2013 Capital Fringe Show Preview: ‘Bayou Blues’ by Shaina Lynn

Growing up in New Orleans I’ve experienced a unique culture that can be foreign to the rest of America. How we eat, speak, and live is very specific in our culture. We call it “The Spirit of Louisiana.” And in New Orleans, that spirit is that magic you feel all around the city.


When I decided to do the Capital Fringe Festival as a solo artist I knew I had to share this magic. But I also knew I had to introduce a message of truth to the audience.

And now is the time for the world to hear the voice of a black girl from Bayou. For me, it’s time to liberate myself as an actress and define myself as an artist.

In Bayou Blues, I share my experience from the moment I heard Hurricane Katrina was coming until we finally decided to evacuate. I had just started the 11th grade. Writing the show, I carry the voice of some young people in my city. I’ve also written monologues based on the true experiences of friends and family that stayed. One friend, who was younger than me, told me a very graphic story of her experience in the city during the storm.

I’m excited to premiere this production at Jin Lounge. This non-traditional theatrical space allows the audience to experience and not just observe. The setting is very true to a New Orleans’ Blues club. If you were in New Orleans at the House of Blues you would have the performance atmosphere that I’m creating – people enjoying a live show with drinks in hand, ready to party.

The fuse of art forms is also excited. I share my story using elements of music and poetry and other artistic avenues. I’m working with producers TexEscargot and New Orleans’ own The Howard Boy. DJ Amen Ra will be spending on the 1s and 2s during the entire show. Some of my performances are actual experiences for the audience to partake in. I’m taking them to the Mardi Gras, the DJ, and the Second line. The show is a series of monologues, poetry, stories, and music.

It’s been a full out hands on experience creating this piece. Everything from the script to the costumes are all extensions of my expression.

Writing this, I’ve discovered a lot about my family heritage. My great great great grandmother was what we call a Black Indian and former slave. She was a bitter woman whose anger drove my great grandmother to run away to New Orleans when she was only 14 years old. I also got a better understanding for what my mom went through growing up with an abusive father. I’ll mention some of these in the play but a lot of it helped shape how I tell my story.

Ultimately, writing this has given me insight on who I am. In rehearsals this has allowed me to trust my instinct more and be more vulnerable.

I really hope the audience is able to share the joy that my city brings. But I also hope they can connect with the humanity in my story. My “problems” or “issues” may not be theirs, but as human beings we all share the same emotions. I hope they feel my struggle and are empowered to reach further and higher than they ever imagined.


At Jin Lounge – 2017 14th Street NW, in Washington, DC METRO: U Street (Green/Yellow)


TUE 7/16 AT 8:00 PM
SAT 7/27 AT 8:00 PM


This production is presented as a part of the 2013 Capital Fringe Festival, a program of the Washington, DC non-profit Capital Fringe.



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