The Mojo and The Sayso
How do they add up what a 10 year-old boy’s life is worth to his parents?
An African American family’s strength and faith are tested after their young son is shot and killed by a white police officer. With compassion, humor, a touch of fantasy, and a unique facility for language, Rahman’s characters cope with the aftermath of tragedy by looking for meaning and a magic charm, or mojo, that will pull them through this difficult time.
The Mojo and The Sayso was recently named in American Theatre magazine as one of a handful of plays that could spark a national conversation, at a time when racial relations have become increasingly strained. Theatre LILA is proud to be collaborating with Milwaukee’s Bronzeville Arts Ensemble on this important production and the outreach project Real Stories About Race.
The Milwaukee reviews are in...
"A BRAVE and BEAUTIFUL production"
Mike Fischer, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
"This POETIC SCRIPT becomes music, taking us toward the redemptive promise of a new song in a different key."
Mike Fischer, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
"Opening night was a TRIUMPH"
Dave Begal, OnMilwaukee.com
"The production blends the painfully REAL and FANTASTIC..Director Jessica Lanius finds both the warmth and poetry in Rahman's play"
Paul Kosidowski, Milwaukee Magazine
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The Cast of The Mojo and the Sayso
Wigasi Brant appeared in Othello, Pride and Prejudice, and Merry Wives of Windsor at American Players Theater last summer. He was recently directed by William Brown in the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign’s production of ‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore and served as a company member in the Illinois Shakespeare Festival in 2013 and 2014. Other onstage credits include roles in Macbeth, Much Ado About Nothing, Comedy of Errors, Failure: A Love Story, Clybourne Park, The Bluest Eye, Fences, and 44 Plays for 44 Presidents. In film and TV he has appeared in “The Blind Side,” “Boston Public,” “Road Trip,” “Remember the Titans,” “The Bold and The Beautiful,” and “Mama Flora’s Family.” Wigasi holds an MFA from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.
Marvette Knight is a founding member of Bronzeville Arts Ensemble of Milwaukee, where she has also appeared in Hansberry-Sands’s Sassy Mamas, Renaissance Theatreworks’ The Ballad of Emmett Till, and First Stage Milwaukee’s To The Promised Land and A Midnight Cry. In Madison Knight appeared in Theatre LILA’s original production, The Suitcase Dreams. She was also a founding company member of the Lula Washington Dance Theatre Company, formerly known as L.A. Contemporary Dance Theatre. Knight spent many years as part of the vibrant theatre community in Minneapolis/St. Paul, including being a resident acting company member of the Children’s Theatre Company and Penumbra Theatre and appearing at the Guthrie, Mixed Blood, Park Square, Illusion, and Chanhassen Dinner Theatres. Her choreographic work includes productions for The Sounds of Blackness recording artists, Superbowl XXVI, and Chatouranga in Fribourg, Switzerland with a multinational cast of 1,500. Film credits include “Jingle All the Way,” “Crossing the Bridge,” “Laurel Avenue,” Herman, USA” and “Church and State.” She cherishes her current lifetime role as wife and mom to her loving family.
Gavin Lawrence appeared at the Goodman in Dartmoor Prison and The Good Negro. Chicago credits include his original play Cut Flowers at Noble Fool Theatre (Black Theater Alliance Lorraine Hansberry Award). He appeared off Broadway in Pure Confidence at 59E59 (Audelco Award for Outstanding Lead Actor), and his regional credits include In the Red and Brown Water, Dream on Monkey Mountain, King Lear, Julius Caesar, The School for Scandal, and A Christmas Carol at the Guthrie Theater; Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and Black No More at Arena Stage; Two Trains Running, The Mighty Gents, Black Nativity, King of Coons, Buffalo Hair, On the Open Road, Three Ways Home, and Waiting in Vain at Penumbra Theatre; Ruined and Fires in the Mirror at Mixed Blood Theatre; Blood Wedding at Kansas City Repertory Theatre and productions at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Actors Theatre of Louisville, the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Denver Center Theatre Company, and Florida Studio Theatre. His film credits include “Joe Somebody,” “Justice,” and “The Promise,” and he has appeared on television in “Macbeth,” “Wine in the Wilderness,” and “Newton’s Apple.” Lawrence is also an accomplished playwright, composer, and director.
Isayah Phillips is a 2015 graduate of Georgetown University. Previous Georgetown Gonda Arts Theatre credits include: Nat Turner in Insurrection: Holding History, Shango in In The Red & Brown Water, and Micko in Slow Falling Bird. In the Williamstown Theatre Festival he appeared as Brian in Sarah: A Three Part Trilogy. Isáyah recently appeared in Marquette University's acclaimed To Kill A Mockingbird as Tom Robinson. This is his first professional production and he is ecstatic and grateful to be part of such a dynamic, life changing, and creative ensemble. Isáyah thanks all his mentors, family, and friends for their limitless support.