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The Fire This Time Festival hits Boston stage

Kassmin Williams | 3/26/2014, 10:48 a.m.
Actors perform in three of the six plays from The Fire This Time Festival, which is coming to Hibernian Hall. The Fire This Time Festival

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Actors perform in three of the six plays from The Fire This Time Festival, which is coming to Hibernian Hall.

Hibernian Hall is bringing a sample of the annual The Fire This Time Festival to Boston.

The Fire This Time Festival is presented by Horse Trade Theater Group and serves as a platform for early-career African and African-American playwrights. The festival encourages the playwrights to “move beyond the common ideas of ‘black theater’ and “explore new voices, styles and challenging new directions for 21st century performing arts,” according to thefirethistimefestival .

It has taken place in Greenwich Village in Manhattan, N.Y., each year starting in 2007. The troupe will perform an ensemble from the festival Friday, March 28, through Sunday, March 30. Friday and Saturday’s shows start at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday’s show begins at 3 p.m. Tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for seniors and students.

The Sunday performance includes a public reception at 2 p.m. that features The Fire This Time director Nicole Watson and one of the playwrights Kevin Free.

The program consists of six 10-minute plays from the original The Fire This Time Festival. Each play is performed with the same four actors.

“This type of production is a stimulating continuation of our performance series. We’re inspired to invite kindred spirits from The Fire This Time Festival as guest artists, and can promise our audience an evening of the finest from New York’s diverse theater scene,” Hibernian Hall Artistic Director Dillon Bustin said.

The six short plays are “The Portal,” known as “Metaphorical Tricycle” by Kevin R. Free; “Poetics of the Creative Process” by Kelley Nicole Girod; “Poor Posturing” by Tracey Conyers Lee; “The Pitch” by Zoey Martinson; “Citizen Jane Super She-ro” by Derek Lee McPhatter; and “Breakfast” by Yusuf Miller.

“The Portal” follows an artist as he reflects on his past and dreams about his future while getting slapped in the face by his present.

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The Fire This Time Festival

Actors perform in three of the six plays from The Fire This Time Festival, which is coming to Hibernian Hall.

“Poetic of the Creative Process” tells a story about when a professor’s young mentee mistakes the shadow of a tree limb for the professor’s arm reaching out to her.

“Poor Posturing” deals with the ins and outs of getting along and “Citizen Jane Super She-ro” focuses on super-hero Citizen Jane.

“The Pitch” takes a comedic look at two young writers trying to sell a modern black movie to studio executives.

Bustin decided to work on bringing The Fire This Time Festival performance to Boston after attending the festival last winter, which he was “favorably pleased with.”

The concept of “universal theater” shown throughout the festival is what caught his attention, Bustin said.

The concept says any playwright should be able to write on any topic, theme and subject matter in any style.

Bustin said he wanted to give Boston audiences a glimpse at the theater movement happening in New York when it comes to diverse theater.

“I think the younger generation of playwrights often feel shorted if they’re African American because the large established theaters tend to do a limited repertoire. Since most of the bookers or producers are in their 50s and 60s, they tend to program things that they were familiar with when they were young, so you see certain plays by very well recognized black playwrights that are programmed over and over and over again,” Bustin said. “It’s just hard for a young person to break through that glass ceiling and have a chance, so this was the whole motivation.”

The festival weekend is kicking off with a free writing workshop titled “Spark! Fire! Blaze!” led by Kevin Free for college-aged playwrights from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Hibernian Hall Friday. Participants will learn a series of exercises to generate work, revise work and share work in a collaborative environment with other young writers. There are 15 seats available for the workshop.

For more information on registering for the workshop, visit hibernianhall.org or call 617-849-6322.