Music by: Jasmine Barnes
Script by: Deborah D.E.E.P. Mouton
Duration: 2 hrs 30 mins
Originally Premiered by Edison Arts Foundation
Born in Houston, TX, Lauren Anderson rose from the streets of Third Ward to become the first Black Principal Dancer of the Houston Ballet. However, this ascension did not happen without its challenges. Between the internal pressures of a single-parent home, her tumultuous romantic relationships- often centered in abuse, and her addiction to alcohol and cocaine, she tried every path to find a coping mechanism for processing her own doubts about her body and worthiness. While that would be the end of many stories, she emerged on the other side sober and with a deeper connection to serving her community. Plumshuga is a choreopoem that allows the audience share an intimate conversation with Anderson as she breaks the fourth wall to discuss her greatest trials and successes by reliving them in moments of dance. This unique blend of poetic lyricism and dance offers a more vivid and intimate look into her rise and impact as ballet royalty.
Lauren (narrator) - age 40’s/50's; speaks in poetry, dark-complexion, muscular
Young Lauren - age 16-20; dark complexion ballerina
Mature Lauren - age 21-30; dark complexion ballerina
Love - male presenting dancers with alternating genres
Sugarplum Fairy - white, 20's, ballerina
Ben - white, male presenting, 40's-50's
Carlos - male, 20's dark complexion ballet dancer.
Lauren’s Father - male presenting, black, contemporary dancer
Lauren’s Mother - female presenting contemporary dancer
Nic - white, male presenting, 20's, ballet dancer
Classmates - two white ballerinas
Firebird dancers - 3 additional black dancers including 1 ballerina in their late 20's/early 30's
Sprites - Double casted Carlos, Love, Nic, Lauren's mom, Lauren's Dad and Young
Addiction - 4-5 bodies, double casted love dancers
Written by former Houston poet laureate Deborah D.E.E.P. Mouton and with music by Jasmine Barnes, this is the story of Lauren Anderson, the first Black performer to be named a principal dancer to the Houston Ballet. Anderson's place in history and her unmatched talent as an artist are part of this story. But so are the sacrifices and struggles she endured to get there, and the long road to accepting herself.
Following Lauren's journey as a Black child and artist through the white world of dance, Plumshuga brings the audience along on the fluid sweep of memory through choreography that blends classical ballet and modern form.
Anyone who's ever felt less-than, who's been excluded, who's wondered if they were enough will recognize something kindred in this story, which is set to be the don't-miss-it-show of the season. Plumshuga is big and bold and beautiful, and showcases so much of the very best of this city and its artists.