Genesis

This new play by Mercedes White is a reworking of her 2014 play Genesis, originally produced by the Definition Theatre Company at the Den Theatre in Chicago. Inspired by Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun, Genesis explores the origins of one of the most iconic characters in American theatre.

In the summer of 1919 things seem to be looking up for Walter and Lena Younger: they are settling into their new life in Chicago, Walter’s new job pays well, Lena is pregnant with their first child, and they are surrounded by good friends. However, their relationship is tested just as violent riots break across Chicago’s South Side. Amid the confusion and chaos, Lena and Walter must lean on friendships old and new to survive and find a way to reconnect before they lose each other for good.

Written as a prequel to A Raisin in the Sun, Genesis imagines Lena and Big Walter, early in their marriage, over a few pivotal days in the summer of 1919. The play takes place in tenement housing on Chicago’s South Side - the same home and neighborhood portrayed in A Raisin in the Sun.

playwright Mercedes White

Mercedes White was born and raised in a vibrant Mexican American community in Chicago. A biracial child of both African American and Mexican descent, she is an actress and playwright dedicated to inspiring change through theatre. She is a founding ensemble member of Definition Theatre Company. GENESIS is her first full-length play to be produced. Her other plays include The River Jordan, which had a public reading at Steppenwolf Theatre, Kindred, and The Space In Between.


director Mark Baer

Mark Baer is in his ninth year teaching Acting and Directing for Indiana University Northwest. In that time he has directed 13 productions including Sarah Ruhl’s Eurydice, Phillip Dawkins’ Failure: A Love Story, and Lisa Kron’s Well. Mark is co-founder and president of Gary Shakespeare Company with whom he has directed Twelfth Night, As You Like It, and Hamlet. He has also directed around the Midwest including A Streetcar Named Desire for St. Croix Festival Theatre, The Nightmare Room for Towle Theatre and Sweeney Todd for City Circle Acting Company. Mark is a member of the Society of American Fight Directors and the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society. He resides in Crown Point with his wife Kelly and daughter Samantha.

Walter Younger


Lena YoungerMercedes White

Mercedes White was born and raised in a vibrant Mexican American community in Chicago. A biracial child of both African American and Mexican descent, she is an actress and playwright dedicated to inspiring change through theatre. She is a founding ensemble member of Definition Theatre Company. GENESIS is her first full-length play to be produced. Her other plays include The River Jordan, which had a public reading at Steppenwolf Theatre, Kindred, and The Space In Between.


Yolanda Johnson Deandria Kelley


Tiffany Mia Godfrey

Mia Godfrey is super excited to do her third show and second staged reading at Theatre Northwest, where she has previously appeared as an ensemble member in Well, as Kristine Linde in A Doll House, and as an ensemble member in the staged reading of Burial at Thebes. She has also recently performed with Gary Shakespeare Company’s production of Othello as Senator and Lodovico. Mia is currently enrolled at Indiana University Northwest as a theatre major. A Raisin in the Sun will be her first play fulfilling a role behind the scenes.


Collin Grant Fitch


Red

ORIGIN STORY OF THE PLAY:

Mercedes White was inspired to write Genesis while understudying in Milwaukee Rep’s 2013 production of A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry. Struck by one of Mama’s lines where she reveals she almost lost her husband early in their marriage, White wanted to explore this particular moment, a turning point in a relationship that went on to leave such an important legacy. Genesis, inspired by the classic, is a poignant demonstration of true love conquering all (Unfolding Their Own Myth and an interview with the playwright).

WHAT THE PLAYWRIGHT SAYS ABOUT THE PLAY:

"Genesis is a tale of love, family, loss, and the intricacies of the existential roles we play in the lives of one another, absent of our full awareness. " ( High Concept Labs Info)