a love letter to Brian, Lesley, and Michelle - Feb. 9

image of a black fist with title of film above it

Prime Performance - Thursday, February 9, 2023 at 7:30pm

This is a film, a play, an experience, a concert dance, a work of art, a self-reflection, a protest.  It is the result of human beings coming together -- diverse in age, sexuality, race and gender, talking with their bodies, minds and souls about Black lives.  The work forces viewers to step outside of their own bodies and into bodies that continue to be brutalized, objectified and minimized within America.  Director and Skidmore College faculty member Hettie Barnhill will lead a discussion after the screening.
 

Film web site
 

This performance is part of a series spotlighting local artists. Funding support provided by University at Albany Foundation, University Auxiliary Services and the Alumni Association.


The UAlbany Performing Arts Center is pleased to present a free screening of a love letter to Brian, Lesley, and Michelle, a film by Hettie Barnhill, on Thursday, February 9, 2023 at 7:30pm on the uptown University at Albany campus located at 1400 Washington Avenue.  The event is part of a series of four shining the spotlight on local artists. Others in the series include actors Bianca Stinney and Ben Katigiri who will each perform the experimental play White Rabbit, Red Rabbit (March 26 & 27).  This past fall, guitarist Maria Zemantauski, percussionist Brian Melick and dancer La Nina collaborated in Flamenco Rhythms and the Capital Trio offered two concerts in October.

Described by its creator as “a film, a play, an experience, a concert dance, a work of art, a self-reflection, a protest,” the work is an interactive and experimental commentary that “ideally leaves viewers looking inward, seeking justice from within.” It forces audiences to see themselves within the stories of those that are minimized, dehumanized and brutalized in America.  Barnhill further explains, “it is the result of human beings coming together, diverse in age, sexuality, race and gender, talking with their bodies, minds and souls, about Black lives. It’s meant to be the beginning of a discussion.”

Many years in the making and completed in April 2021, the film has been an official selection in the Montreal International Black Film Festival, Colorado International Activism Film Festival, Silicon Valley International Film Festival, Greater Cleveland Urban Film Festival and London International Monthly Film Festival.  It has also been a part of the Rochester Fringe Festival.

Rebecca Rafferty of Rochester’s CITY News wrote, “Combining beauty with a drive to prove we can do better for one another, Barnhill’s work is interactive in that it leaves viewers reminded of the same directive we too often ignore: that we are all participants in the world, and a deep internal look is required to discover our part in improving it for each other.”

The writer/director will engage in a post-screening discussion with audience members. Barnhill is a Broadway actress, director, choreographer and the founder of Create A Space NOW, an interactive social platform that uses performing arts and multimedia to further discussion around #blacklivesmatter and the recent events and race relations in America. Nominated for a 2017 New York Innovative Theater Award for Outstanding Choreography, Barnhill has performed nationally and internationally and on Broadway in Spider-Man Turn Off The Dark, Tony Award-winning FELA! (original cast), and the Tony award-nominated Leap of Faith (original cast).  She is currently a lecturer in the Dance Department at Skidmore College.