Queens of Sheba
Presented by OKC Rep in partnership with Under the Radar and Oklahoma Contemporary
January 25 -27, 2024
Te Ata Theater
The four powerful Black women that formed the beating heart of Jessica L. Hagan's knowingly sharp and riotously funny choreopoem Queens of Sheba demanded respect and, with every story told, they earned it. A spiritual successor to Ntozake Shange's for colored girls who have considered suicide / when the rainbow is enuf, Queens incisively called out and lanced the constellation of racist, sexist and colorist micro- and macro-aggressions that its characters encountered: the music and the misogyny, the dancing and the drinking, the women and, of course, the (white) men.
Turned away from a nightclub for being “too black”, the Queens navigated the minefields of misogynoir, seeking power among the songs of Tina Turner and Diana Ross and Aretha Franklin, finding elevation in sisterhood, sweet relief in the riot of laughter and the shedding of tears. Playful, intellectually rigorous, packed with righteous fury and genuine soul, Queens of Sheba was a unique meditation on Black women’s identity, suffering and joy.
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About the creators
Jessica L. Hagan is a Ghanaian-British writer who heavily explores themes of identity, displacement and misogynoir in her work. Her debut play Queens of Sheba, co-written with Ryan Calais Cameron, won the Untapped Award 2018. The play went to Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August 2018 where it had a successful sold-out four week run and won The Stage Award 2018. Jessica is a spoken word artist and spender her time in both London and Ghana. In Ghana, she works with emerging playwrights through workshopping and is a grant maker for creative organizations across the continent.
Ryan Calais Cameron is a writer, actor and theater maker. As the co-founder of contemporary theatre group Nouveau Riche, Ryan has written Queens of Sheba (co-written with Jessica L. Hagan) and Typical (starring Richard Blackwood) — both sell-out hits at Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2018 and 2019 respectively. Ryan was the winner of Best Director (For Black Boys Who Have Considered Suicide When The Hue Gets Too Heavy) at the Black British Awards 2022. Currently, Ryan is under commission to the Royal Court Theatre and has a number of projects in development with theatre and television companies.