ON THE BRINK Reading Series: Citizen by Claudia Rankine

Spring 2021 ON THE BRINK Reading Series
Curated by Professor Saffron Henke

What have we learned from 2020? How do we as theatre artists respond to this moment?

These are multifaceted times we are facing, not just in terms of the political, social and cultural upheavals that 2020 brought upon us, but also the challenges the pandemic has brought to live performance as well. In response, this Spring, the Colorado State University Theatre Department will begin a series of readings of new works addressing the hot topic themes of our times – issues that have pushed our culture to the brink…and that reveal whole new worlds of possibilities. A collaboration of professional theatre artists, faculty members, current students and CSU alumni, On the Brink will explore works representing a variety of underrepresented voices and perspectives.

Citizen by Claudia Rankine

7:30pm-9:00pm Reading
9:00pm Facilitated post-reading discussion
Director: Aisha Kabia
Post Show Discussion Facilitator: Fleurette King

Claudia Rankine’s bold new book is CSU’s Common Read for 2020-21. Citizen recounts mounting racial aggressions in ongoing encounters in twenty-first-century daily life and in the media. Some of these encounters are slights, seeming slips of the tongue, and some are intentional offensives in the classroom, at the supermarket, at home, on the tennis court with Serena Williams and the soccer field with Zinedine Zidane, online, on TV-everywhere, all the time. The accumulative stresses come to bear on people of color’s ability to speak, perform, and stay alive. Our addressability is tied to the state of our belonging, Rankine argues, as are our assumptions and expectations of citizenship. In essay, image, and poetry, Citizen is a powerful testament to the individual and collective effects of racism in America.

Reading Link Here

Director and guest performer: 
Aisha Kabia promotional photoAisha Kabia Is an actress and director working and living in Los Angeles, CA.  In Nine Seasons with Independent Shakespeare Company:  Thaisa in ‘PERICLES’, Titania in ‘A MIDSUMMER NIGHTS DREAM’ Queen Elizabeth in ‘RICHARD III’, Princess in ‘LOVES LABOURS LOST’, Mistress Ford in ‘MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR‘, Helena in ‘MIDSUMMER NIGHTS DREAM‘, Lady Macduff in ‘MACBETH‘, Lady Capulet in ‘ROMEO AND JULIET‘, Celia/Phebe in ‘AS YOU LIKE IT‘, Adriana in ‘COMEDY OF ERRORS‘  Regional Theater: 3 Seasons at OREGON SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL Television:The GOOD PLACE, The RESIDENT, S.W.A.T, GIRL MEETS WORLD, HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER, NCIS:LA, TRANSFORMERS 5, etc. & over 35 National Commercials  Education:Second City Conservatory Graduate. BFA from UC SANTA BARBARA 



Featured performers:
Carene Mekertichyan promotional photoCarene Mekertichyan  is an actress, writer, singer, educator, and proud Angeleno. As a Black Armenian woman, she is drawn to storytelling that centers marginalized narratives and believes true art exists to spark empathy and create social change. Her identity and upbringing in Los Angeles informs both her art and intersectional activism. She serves as the Artistic Associate for Social Justice at Independent Shakespeare Co. and is a teaching artist for The Unusual Suspects and Creative Acts. She has performed with Independent Shakespeare Co, Rogue Artists Ensemble, Palos Verdes Performing Arts, Hero Theatre, and at the Getty Villa. Her plays have been produced at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, MeetCute LA, Company of Angels, Independent Shakespeare Co., and Sacred Fools’ ”We the People Theater Action”.  She is also part of LAist’s “Racism 101” team. She received her training from Dartmouth College and the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA). 

Bukola Ogunmola promotional photoBukola Ogunmolais a Nigerian-American film and theater actor and writer born and raised in South Jamaica, Queens, New York. Some of her latest work is in the LA’s Shakespeare in the Park Romeo and Juliet as Juliet, Twelfth Night as Viola, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Measure for Measure and Titus Andronicus.  She holds an MFA in Acting from the USC School of Dramatic Arts and is bi-coastal between Los Angeles and New York. 


Patrick Batiste Jr. Promotional photoPatrick Dean Batiste, Jr. was born and raised in Berkeley, CA. He has been acting, singing, performing on stage and in front of the camera for most of his life with work spanning TV, film, theatre, voice over, Shakespeare, dance and music. He has shot over 20 national commercials, co-starred in NBC’s TRAUMA, has starred in many award winning short and independent films and has an extensive list of professional theatre credits. Patrick graduated from California State University, Northridge having majored in Theatre with a minor in Music with a focus in vocal performance. He looks forward to getting back on stage and in front of an audience when it is safe to do so.



Jasmine Retland promotional photoJasmine Retland is excited to have her first theatrical debut as a college student at CSU. She is currently a first-year undeclared student but plans to major in music with a concentration in music therapy. In her last theatrical performance, she played The Lady of the Lake in Spamalot (Gateway High School). Jasmine wants to thank her older brother, Andrew, for paving the way to the possibility of being an actor. 




Taya Hancock promotional photoTaya Hancock (she, her, hers) from Pueblo, Co is a 3rd year Social Work major with a minor in Ethnic Studies. She volunteers her time as a peer mentor for the Black/ African American Cultural Center (B/AACC) at CSU- Fort Collins and is the lead mentor for GPS a youth mentoring program also with B/AACC. Taya currently holds a position as President for the student org United Women of Color at CSU. She also serves as the Bachelors of Social Work Student Representative for the NASW- Colorado Chapter. Taya is passionate about theatre and the arts and is excited to be a part of the ON THE BRINK Reading Series.


TreVonne Coleman Promotional PhotoTre’Vonne Coleman is a Junior studying theater with an emphasis in performance. He has been in three productions here at CSU: One Man, Two Guvnors (Barman), Joint Stock’s Me Too (ensemble), and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Francis Flute). Tre’Vonne would like to thank his family and friends for supporting him in his endeavors to be an actor and is excited for what the future holds for him.



CSU Rams Read Gallery- View Gallery Here


Schedule & Tickets

Nightly at 7:30 pm
Cost: Free

Phone: N/A

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