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Eisa Davis's Flowers Are Sleeping
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This project is funded by the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, through the generous support of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.

+ About the Performance
This program was recorded 04/27/2013 at Symphony Space.

This R&B-pop-music theatre work by Eisa Davis is a fantasy about the contemporary art world inspired by the artistic and intellectual leaders who peopled the heyday of the Harlem Renaissance.

Larsen is an extraordinarily talented artist who, at the start, is an enigma, but who is just beginning to be sought out by curators, galleries and museums. 

Fauset is a curatorial assistant at an established art gallery; she is also an art-blogger. She is fascinated with and fixated on Larsen and wants to get her contracted at the gallery. Fauset wants to become known as the one who puts Larsen on the map. 

Van Locke also works at the gallery and is in direct competition with Fauset to find and sign great new talent. The two are rivals, but Van Locke is more of a shark.

WEB and Carny Jean are played by one actor. WEB is the spirit of W.E.B. Du Bois, and is seen and heard only by Larsen, who conjures him at will. WEB gives advice to Larsen. Carny Jean is another up and coming artist, with more mainstream appeal. He creates performance-based installations for the gallery and was signed by Van Locke.

The show unfolds through a menu of songs including the title song, "Flowers Are Sleeping," as well as numbers such as" Turn Out The Light," "Clear House," "Black Girl Bullet," "The Souls of Black Folk," "Don't Know Nothing About the Blues," and more. The rivalry between Fauset and Van Locke to sign Larsen plays out, with Van Locke ultimately winning the competition, irking Fauset, who turns against Larsen, the artist she believed in, and whom she had first discovered. Time passes, and Fauset tries to reconcile with Larsen. She discovers that Van Locke and Larsen have become a couple, and that Larsen has given up making art for consumption to remain at home with him as its own kind of art. This makes Fauset even more heartbroken, but this emotion soon transforms into the desire she's had all along: to make art herself.




Museum Stroll


Subway Show


Turn Out the Light


Peanut Gallery


Seen and Heard


Don’t Know Nothin Bout the Blues


Clear House suite:

Black Girl Bullet

Be Free

Private Moment


Flowers Are Sleeping


Tired Morning Eyes




Start Over with Me


Forever Is Not a Long Time

+ About the Artists


EISA DAVIS (Larsen, piano, book, music, and lyrics) was the 2012 Alpert Award winner in Theatre. She was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Drama for her play Bulrusher, published by Samuel French, and wrote and starred in Angela’s Mixtape, named a best of 2009 by The New Yorker. Other plays include Ramp (Ruby Prize winner), The History of Light (Barrymore nomination), Paper Armor, Umkovu, Six Minutes, Warriors Don’t Cry, and the collaborations Active Ingredients and Hip Hop Anansi. Eisa was a resident playwright at New Dramatists, where she won the Helen Merrill Award, and the Whitfield Cook Award, among others. She has received fellowships from Yaddo, the MacDowell Colony, Cave Canem, and the Van Lier and Mellon Foundations. As an actor, she received a Lortel nomination for her work in Luck of the Irish at LCT3, and is currently performing The Call at Playwrights Horizons. Recent theatre work also includes the world premiere of Melissa James Gibson’s This, and her Obie Award-winning performance in the Broadway rock musical Passing Strange, now a film directed by Spike Lee. Eisa is featured in the films Welcome to the Rileys, Robot Stories, The Architect, Confess, Happenstance, Pretty Bird, Apparition of the Eternal Church, Brass Tacks, In The Family, and the upcoming releases The Letter, Jack Ryan and The Volunteer. She was Bubbles’ sister on The Wire, has guest starred on Damages and Soul Food, and recurred on Smash and Hart of Dixie. She also contributes a storyline to the work-in-progress Trade Practices at HERE Arts Center. As a singer-songwriter, her album Something Else is available through iTunes and CDBaby. She sings her original music at venues including Joe’s Pub, BAMCafé, the Whitney Museum, and is an artist-in-residence at Symphony Space.

DARIUS de HAAS (WEB/Carny Jean/Kid)—Broadway credits include Kiss of the Spider Woman, Rent, Carousel, Marie Christine, The Gershwins’ Fascinating Rhythm, The Actor’s Fund concert stagings of Dreamgirls and Hair. Other credits include the American premiere of Children of Eden (Papermill Playhouse), Saturn Returns (Public Theater), The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin (Playwrights Horizons), and Twelfth Night (Westport Playhouse). He won The Obie Award for his performance in Running Man (Music-Theater Group). His TV/FILM appear- ances include: Chicago, My Favorite Broadway: The Love Songs, In The Life, The View, and TODAY. As a concert artist, among Darius’ credits are The Lincoln Center American Songbook, Duke Ellington Sacred Concert with Los Angeles Master Chorale, Too Hot To Handel (Carnegie Hall), Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, and the National Symphony, Cincinnati Pops, and Orchestra of St. Luke’s. His recordings include Quiet Please (Bridge Records), Day Dream: Variations on Strayhorn (PS Classics), and many Original Cast recordings.

DASHIELL EAVES (Van Locke/Kid)—Broadway: A Behanding In Spokane, Coram Boy, The Lieutenant of Inishmore, James Joyce’s The Dead, 1776, The Sound of Music. Off-B’way: Luck Of The Irish (LCT3), Killers and Other Family (Rattlestick), Becky Shaw (2nd Stage), Observe The Sons of Ulster... (LCT/Huntington), James Joyce’s The Dead, People Be Heard (Playwrights Horizons), STOMP (Original US cast). Regional: The Wild Duck (Bard Summerscape), Snow Falling on Cedars (Hartford Stage), Judgment Day (Bard Summerscape), The Lieutenant of Inishmore (Atlantic), Not Waving, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Street Scene (Williamstown), The Seven (La Jolla), Brendan (Huntington), Hans Christian Andersen (A.C.T.), 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Barrington Stage). Film: Black Dog/Red Dog, Arthur & The War of Two Worlds, Beloved, STOMP OUT LOUD (HBO). TV: The Good Wife, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Third Watch.

NICOLE LEWIS (Fauset)—Broadway: Hair (2009 Tony Award, Best Revival), Rent, Lennon. Off-Broadway: Measure for Measure, Hair (Public Theater); Happiness (Lincoln Center workshop); Boy Gets Girl, and Murder Ballad (MTC); The Me Nobody Knows (workshop). Regional: Tanya/Nina in Nobody Loves You (Old Globe); Ann Deever in All My Sons (Intiman); Susan in Race (Philadelphia Theatre Company); Constant Star (Hartford Stage); Miranda in The Tempest (Williamstown, Act I Co.); The Threepenny Opera, Tartuffe (A.C.T.); Once on This Island, Children of Eden, The Wiz. TV/Film: Blue Bloods, A Gifted Man, Law & Order: SVU, Mercy, As the World Turns, Naked Brothers Band, London Betty. BA, Yale University; MFA, A.C.T. San Francisco. Nicole is so inspired by this imaginative project. Many thanks to Eisa, Rebecca Jones, her fellow players, and Symphony Space.

LIESL TOMMY (Director)—World Premieres: Party People by Universes (Oregon Shakespeare Festival, nominated for the Kennedy Prize) The White Man—A Complex Declaration of Love by Joan Rang (DanskDansk Theatre, Denmark), Peggy Picket Sees the Face of God by Roland Schimmelpfennig (Luminato Festival), The Good Negro by Tracey Scott Wilson (The Public Theater, Dallas Theater Center), A History of Light by Eisa Davis (the Contemporary American Theatre Festival), Angela’s Mixtape by Eisa Davis (Synchronicity Performance Group, New Georges), A Stone’s Throw by Lynn Nottage, (Women’s Project). Other credits: A Raisin in the Sun, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (Huntington Theatre), He is Here He Says I Say (Sundance East Africa, Manda Island, Kenya), Ruined by Lynn Nottage (Oregon Shakespeare Festival, La Jolla Playhouse, Huntington Theatre Company, Berkeley Rep), Crimes of the Heart (McCarter Theatre), Book of Life (Sundance East Africa). Liesl was awarded the Vineyard Theater’s Susan Stroman Directing Award, the NEA/TCG Directors Grant, and the New York Theatre Workshop Casting/Directing Fellowship. Liesl has taught master classes in acting, directing, and new play development internationally and guest directed at Juilliard, Trinity Rep/Brown University’s MFA Directing Program, The Strasberg Institute, and NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. She is a native of Cape Town, South Africa.


Sydney Lamont Driver (drums) was born in Bed Stuy, Brooklyn, and has been playing professionally for 12 years. He studied under Bishop Nathaniel Townsley, and has performed with Platinum Pied Pipers, Blitz The Ambassador, John Forte, Rhythm and Stealth (solo project), Keith Branch, Terrance Etc, Tejas Singh, and L4.

Nick Rolfe (keyboards) has performed, recorded, or toured with: actor/comedian Dave Chappelle, Roy Hargrove, Phil Perry, Melba Moore, Freddie Jackson, Marion Meadows, Meli’sa Morgan, Amel Larrieux, Jennifer Holliday, Alison Crockett, Omar, Julie Dexter, Lizz Wright, Malcolm-Jamal Warner, the Dizzy Gillespie All-Star Big Band, Laura Izibor, Lauryn Hill, Nona Hendryx, Busta Rhymes, India Arie, Earth, Wind & Fire legend Verdine White, Ledisi, and many others. His award-winning album The Persuader (Blue Jay Records) was the #1 jazz record in the U.S. on multiple radio play charts in 2001. Solo albums include The Remedy, The Mind of an Evolutionary, and A History of Things To Come. As an actor, he has appeared in Doris and Bernard, Lipstick Jungle, and The West Wing.

Jon Spurney (guitar) most recently served as a Musical Ambassador for the U.S. State Department, performing with Mary McBride in Afghanistan, Iraq, Kurdistan, Algeria, and Albania. He appeared on Broadway in Passing Strange and in the film version directed by Spike Lee. He has composed and performed incidental music for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report, and wrote scores for the films The Greatest Movie Ever Sold and Freakonomics. He provides live piano accompaniment for silent films at the MoMA and has performed and recorded with David Byrne, Lou Reed, Laurie Anderson, John Cale, and Jonathan Coulton.

Mark Vanderpoel (bass) has performed with David Johansen, Sir Cliff Richard, Nancy Sinatra, Jeff Beck, Audra McDonald, Sandra Bernhard, Lucie Arnaz, Clay Aiken, Andrea Bocelli, James Taylor, Kelli O’Hara, Deborah Voight, The Moody Blues, Taylor Hicks, Sigur Rós, and Shirley Jones. Broadway/Off-Broadway credits include Jane Eyre, Amour, Legally Blonde, See What I Want to See, Guys and Dolls, The Burnt Part Boys, Power Balladz, Shaggs the Musical, Hands on a Hard Body, and Cinderella.

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