unFRAMED

AFO FEST

unFRAMED

Written and Performed by Iyaba Ibo Mandingo

Directed by Brent Buell

October 2011

 

 

Meet Iyaba Ibo Mandingo, formerly Kenny Athel George DeCruise – painter, poet, husband, father, son, and undocumented immigrant from Antigua.  At the age of eleven, Iyaba is plucked from the tropical comfort of his boyhood and taken to life in America where he must navigate his way to manhood without the guidance of a father.  Using canvas, paint, poetry, prose, and song, Iyaba tells us a story of his transformation from “Mommy Me No Wanna Go Merrica” – a prophetic piece that hints at the many trials he will face in a new land – to his powerful political poetry that would lead to his arrest and attempted deportation in post 9/11 America.  Throughout the play Iyaba shares his rage, determination, and hope; he struggles to redefine his humanity, rediscover his smile, and truly accept himself for the first time, all while he paints his self-portrait.

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Press

 

“Over the course of these ninety riveting minutes of sheer lightning, the gentleman manages to sing,

to dance and to act in a variety of ages and accents, and also tell his acclaimed spoken-word poetry and

to captivate from his very first nanosecond on stage.”

Nite Life Exchange

 

“One of the most powerful, sometimes funny, often angry but

ultimately life-affirming shows I’ve ever seen! GO EXPERIENCE IT!!!”

Frank Lowell, WQTB

 

“If you are looking to see something that will have you talking for days, maybe weeks, go see unFRAMED.” 

The Hudson Valley Parent

 

“The play’s ability to transcend race and class and give refreshing life to universal themes has

made unFRAMED resonate so well across demographic boundaries.”

Chronogram

 

2011 Excellence in Theatre Award from the DC Black Theatre Festival

IYABA IBO MANDINGO Mandingo (playwright/performer) is a poet, painter, writer, and playwright who is a native of Antigua, West Indies, who came to the United States in 1980 as a young boy.  His earliest exposures to the arts were through his mother, a professional singer, and his grandparents, a tailor and a seamstress who first introduced him to colors and patterns, paving a path to the many ways of expression: drawing, painting, sculpting, writing and performing.  Iyaba studied fine arts at Southern Connecticut State University and today teaches in and around the tri-state area as a Master Teaching Artist.

 

Iyaba is a two-time Connecticut Grand Slam champion and in 2011 won Yale University’s Martin Luther King Birthday Invitational Slam, his third such win.  He appears regularly as a performance poet in venues across the United States and abroad, including Nuyorican Poetry Café, Brooklyn Moon, and Next Door Café among others in the NY area and was the keynote performer at the 2011 Westchester, NY Poetry Festival.  He was recently seen at 59E59 in Deb Margolin’s The Expenses of Rain (Laura Barnett, director).  He is the author of three chapbooks of poetry, 41 Times, Amerikkan Exile and his latest, 40 days & 40 nites of write.  His new novel, Sins of My Fathers, will be released in early 2012.  He is a New York Theatre Workshop Summer 2011 Artist in Residence.

 

Iyaba was awarded a national Percent for the Arts Program artist grant, as well as grants from the Connecticut Commission on the Arts, and multiple commendations from the Nassau County African American Museum.  His artwork has been included in over a dozen group and individual shows in the tri-state area.