Years after actress Anna Campbell’s reputation was ruined with a production of her reading the men’s monologues from the iconic August Wilson’s “Fences” while sitting onstage naked, she gets a surprising invitation from a young producer. 

A women’s theatre festival wants her to return to America from her 25-year exile in Europe to help stage her notorious “Naked Wilson” – but she’ll have to overcome insecurities and her differences with the young stripper/porn actress who’s been cast in her old role.

The play “Angry, Raucous and Shamelessly Gorgeous,” starting a three-weekend run at the Black Repertory Theatre of Kansas City on Fri., Nov. 18, runs from funny to dramatic as the show explores what it means for women to support each other.

It also takes on Wilson’s macho legacy – he was notorious for writing virtuoso roles for male actors while neglecting women’s roles.

The play’s author, Pearl Cleage, is a surviving contemporary of Wilson, with a body of plays and novels going back to the 1980s. She premiered “Angry” in 2019 at the Alliance Theater in Atlanta.

She may be best known for her bestselling novel “What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day,” an Oprah Book Club selection in 1998. Her books and plays often address Black feminism.     

BRTKC’s production stars Paulette Dawn as Anna; Markeyta Young as the younger actress; Briana van Deusen as the play’s young producer; and Karen Wright as Anna’s manager. 

IIe Haggins, the show’s director, says the play confronts the generational divide as the two main characters deal with their own insecurities and reconcile two very different ways of looking at the world. 

Confusion looms with Anna – now in her sixties – as she assumes she’s returning to reprise her role and resuscitate her career. She eventually understands she’s being asked for her support of the revised production and of the younger actress, who lacks experience. Along the way to opening night, the women discover there is as much to learn as there is to teach.  

Ultimately, the bold and funny play is a supportive feminist piece that acknowledges there is space and opportunity for all women.

Haggins hopes people who attend the play will find inspiration within themselves to embrace their artistic abilities .

“What comes out of the play is [a message] to focus on our individuality and the strength to reevaluate our creativity to find ways to be more expressive,” she said.

The play runs about 90 minutes with no intermission.

The Black Repertory Theatre of Kansas City is at 1216 Brooklyn Ave, KCMO, directly west of Gates BBQ.

Performances are Fri., Nov. 18; Sat, Nov. 19; Sun., Nov. 20; Wed., Nov. 23; Fri., Nov. 25; Sat., Nov. 26; Sun., Nov. 27; Thurs., Dec. 1; Fri., Dec. 2; Sat., Dec. 3.

For tickets visit www.brtkc.org or call 816-832-1269.

This is the 7th season for the Black Repertory Kansas City Theatre, a nonprofit organization that works to “bridge the gap between the rich realities of black experiences and the incomplete depiction displayed in most media outlets,”

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Bonita Gooch

Since 1996, Bonita has served as as Editor-in-Chief of The Community Voice newspaper. As the owner, she has guided the Wichita-based publication’s growth in reach across the state of Kansas and into...

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Simone Garza

Simone Garza is a reporter in our Kansas City office. In addition to general reporting on Kansas City’s African-American community, she reports on economic inclusion for the African American community....