can i touch it?

UPCOMING PRODUCTION | SEASON 23

A National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere

can i touch it?

by Francisca Da Silveira

directed by Summer L. Williams

dramaturgy by Afrikah Smith

in partnership with the
City of Boston’s Office of Arts and Culture

Jul 22 - Aug 13, 2022

The Strand Theatre (543 Columbia Road, Dorchester)

All tickets are Pay-What-You-Want, with $0 minimum!

ABOUT THE PRODUCTION

Shay Solomon is many things — a business owner, a single mom, a community leader — but there’s one thing she’s definitely not: a pawn in Patron Bank’s efforts to buy up foreclosed real estate in Roxbury and Dorchester. At risk of losing her beauty supply store to the bank, she’s caught between the personal fight for her family’s livelihood and the systemic fight against gentrification. When pushed to her limits, Shay finds herself in the fantastical, peaceful place women of color have to recede into when they get asked stupid ass questions. 

A hyper-local conversation-starter by Boston’s own Francisca Da Silveira, can i touch it? examines Black hair politics, the racial inequities faced by Black-owned businesses, and the tangled web of approaches necessary to create real social change.

Masking and Vaccination Protocols

Masking 
In order to keep our artists and audiences safe, everyone is required to wear a well-fitted mask that fully covers their nose and mouth at all times during this production. We strongly recommend wearing an N95, KN95, or KF94 mask, or double-masking. The only exception to this requirement is for performers while performing.

Vaccination Requirements

  • Visitors must present proof of full vaccination (two doses of either Pfizer or Moderna, or one dose of J&J). Booster doses are highly recommended.
  • Visitors ineligible for vaccination, or unable to present proof of vaccination, must take a rapid test to enter the theater.

Need to take a test to see the show? 

  • A limited number of rapid tests will be available for purchase at the door for $5 each. 
  • When reserving your ticket, be sure to click the checkbox “I anticipate needing a test at the door.”
  • Rapid tests take at least 15 minutes. Please be sure to arrive 30 minutes before curtain so that you don’t miss the start of the show! 
  • Patrons will administer rapid tests themselves,with a theatre staff member on hand to observe, time the test, and let the patron know when they are able to enter the theatre.
  • In order to make sure negative results are as recent as possible, photos of test results will not be accepted in lieu of testing on-site.

If you can’t join us in person, don’t worry – we are working to make sure a video recording of the production will be available to stream soon!

Protocols are subject to change.

 

Press and Buzz

Producing Partners

AMPLIFYING ACTION

Company One Theatre is producing
can i touch it? to AMPLIFY:

  • community-centered development and affordable housing as paths to address gentrification in Boston’s historically BIPOC neighborhoods, including Uphams, Nubian Square, and Roxbury.

  • the organizations and activists whose work sustains the wellbeing, culture, and small economies of these same neighborhoods.

  • the CROWN Act, which bans race-based hairstyle discrimination in the workplace and in schools, as part of the ongoing fight against policing of Black women’s bodies and behavior.

  • the unapologetic, politically-comedic voice of Boston-raised, Cape Verdean-American playwright Francisca Da Silveira, whose work is being supported by the National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere program.

  • [local narratives] + [local artists] + [city-owned cultural spaces] = vital, neighborhood-based public art for all.

RESOURCES & ACTION STEPS

  • Check back closer to the production for a list of resources and action steps!

RELATED EVENTS

Saturday, July 9 at 11am

BRANCH OUT WITH C1

Our Hair, Our Crowns: Black Hair in the Frame

featuring Wee the People

Boston Public Library,
Roxbury Branch

Comics in Color

Friday, July 29 at 10am

Student Matinee

Do you have a student group who would be interested in joining us for the show?

Please note that this “can i touch it?” student matinee is recommended for students in grades 8-12.

Louis D Brown Peace Institute

Friday, August 5
6pm Pre-Show Event

Teen Night Out

C1’s Teen Night Out event brings together teens from across the city to experience the play can i touch it? in community at the Strand Theater, while considering how theatre can be utilized as a tool for social change in your own communities.

Saturday, August 6 at 1pm

BRANCH OUT WITH C1

Our Hair, Our Crowns: Black Hair in the Frame

featuring Leela Yoga + Wellness Founder Marlene Boyette 

Dewey Square Plaza on The Rose Kennedy Greenway (583 Atlantic Ave, Boston)

RSVP coming soon!

ABOUT THE TEAM

CAST

Schanaya Barrows

Schanaya Barrows

Meeka/Beth

Chris Everett

Chris Everett

Shay

Jada Saintlouis

Jada Saintlouis

Ruth/Lili

Mark W Soucy*

Mark W Soucy*

Mark/Nicky/Leo

PLAYWRIGHT AND PRODUCTION TEAM

Francisca Da Silveira, Playwright

Summer L. Williams, Director

Afrikah Smith, Dramaturg

Ilana M Brownstein, Supervising Dramaturg / NNPN Rolling World Premiere Manager

Cristina Todesco^, Scenic Designer

Eun Jeong Paik, Assistant Scenic Designer

Cassandra Queen, Costume and Wig Designer

Ashley Cooper, Assistant Costume and Wig Designer

Chris Brusberg, Lighting Designer

Anna Drummond, Sound Designer

Tory Hermann, Props Master

Jolie Frazer-Madge, Production Stage Manager

Liz Diamond, Rehearsal Stage Manager / Assistant Stage Manager

Makenzie Wright, Assistant Stage Manager

Ben Lieberson, Technical Director

Josh Glenn-Kayden, Artistic Producer

BIOS

Schanaya Barrows

Schanaya Barrows (she/her) is excited to be making her Company One debut! She graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in performance with a minor in dance at Salem State University 2021. Her recent credits include The Colored Museum (Hair desinger) by Pascale Florestal at The Umbrella Arts Center, Once on This Island (Hair Desinger) by Pascale Florestal at SpeakEasy Stage, Dream Love Escape by Kate Kohler Amory as (Helena, Peter Quince, Choreographer) The Ridiculous Project, Machinal by Sophie Tredwell (Adding clerk, Lawyer of Defense, Reporter, Bridesmaid, Choreographer) Salem State University.The Long Christmas Ride Home by Paula Vogel (choreographer),, Much A Do About Nothing by William Shakespeare (Choreographer), Bedroom Farce by Alan Ayckbourn (Female swing, Fight Captain)Gunplay:A play about America by Frank Higgins (George Washington, Shante Johnson,Lois Milberger, Woman, Announcer), Ragtime by Terrence McNally (Sarah’s Friend, Harlem Ensemble, Dance Captain), Poison of Choice by William Cunningham (Haley/Chavez) Salem State University.A Freeman of Color by John Guare (Melpomene, Leda, Margery Understudy, Dance ensemble) Salem State University, Awards: Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival Region 1 Irene Ryan Best Scene Partner (2019), Merit Nomination for best ensemble (Ragtime). Irene Ryan Nominee Kennedy Center College Theatre Festival (2019)

Chris Everett

Chris Everett (she/her), born and raised in Boston, is an actor, singer, and audiobook narrator. Recent theater credits include, ONWARD: Votes for Women (Birch Tree Productions), in November 2021, her first live performance following the shutdown in March of 2020. Prior to the shutdown, Chris worked on Christmas Revels: An American Celebration (Revels), The House that will not Stand (Front Porch Collaborative); ‘How Long Must We Wait?” (History At Play), and Romeo & Juliet (Commonwealth Shakespeare Company). She has also been an actor / educator with Improbable Players (now 2nd Act) for more than 20 years. During the pandemic, Chris was fortunate to work on virtual productions and / or readings with CompanyOne, Birch Tree Productions, Zoom Shakespeare, and Newton Nomadic Theater. For the past 21 years, Chris has worked primarily in television and film. Television: “Chasing Life”, “SMILF”, and “Castle Rock”. Film: About Fate (in post-production), I Care A Lot (Netflix), Godmothered (Disney+), TED, R.I.P.D. and the recently released Don’t Look Up, with Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence (released 12/24/21).

Jada Saintlouis

Jada Saintlouis (she/her) is making their Company One Theatre debut! Jada, a theatre student Northeastern University paves her way. Performing locally around the greater Boston area for several years, she continues to explore new artistic experiences. Recent credits include: Dee in Ladies Night at the Boston Playwrights Theatre. Detox counselor, ensemble member in Northeastern university production of This is Treatment. She is passionate about artist activism and plans to continue to engage in work for change.

Mark W Soucy*

Mark W. Soucy* (He/Him/His) is making his Company One Theatre debut. Recent credits include: Capital Repertory Theatre (Albany, NY) in Lobby Hero (Bill) and The Royale (Max); Actors’ Shakespeare Project in Much Ado About Nothing (Leonato); Merrimack Repertory Theatre in The Royale (Max – IRNE Award, Best Supporting Actor); Commonwealth Shakespeare Company in Romeo and Juliet (Lord Montague), The Boys from Syracuse (Aegean), Love’s Labour’s Lost (Sir Nathaniel), and King Lear (Albany); and Wheelock Family Theatre in Beauty and the Beast (Monsieur D’Arque) and Billy Elliot: The Musical (Mr. Wilkerson). Other past roles include The Elephant Man (John Merrick), The Real Inspector Hound (Moon), and The Dresser (Norman). Mark lives in Wilmington, MA with his wife Jennifer and child Finn.

Francisca Da Silveira

Francisca Da Silveira is a Cape Verdean-American playwright and Boston native who holds a BFA in Dramatic Writing from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and an MSc in Playwriting from the University of Edinburgh. She has been featured in ArtsBoston, The LA Times and American Theatre Magazine. Her plays have been developed with Theatre503 (London), The Traverse Theatre (Edinburgh), Company One Theatre (Boston), The Fire This Time Festival (New York), The Playwrights Realm (New York), The Public Theater (New York) and La Jolla Playhouse (San Diego). Fran’s play NOT-FOR-PROFIT (OR THE EQUITY, DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION PLAY) was featured in The Playwrights’ Realm’s INK’D Festival in April 2021 and in La Jolla Playhouse’s DNA New Works Series in July 2021. Her play CAN I TOUCH IT? was featured in the National New Play Network’s 2020 National Showcase of New Plays in November 2020 and will receive a World Premiere production at Company One Theatre in July 2022. Fran was a 2020-2021 Playwrights Realm Writing Fellow and is currently a member of The Public Theater’s 2020-2023 Emerging Writers Group and a 2022-2023 Jerome Fellow with the Playwrights’ Center. She is working on commissions from the University of Virginia’s Drama Department and Brooklyn-based theater Colt Coeur Theatre.

Fran gives special shoutouts to TC Squared Theatre Company, Fresh Ink Theatre, Flat Earth Theatre and Company One for always supporting her playwriting and dramaturgical work while in Boston!

 

Summer L. Williams

Summer L. Williams (she/her/hers) is an award-winning director and Co-Founder/Associate Artistic Director of Company One Theatre in Boston. Her most recent directing credits include sandblasted by Charly Evon Simpson with Vineyard Theatre and WP Theater, Off-Broadway, The Arboretum Experience at American Repertory Theater (A.R.T), Daddy Issues at Salt Lake City Acting Company New Play Sounding Series, and the Digital World Premiere of Downtown Crossing at Company One Theatre. 

Regional credits: Wolf Play at Company One Theatre, School Girls, or The African Mean Girls Play at SpeakEasy Stage Company, Miss You Like Hell with Company One Theatre and OBERON at American Repertory Theater, the World Premiere of Leftovers at Company One Theatre, Wig Out! with Company One and OBERON at A.R.T.; Smart People at Kitchen Theatre Company in Ithaca, NY and Geva Theater in Rochester, NY; Barbecue at Lyric Stage Company of Boston—Winner of the 2018 Elliot Norton Award for Outstanding Director; Revolt. She Said. Revolt Again. at Company One Theatre; Bootycandy at SpeakEasy Stage Company; An Octoroon and Colossal with Company One Theatre—Winner of the 2016 Elliot Norton Award for Outstanding Director for both productions. Intimate Apparel at Lyric Stage Company of Boston; Shiv as a part of The Displaced Hindu Gods Trilogy; Shelter of Last Resort by Miranda Craigwell as a part of XX PlayLab 2014; the New England Premiere of Jackie Sibblies Drury’s We Are Proud To Present A Presentation About The Herero Of Namibia, Formerly Known As Southwest Africa From The German Sudwestafrika Between The Years 1884-1915; Idris Goodwin’s How We Got On; Lynn Nottage’s By The Way, Meet Vera Stark at the Lyric Stage Company of Boston; The Brothers Size and Marcus; Or The Secret Of Sweet as part of The Brother/Sister Plays (2012 Elliot Norton Award nominated for Outstanding Production and winner of the 2012 IRNE Award for Best Play); Neighbors, Grimm; The Good Negro; Voyeurs De Venus (Winner of 2009 Elliot Norton Award for Outstanding Director); The Bluest Eye (IRNE and Elliot Norton Award nominated); The Last Days Of Judas Iscariot; Spell #7 (IRNE nominated); Jesus Hopped The A Train (2004 Elliot Norton Award for Best Fringe Production); and Twilight: Los Angeles 1992 (IRNE nominated).

Afrikah Smith

Afrikah Smith (they/them) is a Queer, Black multi-hyphenate cultural worker based in Boston, MA, working in dramaturgy, arts criticism, and new work development. Their work centers community, identity, and dialogue, often experimenting with devised, adaptation, and ritualistic theatre processes. A third culture kid born & raised by military parents, Afrikah has grown up with the value and mission of expanding worldviews and creating change through performance art. They are dedicated to uplifting the voices and stories of communities marginalized by white supremacy, with thoughtfulness, empathy, and care. They are an alum of the BIPOC Critics Lab and the Front Porch Arts Collective’s Young Critics Program. Currently, they serve as the New Work Producer at Company One Theatre, whose mission is to build community at the intersection of art and social change.

 

Ilana M Brownstein

Ilana M Brownstein (she/her) is the Director of New Work at C1, and a parent-artist specializing in new plays, social justice, and public advocacy. She is the Founding Dramaturg at Playwrights’ Commons. Previously, she created the Playwriting Fellows program and Breaking Ground Festival at The Huntington; led the dramatic literature and dramaturgy curriculum at Boston University for 10 years; and has served as a freelance dramaturg for new play festivals, including The O’Neill, New Harmony, and the Kennedy Center among others. Dramaturgy with C1 includes works by Kirsten Greenidge, Jackie Sibblies Drury, Young Jean Lee, Aditi Kapil, Natsu Onoda Power, Lauren Yee, Mia Chung, Tarell Alvin McCraney, Josh Wilder, Kristoffer Diaz, A. Rey Pamatmat, Qui Nguyen, and Idris Goodwin. She is the senior dramaturg for the C1 PlayLab program, which has provided script and professional development to 60+ playwrights over 11 seasons. She is a member of the 2019 NAS Creative Community Fellows Cohort, artEquity’s 2017 anti-racism facilitator cohort, and holds an MFA in Dramaturgy from Yale. Ilana has been a Kilroys nominator, served on the National Advisory Board for HowlRound, and is a two-time winner of the LMDA Elliott Hayes Award for excellence in dramaturgy. imbturgy.wordpress.com

 

Anna Drummond

Anna Drummond (they/she) is a freelance sound designer specializing in live theatre, podcasting, and audiobooks. They have worked within the New England area for both professional theatre companies and educational institutions, including SpeakEasy (BLKS, Pass Over), Company One (Leftovers), The Huntington (Dream Boston: 3 Miles), Trinity Repertory & Brown University (Eurydice, Prowess), Berklee College of Music (Everybody, Machinal), Northeastern University (Deferred), & Emerson College (In The Red & Brown Water, Alchemy of Desire/Dead Man’s Blues, We Are PussyRiot, Into The Woods, The Hobbit, etc.) Anna holds a BA with Honors in Sound Design/Audio Post-Production from Emerson College. Many thanks to Monica for this incredible opportunity and congrats to the entire team! Much love also to Dyl, Eleanor, Bridgette, Ally, & Court for everything, always. 

 

Jolie Frazer-Madge

Jolie Frazer-Madge (she/her) is excited to be returning to Company One after working as an Assistant Stage Manager on Greater Good in 2019. Jolie a stage manager, theater artist, and collaborator with a particular interest in new work, devised pieces, immersive theatre, and really anything else that people might consider “impossible”. She holds a BFA in Stage Management with a Concentration in Playwriting/Dramaturgy and a minor in Political Science from Boston University. Credits include Once on This Island (ASM, SpeakEasy Stage Company), Romeo and Juliet (Stage Manager, Apollinaire), and Winter People (ASM, Boston Playwrights Theatre).

Liz Diamond

Liz is incredibly excited to be working on their second production this Spring with Company One. They previously worked on Black Super Hero Magic Mama and on several shows with the UMass Amherst Theater Department. They are profoundly grateful for their friends and family who have supported them in all these adventures.

Makenzie Wright

Makenzie Wright (they/them) is excited to be a part of their first show with Company One Theatre, and in Boston! Their favorite stage management credits to date include Macbeth (Foul Contending Rebels Theatre Cooperative) and Popcorn Falls (Vermont Stage).

*Member of Actors’ Equity Association

^ Member of United Scenic Artists, Local USA 829

 

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