The Blood Quilt
By Katori Hall
Directed by Kamilah Forbes
Originally produced at Arena Stage, Washington, DC.
April 24, 2015 through June 7, 2015
About the Premiere Production
Welcome to the Jernigan Gals’ Quilting Corner. Gathering at their childhood island home off the coast of Georgia, four disconnected sisters meet to create a family quilt to honor their recently deceased mother. When their reunion turns into a reading of their mother’s will, everyone must grapple with a troubling inheritance. Stitched with history and ritual, laughter and tears, will their “blood quilt” bind the family together or tear them apart forever?
The world premiere of the moving new play by Katori Hall, The Blood Quilt, is a significant part of Arena Stage’s 2014/15 season. Katori Hall was an inaugural member of Arena’s resident playwrights program, where Arena Stage supported residencies for the development of new work through providing a salary, space and time for writing, research, readings, and workshops to create new works for the theater. I am so pleased that this particular play had its first reading at Arena Stage and will now premiere its first full production. This is by far Katori’s most personal play. She has a brilliant talent for creating real characters and these women are complex and divided. Issues, fears and concerns around losing a parent are a big part of the zeitgeist in this moment. Baby boomers are experiencing the slow dance of death as well as the sometimes instant shock of the unexpected death. How we view aging is pressed right up against our view of the next generation when we absorb the death of a parent. Katori's play fearlessly navigates this material. A very important part of my artistic philosophy for developing new work is that a new play does not end up fully baked after its first production. It often takes two or three full productions for a play to grow into its voice. Still, it is immensely exciting and gratifying to be able to share in the birth of Katori’s play. There will be yelling and screaming along the way, as with all births, but I already see the beauty in this baby’s eyes and I look forward to seeing future productions of the play where the baby becomes an adult—a parent, if you will, to other new plays.
Director: Kamilah Forbes
Dramaturg: Jocelyn Clarke
Additional Funders: National Endowment for the Arts