing homes, senior centers, and the like. They are supported in part by: NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, Fund for Creative Communities and the Manhattan Community Arts Fund of Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, A.R.T./New York, Puffin Foundation, corporate and individual donors. Artistic Director Melba LaRose is listed in Who's Who in America, Who's Who in the World, Who's Who of American Women, and Who's Who in Executives & Professionals.
The story is brought to life with music & dance (European classical mixed with African & indigenous tribal), mask work, puppetry, poetry, and video projections. An ensemble of non-traditionally cast actor-dancers reawaken the multicultural fusion and evolution of music and dance in which you can see the roots of Brazil's samba. In mid-life, Lisboa developed a wasting disease that robbed him of the use of most limbs. Still, it was at this point with carving tools strapped to his hands that he created his greatest work: the life-size, soapstone 12 Prophets that line the atrium of a church in Congonhas and the Steps of the Passion in cedar, housed in white chapels leading up to the same Church of Bom Jesus de Matosinhos.
Following the Seaport shows, “BLACK GOLD” goes on a tour to under-served audiences in libraries, schools, senior centers, and the like throughout the boroughs, plus a tour of Northeastern universities scheduled for spring. All performances are followed by in-depth discussions with the audience about this historical period and the experiences of this uniquely successful artist.
The piece is written by NY Artists Unlimited artistic director Melba LaRose (“Isaiah’s Dream – A Parade of Poets,” "Little Red - Girl from the Hood," "Ebony Black"), choreographed by Francis J. Roach, assisted by Namona Lewin, of Luigi's Jazz Centre, and costume designed by Frances Eldred. The stage manager is Blair Elizabeth Hotchner.
This is an intimate theatre space, so reservations are strongly recommended. Shooting Star Theatre, 40 Peck Slip (2 blocks north of Fulton St., between Front and South Streets), South Street Seaport. Admission $18.00. Saturday, December 4, at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, December 5, at 3 p.m. For reservations, directions, and further information: www.ShootingStarTheatre.org 646-825-1864; www.NYartists.org 212-242-6036; email: Info@ShootingStarTheatre.org or Info@NYartists.org.