SHE GON’ LEARN
By Lisa Strum
WHEN: June1, 7:30 pm; June 2, 8:00pm; June 3, 8:00pm
WHERE: Jersey City Theater Center, Merseles Studios, 339 Newark Avenue, Jersey City
TICKETS: $25 General Admission ($18 Students & Senior Citizens, with valid ID)
To purchase tickets, visit jctcenter.org or call (201) 795-5386
She Gon' Learn—the Award Winning ‘Dating While Black’ solo play that was a surprise hit on the theatre festival circuit—makes its New Jersey debut at Merseles Studios, presented by Jersey City Theatre Center (JCTC) as part of its Disruption series.
Written and performed by Lisa Strum—and directed by Christopher Burris—this autobiographical ‘dramedy’ is at turns hilarious and painful as audiences accompany Strum as she comes of age and looks for love. She Gon’ Learn shifts back and forth through different periods of her life and includes eight different characters—a distant father, a wise and supportive grandmother, and several would be suitors—all portrayed by Strum, an accomplished actress and writer.
“Lisa’s play is both incredibly honest and incredibly funny,” said Olga Levina, Artistic Director, JCTC. “She shows us a segment of society often overlooked—African American women who are well-educated and striving to succeed in life, but finding the search for love to be surprisingly complicated and difficult. Her story is one many women can relate to, especially how she ultimately finds empowerment as a woman.”
She Gon’ Learn premiered two years ago at the Emerging Artist Theatre Festival at TADA!, followed by sold out shows at the United Solo Festival at Theatre Row, where the play received one of the festival’s Best Solo Show Awards. In 2016, She Gon’ Learn performances included: The Obie Award Winning Fire This Time Festival; The National Black Theatre; The New Black Fest at The Lark Play Development Center; and The Roselle Center for the Arts, University of Delaware,
JCTC presents series of theatre, performances, readings and visual arts on a topic global in scope yet relevant to the community. The Merseles Studios run will be the first time the play has been performed in New Jersey, proving there may be nothing more disruptive than a provocative mix of comedy and honesty. “She Gon’ Learn fits perfectly into JCTC’s Disruption series because in spite of all the social and political strides women have made over the years, it’s still considered a radical act – especially for women of color – to stand in their authenticity and speak the naked truth,” said Strum. “Audiences will watch me navigate my childhood, parental relationships, the excitement of new love, the insanity of dating, and a heart breaking, yet triumphant journey, to self discovery and self love.”
She Gon’ Learn is filled with insightful observations about love, self-worth and race. “This play is a journey of self-discovery, and the particulars of undergoing that journey as a Black woman in America,” said Christopher Burris, director of the play. “Lisa learns to stand up for herself, fight for what she believes in, and the importance of respecting the name her mother gave her.”
Lisa Strum (top), born and raised in Philadelphia and currently living in Jersey City, is an actress, playwright, producer, director, singer and educator. She received an MFA in Acting from the University of Washington in Seattle and in addition to her solo show, She Gon’ Learn, Strum has performed in regional theatres all across the country. Strum also had a recurring role on Law & Order: SVU and co-stared in the television pilot Citizen Baines with James Cromwell (BABE; LA Confidential; Star Trek: First Contact). She has also performed at Lincoln Center Theatre (where she worked with Tony Award-winning director Thomas Kail) as well as Summer Stage, Signature Theatre, New Federal Theatre, Intiman Theatre, and The Fifth Avenue Theatre. As an educational consultant, she has worked in numerous public schools throughout New York and has conducted theatre workshops for Teachers College at Columbia University and worked as Theatre Specialist for the Abrons Arts Center, Barbara L. Tate Arts Camp. Strum was a Finalist for the Doric Wilson Independent Playwright Award and recently received the Playwrights Initiative Fellowship at the Djerassi Resident Artists Program for the fall of 2017.
Christopher Burris—director, actor and educato—is currently an adjunct professor at Pace University, a trainer with Ovation Communications, an Associate Producer with The New Black Fest, and a member of Home in the Time of Brooklyn (651 Arts). He directed The Brothers Size at Luna Stage which has received five 2016 Broadway World Award nominations including Best Play and Best Director. Other directing credits include the world premiere of Geese (Samuel D. Hunter) at The Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage, and When We Wake Up Dead (Dennis A. Allen II) at Brooklyn College. Burris directed Potato Salad (Keith Josef Adkins) for the inaugural year of the Obie-winning 48Hours in…Harlem, as well as the first four years of Obie-winning Fire This Time Festival, culminating in their premiere full-length production, Lords Resistance (Camille Darby). Acting credits include: television—The Guiding Light, Damage Control, As the World Turns; Stage: Oregon Shakespeare Festival, La Jolla Playhouse; commercials—Dr. Scholl’s, ESPN360, NY Post; and voice-overs—Grand Theft Auto V, McDonald’s, AT&T.