The First Person Festival pays a visit to ‘Liberty City’

“Liberty City” opens Friday as part of the First Person Festival at Christ Church 
(20 N. American St.) at 8 p.m. Additional performances are Saturday (2 and 8 p.m.), Nov. 18 (8 p.m.) and Nov. 19 (2 and 8 p.m.).

April Yvette Thompson, the award-winning actress and playwright, is bubbly but introspective, eager to explain her work, process and the experiences that shaped it. There are shades of her in the young April at the heart of “Liberty City,” although not even this budding activist can fully understand the intricacies and tragedies of 1970s Miami, where poverty, the civil rights movement, law enforcement and immigrants old and new mingled in an explosive brew.

“In many ways, this is the story of many families, not just my family,” says Thompson of “Liberty City,” her one-woman play in which she dynamically portrays her multicultural family — from her fiery intellectual father to her Bahamian grandmother — and their participation in the Black Power Movement. “As a community falls apart, as the movement falls apart, this family falls apart. It’s a sacrifice when you’re a parent to be political — my whole life was organized around my family’s activism. And what a cost that has, but also how great it is to see your parents doing what they believe in every day.”

A gifted, physical and at times hilarious performer, Thompson is as adept at recreating a kitchen perm scene as she is at single-handedly depicting a riot that resulted, to no one’s great concern, in a young black girl losing a limb. As much a product of her family, Thompson is a result of a time, a place and a movement — one that she suspects is something of a lost art. “There are causes now that people get behind, but movements with an organized agenda, we’re just not doing that the same way,” she says. “I think there is a sense of, ‘We got what we got, and what we didn’t we didn’t.’ There was a giving up, in many ways, on the American dream that we once knew we deserved. Now, we have to reorganize and relearn what we learned.”

If you go

   
Now in its 10th year, the First Person Festival is staging performances of documentary and memoir art across Old City through Nov. 20. For ticket and venue info about these and other festival performances, visit www.firstpersonarts.org.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

MAP: New York City Street Closures August 22,…

The Percy Sutton Harlem 5K and NYC Family Health Walk-a-thon and Pakistan Day Parade and Fair will cause traffic delays and street closures in New York City this weekend. Plan…

International

U.N. nuclear inquiry on Iran seen making slow…

The U.N. nuclear watchdog appears to have made only limited progress so far in getting Iran to answer questions about its suspected atomic bomb research, diplomatic sources said on Friday,…

National

Violence-weary Missouri town sees second night of calm

By Nick Carey and Carey GillamFERGUSON Mo. (Reuters) - The violence-weary town of Ferguson, Missouri, saw a second straight evening of relative calm on Thursday…

National

Journalist James Foley's parents, after call with pope,…

The parents of James Foley, the American journalist killed by Islamic State militants in Iraq, on Friday called for prayer and support to free the remaining captives held by Islamic…

Television

Recap: 'The Knick,' Season 1, Episode 3, 'The…

The third episode of Steven Soderbergh's "The Knick" finds Dr. Thackery (Clive Owen) meeting an old flame and other characters embracing self-destruction.

Music

Webcast: Watch Polyphonic Spree live on Sunday Aug.…

Polyphonic Spree singer Tim DeLaughter sits with Metro Music Editor Pat Healy for a chat and then the big band performs live. It begins on Sunday at 9:30 pm

Movies

Matthew Weiner on directing 'Are You Here' and…

"Mad Men" creator Matthew Weiner discusses his movie "Are You Here," his history writing comedy and the tiny movie he directed in 1996 you can't see.

Movies

Michael Chiklis on his football past and 'When…

Michael Chiklis remembers playing football in high school and how that prepped him to play a coach in "When the Game Stands Tall."

NFL

3 things we learned about the Giants in…

The Giants claimed the Snoopy trophy in a battle of MetLife Stadium tenants Friday night. But more importantly, the offense finally showed some life in…

NFL

3 things we learned about the Jets in…

The Jets lost the Snoopy Bowl, 35-24, to the Giants, losing the trophy and local bragging rights.

NFL

Fantasy football draft guide: How to draft your…

Many are wondering if we’re entering a new age in fantasy football drafting — one where running backs take a backseat.

NFL

Jets vs. Giants: 3 Giants storylines to watch

The Giants have plenty to work on as they reach the dress rehearsal preseason game Friday night against the rival Jets.

Sex

Big weddings may lead to long-term happiness

Dreaming of a big wedding? A new study indicates that the longer your guest list, the happier you’ll be in the long run. l A…

Sex

Online dating for every generation

Frank Jackson and his mother Maggie are like lots of modern families: They have dinner together regularly, keep each other updated on their lives —…

Wellbeing

Going green could be the key to getting…

If we could just pursue the things that would actually make us happy, we could help the environment too, according to a New York researcher.…

Tech

Siren: A new dating app that puts women…

Online dating can be brutal, especially for single women. Noting that many women hate wading through inappropriate messages and photos, two tech entrepreneurs decided to…