On February 1-2, 2009 Signature Theatre Company presented a staged reading of Douglas Turner Ward's Day of Absence, the landmark play that inspired the founding of the Negro Ensemble Company. Ward directed a cast of 17 for the reading, among them several original cast members. The cast included Peggy Alston, Norman Bush, Yaya DaCosta, Keith David, Brandon Dirden, Jason Dirden, Arthur French, January LaVoy, William Jay Marshall, Kathryn Meisle, Erica Peeples, Terrence Riggins, Heather Alicia Simms, Joyce Sylvester, Raphael Nash Thompson and Allie Woods.
The show, performed in white face, featured make-up design by Erin Kennedy Lunsford. Jessica Pabst provided the costumes, with Michael Jarrett on lights and Graham Johnson on sound.
Check out these pictures of the cast getting ready backstage before the staged reading.
Keith David with make-up designer Erin Kennedy Lunsford
Raphael Nash Thompson
Heather Alicia Simms
All photos by Gregory Costanzo