In the grip of the 2020 pandemic, just days before the presidential election, a woman in Miami recalls her shock four years ago on election night 2016, with renewed feelings of dread about this time around. The recollection of that blistering night as she watched those fateful election results sparks a memory that shatters her nerves — as we witness her working her way through to a revelation of personal power.
Alone now, out of work and losing hope because of COVID-19’s chokehold on America, she struggles to breathe through a vortex of painful memories in front of the camera she has positioned in front of herself at home. As a way to snap herself out of this downward spiral, she decides to record her feelings on a video message to her fellow voters.
She decides to give testimony to power. The power of voting.
I Elect: Power Every Four Years is a one-act, one woman show created and written by Bill Spring. The free video livestream is on YouTube Live (and will remain free online, leading up to the election and afterwards).
Viewers said they have to step back from their screens — in a good way — when watching this performance. Especially when she realizes that although the power of the people has been chipped away at on so many fronts these past four years, each of us still has the power to elect.
The role of Bella is brilliantly performed by Carey Brianna Hart, who delivers a tour de force monologue. Ricky J. Martinez directed the film version of this project. Produced by Jose Lima. The Director of Photography is Dennise Perez. Location assistance provided by Locust Projects.
The creators encourage viewers to donate to Engage.Miami — building political power by and for young people. In its first five years, Engage.Miami has registered 24,000 voters and increased early voting sites on college campuses. The organization has engaged and educated tens of thousands of young people about the importance of local and national elections and the impact that young voters can make — engage.miami/donate. In the film, the character of Bella stands at a precipice — things in America are definitely not "great again." In what feels like the blink of an eye, we watch her claw her way out of the mess of the past four years and the agony of 2020 as she rings a Buddhist bell. Her bell of truth is a talisman from her deceased husband, and a clarion call to vote.
Starring Carey Brianna Hart
“My mother was jailed in the 1960s for registering individuals to vote,” says Carey Brianna Hart. “So many people have fought, struggled and died to have this right to affect our government — it should not be taken for granted.” Born in Miami, she graduated from the New World School of the Arts. She has a BFA in Theatrical Studies from the Goodman School of Drama at DePaul University in Chicago. She has been a major presence in South Florida theater, including: the African American Performing Arts Community Theatre, AreaStage, GableStage, M Ensemble Theatre Company, Mad Cat New Theatre, Thinking Cap Theatre, the Vinnette Carroll Theatre and the Women’s Theatre Project, among many others. She has worked with the Afro-Academic Cultural Technological & Scientific Olympics, mentoring students in Drama, Playwriting, Oratory and Poetry. Carey has coached numerous students who have become NAACP National ACT-SO Medalists. She is also the author of Dust Tracks, a one woman show of Zora Neale Hurston.
Directed by Ricky J. Martinez
“This work is woke! A clear ring of authenticity and activism, for us to get back on point,” says Ricky J. Martinez. The award-winning Director and published playwright has been invited to direct for the Kennedy Center’s American College Theater Festival’s the MFA Playwrights’ Workshop; Stanford University ’s National Center for New Plays; James Madison University and the Forbes Center; the Words A-fire festival in New Mexico; and other organizations across the country. His collaborations with playwrights on more than fifty world premiere plays have led to Pulitzer Prize finalists/wins and ATCA’s Steinberg finalists/wins. Awards include the 2016 Margo Jones Award, and the 2016 Remy Pioneer Award. He served as the Artistic Director for Miami’s New Theatre. Nationally, he served on the Executive Committee for the National New Play Network; the Advisory Board of the Latino Theatre Commons; as a panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts; the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation; the National Fund for New Musicals; and San Antonio’s Luminaria Festival.
Written by Bill Spring
“During these unprecedented times, artists have no choice but to create. That is what we do and artists are critical right now,” says Bill Spring. “There is enormous power in artists working together, offering the viewer a passageway, inspiration, and igniting our collective spirit. It doesn’t take much for evil to come crawling out of the woodwork, but the truth-seeking voice of Bella is not one to be silenced.” Bill Spring is a writer and actor. His work has been featured nationally at various festivals including FUSE: the New York Celebration of Queer Culture at HERE Arts Center, and the Philadelphia Fringe Festival. Autobiographical works include Miss Vanilla & the Hustler, The Prehistoric Zip Code of Water, The House, Skin Deep, Dream of the Firemen, and Kmart and Spirituality. Spring has acted in numerous productions, including the play about Anita Bryant’s anti-LGBT crusade, called 1,000 Homosexuals (at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts and the Colony Theatre), and in No Music in this House. Born in Atlanta, he received a BA in English with a minor in Theatre Studies at Emory University, and is classically trained concert pianist.
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