Meet the playwright, director, and cast of An American Ma(u)l
Robert O’Hara (playwright) is an accomplished playwright and director. His play Antebellum won the 2010 Helen Hayes for Outstanding Play and is published in two anthologies. His play Insurrection: Holding History, had its World Premiere (directed by O’Hara) at the New York Shakespeare Festival and a West Coast Premiere at American Conservatory Theater. The piece received the Oppenheimer Award for Best New American Play and was subsequently published by both TCG and Dramatist Play Service. O’Hara’s Etiquette of Vigilance was produced in the Steppenwolf First Look Festival, and ACT/Zeum recently produced his play Good Breeding. As a director, O’Hara received an OBIE Award for his direction of the World Premiere of the critically acclaimed In the Continuum at Primary Stages. He directed the World Premiere of Brother/Sister Plays (Part 2), co-production at McCarter Theater/New York Shakespeare Festival, and has directed at the Magic Theater CTG/Kirk Douglas Theater, Alliance Theater, and City Theater, as well as directed the critically acclaimed World Premiere of Bootycandy at Woolly Mammoth. O’Hara wrote and directed the Black horror movie The Inheritance (available on Netflix) and is currently an Adjunct Professor at NYU/TISCH School of the Arts.
Edris Cooper-Anifowoshe (director) is an award winning actor, director, and writer and is the founding artistic director of Black Artists Contemporary Cultural Experience, a resident company at Brava. She is the creator of several solo pieces including Traveling While Black, which premiered in the Brava Studio in 2014, and the published Adventures of a Black Girl In Search of Academic Clarity and Inclusion (Northwestern University Press). As a director, Cooper-Anifowoshe has worked nationally at Trinity Repertory Company, Capital Repertory, Southern Rep in New Orleans, Mark Taper Forum, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Woolly Mammoth, Curious Theatre in Denver, and Arts Theatre, Ibadan, Nigeria. Cooper-Anifowoshe’s Bay Area directing credits include the West Coast premieres of Relativity at the Magic Theatre, The Old Settler at TheaterWorks in Palo Alto, Crying Holy at Theatre Rhinoceros, and Urban Zulu Mambo and Blue/Orange at Lorraine Hansberry Theatre. At Brava with BACCE, Cooper-Anifowoshe directed West Coast premieres of Sweet Maladies by Zakiyyah Alexander (winner of TBA Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble), In a Daughter’s Eyes by Oakland native A. Zell Williams, and Bootcandy by Robert O’Hara. She holds an M.F.A. in Directing from the University of Iowa.
Kehinde Koyejo* (actor) was last seen in San Francisco Playhouse’s Awards winning Barbecue. Other credits include All Aunt Hagar’s Children-Paris Tour (Word for Word, CA), Bootycandy (BACCE / Brava Theater, CA), We Are Proud to Present (Just Theater, CA), “Best Ensemble” Theater Bay Area Award winner Sweet Maladies (BACCE / Brava Theater, CA), For Colored Girls (Project 1Voice & Lorraine Hansberry Theater, CA), The Firefly Project (Magic Theater, CA) Philip Kan Gotanda’s The Jamaican Wash (Lorraine Hansberry Theater, CA), Serenade (LaMama Theater, NY), Joe Turner Come and Gone and The Wiz (Crystal Image Theater, NY), In The Wine Time (The National Black Theater, NY), and Bat Boy, the Musical (Ray of Light Theater, CA). Ms. Koyejo is a member of the Black Artists Contemporary Cultural Experience (BACCE). She earned a B.F.A. in Acting from Pace University, NY and a M.A. in Performance Studies from NYU’s.
Rotimi Agbabiaka* (actor) is thrilled to be back with BACCE. Recent performances include Caesar Maximus (Antony) with We Players, Father Comes Home From the Wars at A.C.T. and Yale Rep, Black Rider (Pegleg) at Shotgun Players, Bootycandy (Rev Benson) at Brava Theater, Sojourners (Disciple) with Magic Theatre as well as performances at Cal Shakes, Marin Theater Company, TheatreWorks, Word for Word, Alter Theater, Beach Blanket Babylon, and the San Francisco Mime Troupe, where he is a collective member. His solo play, Homeless, won Best Solo Performance at the SF Fringe Festival and his latest solo, Type/Caste, received the Theatre Bay Area award for Outstanding Solo Production. He wrote Seeing Red with Joan Holden and Ira Marlowe, which received a TBA award nomination for Outstanding World Premiere Musical. As a director, he helmed the world premiere of VS. at TheatreFirst. Rotimi studied at Moscow Art Theatre and earned his MFA from Northern Illinois University. rotimionline.com
Cathleen Riddley* (actor) is proud to be working with BACCE for the first time. She is a multiple award-winning actor who has performed at numerous Bay Area theaters. Cathleen is a proud member of Actors Equity Association and Theatre Bay Area. She is a Shotgun Players company member and a PlayGround company member as well. She is an alumna of The Juilliard School Drama Division, a certified ASL Interpreter and has an MA from the University of Pennsylvania. A project close to her heart is working with incarcerated men in San Quentin in their violence prevention program called No More Tears/Healing Circle.
Kevin Clarke* (actor) studied painting and mathematics at Cornell University. He has worked as an actor, dancer, performer, and costume/prop designer in the bay area for more than 20 years. Appearances include: Shotgun Players (company member): Black Rider, Grand Concourse, Village Bike, Hamlet, Antigonick, New Electric Ballroom, Woyzeck, Coast of Utopia, God’s Plot, Beardo, Macbeth, Cryptogram, Forest War, Travesties and Death of Meyerhold. Other: Salomania and Arsonists (Aurora); Ada and The Memory Engine (Central Works); She Rode Horses… (Crowded Fire); Frequent collaborator with Chris Black Dance. Co-direction of Hagen & Simone with Monique Jenkinson. Film: Test and Pushing Dead. kevinclarkeactor.com
Jennie Brick (actor) makes her BACCE debut with An American Ma(u)l. Last year she joined forces with Edris Cooper and Kehinde Koyejo in Robert O’Hara’s tome Barbeque at San Francisco Playhouse (SFBATTC Award Best Ensemble). Other recent roles include Sharon in Pussy Hat/Between Us, Leonata in Much Ado About Nothing (TheatreFIRST), Mrs. Potts in Beauty and the Beast, Yente in Fiddler on the Roof (Berkeley Playhouse), Eugenie and Judge in Ondine at Sutro, Nurse in Romeo and Juliet (We Players), Mattie Fae in August: Osage County (Contra Costa Civic), Liz in The Book of Liz, Luella in Why Torture is Wrong (Custom Made Theatre), Silda in Other Desert Cities, and Thelma in ‘night Mother (Stray Dog Productions). Jennie is a two-time Theatre Bay Area Award finalist. Up next Jennie will be joining the cast of the world premiere of The Wickhams by Lauren Gunderson and Margot Melcon. Deep gratitude to Edris and love to B.
Andre Amarotico* (actor) is a Bay Area actor, theater teacher, and performance coach. He graduated from Stanford University, with a double major in political science and theater. He has performed all across California, and was most recently featured as Joe Hill in SF Mime Troupe’s summer production of Seeing Red. Other recent roles include the Baker in Into the Woods (Throckmortan Theater Co.), John Jasper in The Mystery of Edwin Drood (Marin Onstage), the title roles in Hamlet and Macbeth (Stanford Theater Department), Andy in Smut, and Arthur Lisch in Slouching Towards Bethlehem, both with Word for Word Performing Arts Company. Andre was nominated for a Theater Bay Area Award for Best Actor in a Featured Role for Ross Valley Players’ production of The 39 Steps. Additionally, he has performed at the Cutting Ball Theater, New Conservatory Theater Center, and Stanford Reparatory Theater.
AeJay Mitchell* (actor) is an actor, director, singer, dancer, and choreographer based in Oakland, California. Originally from Louisiana, they have been granted the opportunity to study, teach, and perform professionally for the past decade across the United States. They are a proud member of Actor’s Equity and of the BACCE collective! Their most recent acting credits include: Benvolio/Paris in Romeo and Juliet (Queen Mab Productions), Sutter in Bootycandy (Black Artists Contemporary Cultural Experience), Actor 4/ Another Black Man in We Are Proud to Present... (San Jose Stage), Kemi in Rose in America (Alter Theatre),and Son/Kid/ and the infamous Miss Roj in The Colored Museum (African American Shakespeare Company). After a brief jaunt into Shakespeare’s verse, they are thrilled to jump back into the THEATRE OF CHOKE! Hope you gats ya damn true proof! As a non-binary black actor, it is also amazing to continue busting the myth that we can’t exist on the stage because of “historical accuracy”-- we have ALWAYS existed and so honored to be a part of a community that embraces that truth.
Michael Carreiro (actor) has worked with Shotgun Players, New Conservatory Theatre,and Theatre Rhinoceros. As a collective member of The San Francisco Mime Troupe, Michael toured with the company from 1999 to 2006. Michael was a member of the first and founding BACCE ensemble appearing in BACCE’s first production, On the Hills of Black America, in 1996.. He is happy to return to BACCE and is honored to be back in the fight!
Teri Whipple (actor) is thrilled to get to act with BACCE! She holds a degree in Drama from San Francisco State University, and has also studied at A.C.T. and Shakespeare and Company. Some of her favorite credits include Marie in Barbecue at SF Playhouse, Catherine in Rapture, Blister, Burn at Custom Made Theatre (of which she is a member), Donna in Harbor at New Conservatory Theatre Center, and Chrysothemis in Iphigenia and Other Daughters with WE Players –the first theatrical play to be performed on Alcatraz Island. Much love to Jake!
* Member of the Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers.