Maryland’s AngelWing Project takes audiences to Beale Street

A 1950's family drama, the play follows two Black cousins from Mississippi who struggle to make a life for themselves in spite of secrets threatening to invade and interrupt their peace.

The AngelWing Project, a Theater in Residence at Chesapeake Arts Center in Brooklyn Park, MD, presents Clay’s Place: Inside My Blue Mind on October 23rd and 24th, with a Live Stream on the 23rd at 6 PM. This exhilarating new play written and directed by Angela Wilson transports audiences to Beale Street in 1956 Memphis. Black people were still reeling from the tragic murder of Emmett Till just a year earlier in neighboring Mississippi. The perversities of Jim Crow, lynching, segregation, disenfranchisement had deep roots in the Cotton Capital. Memphis was full of working poor Black people who, without education, who were relegated to working the most dangerous, dirtiest and hazardous jobs.

Beale was the Soul of Memphis, with black-owned shops, stores, and a carnival atmosphere coupled with an indulgent nightlife that seduced many to engage in their clandestine vices. Lounges, clubs, gambling, prostitution and incredible music; boogie-woogie and especially the blues; Beale had an allure that was hard to resist. Cousins Clay Carter and Turner Davis are born in the lower Mississippi Delta, and as teens they hop a train, aiming to leave the deceptive, one-sided sharecropping system in search of a better life. Chicago was the goal, but 240 miles from Greenville, MS was as far as they made it.

Hustlers by nature, hanging out on Beale became second nature to Clay and Turner’s enterprising personalities. But after narrowly escaping death or imprisonment – and as relationships became a part of their lives, the desire to “go legit” set in. But how can they resist the allure and charm of the life they knew for so long? Could they achieve success in a society that despised them because they were Black men? They were willing to give their best effort to the cause, except for the fact that limited choices were blemished by secrets of the past and present that threatened to invade, and interrupt their chances at realizing their dreams. Could they rationally fathom real and true righteousness? Clay and Turner would be tested, tempted and tormented; both with their own individual secrets that would either destroy them or deliver them.

The dynamic cast includes Robert Smith, Evan Carrington, Nefertari Rasaq, Starr Hill, Kike Ayodeji, Joshua Street, Katana Pressley, Garrett Matthews, Vincent Stovall, Khalil Alston, Reginald Baskerville and Aaron Keith Ward.

About AngelWing Project: AngelWing Project, Inc. (AWP) is a 501(c)3 non-profit performing arts organization founded by Angela Wilson in 2015 to promote the development of the performing arts in the local community. AWP is the theater in residence at the Chesapeake Arts Center.


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