The Flight tells the story of Bessie Coleman, the first African/Native American to hold an international pilot’s license.
The Flight, a new work by acclaimed theatre artist Beryl Bain, explores the ground-breaking life of aviation pioneer Bessie Coleman – the first African American and the first Native American to hold an international pilot’s license.
“This play is an homage to Coleman’s courage, creativity and optimism,” said Bain. “My intention for this work is to ensure that ‘Brave Bessie’ is respected and honoured. As I was working with her story it felt like we were dancing together as active partners. This story of an iconic Black and Indigenous woman who died in flight, tragically, at the tender age of 34 years old greatly inspired me.” Bain’s writing also found inspiration in the style of Harlem Renaissance era poems such as Claude McKay’s If We Must Die (1919).
At the height of the Roaring ’20s, Coleman earned the nickname “Brave Bessie” and even her dreams were quite literally sky high. From flight school in Paris to spectacular barnstorming shows, Bessie dazzled audiences with her bravery, beauty, and technological mastery. The feel of the 1920’s are beautifully captured by the stellar, award winning designers for a visually stunning piece.
Director Marcel Stewart also serves as Artistic Director of b current Performing Arts and Artistic Associate for SpiderWebShow Performance. “I think about transcendent Black women as I direct this piece and how they have historically been told what they can’t do while constantly proving that they not only can, but actually exceeding the challenges that confront them,” says Stewart, a multi-disciplinary arts educator and facilitator who is known for his powerful performance as Elegba in The Brothers Size (Soulpepper).
The Flight evokes Bessie’s unshakable optimism, her determination, her vision, and the indomitable self confidence that led her to soar above the clouds, reaching ever closer to the sun.
CAST AND CREATIVE TEAM
Creator/Performer: Beryl Bain
Director: Marcel Stewart
Assistant Director: Emerjade Simms
Dramaturg: Lisa Codrington
Lighting Designer: Shawn Henry
Projection Designer: Jason J. Brown
Set Designer: Michael Gordon Spence
Costume Designer: Des’ree Gray
Sound Designer: Floydd Ricketts
Stage Manager: Barry W. Cook
This exciting new work began its journey with Theatre Gargantua in 2020 as a part of our SideStream Cycles. We welcome you to the world premiere this February!
Written and performed by Beryl Bain
February 10, 11, 15, 16, 17, 18 at 7:30pm
February 13, 15, 16 at 1:00 pm
at Factory Theatre
125 Bathurst Street, Toronto, Ontario
About the Author
Bryen Dunn is a freelance journalist with a focus on travel, lifestyle, entertainment and hospitality. He has an extensive portfolio of celebrity interviews with musicians, actors and other public personalities. He enjoys discovering delicious eats, tasting spirited treats, and being mesmerized by musical beats.