Created, written, and composed by Toshi Reagon and Bernice Johnson Reagon
Directed by Eric Ting
Based on the novels Parable of the Sower and Parable of the Talents
“Difficult to imagine a performance that could be more filmic, visceral or dramatic” – The National, UAE
Singer-songwriter-guitarist Toshi Reagon is a celebration of all that’s progressive and uplifting in American music. Written by Toshi in collaboration with her mother—iconic singer, scholar and activist Bernice Johnson Reagon—this powerful opera brings together 200 years of Black music to give life to Octavia E. Butler’s acclaimed science fiction novel, with revealing insights on gender, race and the future of human civilization. Co-commissioned by NYU Abu Dhabi.
Both evenings will be followed by talkbacks from the stage with different speakers. Alexis P. Gumbs, poet, scholar, and activist, will join us on Thursday, November 16, and Dr. Michelle Robinson from UNC’s Department of American Studies will join us on Friday, November 17. Please be sure to stay after the performances to hear the discussion!
Wednesday, November 15
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On the eve of the US premiere of Octavia E. Butler’s Parable of the Sower, join powerhouse activist and musician (and co-creator of the opera) Toshi Reagon and poet, scholar, and activist Alexis P. Gumbs to discuss the impact and importance of Parable of the Sower and Octavia E. Butler’s work at large, which has been cited as influencing artists from Kara Walker to Beyoncé. UNC’s Danielle Spurlock will be moderating.
Come engage in what is sure to be a lively and moving discussion about the books’ messages about race, gender, and the future, and how they have factored into Toshi and Alexis’s work as artists, activists, and community members.
Friday, November 17
Pamela Heavner Gallery, Memorial Hall
Join Dr. Priscilla Layne from the Department of Germanic & Slavic Languages & Literature for a seminar on Afrofuturism, Black Optimism, and Afropessimism.
Moderator Sarah Long will lead this gathering at longtime community hub Beyù Caffè and offer her perspective on Parable of the Sower and how it’s informed her own work in environmental science and city planning.
Author and associate professor in the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies at UNC-Chapel Hill Michele Tracy Berger will lead this talk with her colleague Lilly U. Nguyen, with insights on how Butler’s work has propelled their own, and how it can relate to, inform, and inspire other lives.
Andrea and Michael Shindler in Memory of UNC Classmate Alan Landis