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Actress uses play as response to negative images of urban America

Loyola press release - February 6, 2015

Actress and writer Margaret Laurena Kemp has noted that low-income, urban America is alternately glamorized in music videos and demonized in the news as "the hood" or "the ghetto." But, she says, there is no real discussion about why that is or about creating a sustainable future for such communities.

In response, Kemp wrote "Confluence…formerly entitled A Negro Speaks of Rivers,” a theatrical play which examines the intersections between race, land and water in the urban U.S. Kemp, best known for her roles in the Hollywood films "Children of God," "The Shangri-la Cafe" and "The Postwoman," will perform her work at Loyola University New Orleans on Wednesday, Feb. 11 at 6:30 p.m. in Nunemaker Hall as part of the Biever Lecture Series. It is free and open to the public.

Set against the back-drop of raging urban arson fires and the grass roots revitalization of the Los Angeles River, the one hour and 10 minute play explores the roots of racial segregation by examining the impact of urban development between 1962 and 1978 on members of Kemp's own Afro-Caribbean immigrant community located in Dorchester and Roxbury, Massachusetts. Through spoken word, movement, cante singing and video, the under-heard voices of community, myth and the natural world come to life dramatizing the intersections between race, land and water in the urban U.S.

"It seeks to entertain as well as to give voice to previously unheard voices," said Artemis Preeshl, associate professor of theatre arts and dance.

"Confluence" has previously been performed in Los Angeles, South Africa and in Greece.

For more information, contact Preeshl at aspreesh@loyno.edu.