What to Know
- "Kwanzaa: A Celebration of Unity" premieres Dec. 26 at 3 p.m. via Zoom
- Watch Dec. 27, 2021 through Jan. 1, 2022 on the theater's YouTube channel
- Free, but "a voluntary $10 donation will be gratefully accepted"
Finding ways to joyfully unite in the spirit of Kwanzaa in both 2020 and 2021 has meant creating fresh routes to holiday togetherness, even if that togetherness can't quite happen as it has in the past.
A celebratory motorcade took place at Leimert Park in December 2020, while other cultural destinations around Southern California, including the California African American Museum, the Fowler Museum at UCLA, and the Aquarium of the Pacific, offered virtual craft-making sessions and family-sweet storytimes, the sorts of delightful doings that could be enjoyed at home.
December 2021 is also seeing new ways to honor the holiday in response to the pandemic, with online happenings giving people, wherever they happen to be, the opportunity to participate in the hallowed festival, an ebullient event that was "... inspired by African harvest festivals and created by Dr. Maulana Karenga, chair of Africana Studies at Cal State Long Beach."
The Robey Theatre Company will offer that be-together-from-afar opportunity over the final week of December 2021, and the first day of 2022, with the premiere of "Kwanzaa: A Celebration of Unity" by playwrights Marie Y. Lemelle and Barbara Bullen.
Ben Guillory, who co-founded The Robey Theatre Company and serves as its Producing Artistic Director, is the play's director and dramaturge.
The story draws timely inspiration from our lives over the last two years, with the central figure of Dr. Agu, an American Black Studies professor, experiencing a pandemic lockdown in Ghana, where he has traveled "to trace his own ancestral roots."
The professor will continue to teach via Zoom during the pandemic, exploring the Seven Principles of Kwanzaa with his students back in the United States. Several "surprises" unfold during the moving play as the characters ponder the principles as "a blueprint for living a responsible, productive, and ethical life."
The Dec. 26 premiere will take place at 3 p.m., but you can also view the play via The Robey Theatre Company's YouTube Channel from Dec. 27, 2021 through Jan. 1, 2022.
The holiday is traditionally observed from Dec. 26 through Jan. 1 each year.
"Kwanzaa: A Celebration of Unity" is free to see, but a $10 donation "... will be gratefully accepted."
For more on DTLA-based company, its mission, and what supporters can expect on the upcoming calendar, visit The Robey Theatre Company site now.