Rehearsals are underway for Playwrights Horizons' engagement of Dave Harris’ Tambo & Bones. The production is scheduled to begin performances at the Off-Broadway venue January 12, 2022, running through February 20 before playing Center Theatre Group’s Kirk Douglas Theatre in Los Angeles May 1–29.
The production stars W. Tré Davis (Seared, Zooman and the Sign) as Tambo and Tyler Fauntleroy (Tempest, Succession) as Bones alongside Brendan Dalton (Plano, Blue Man Group) and Dean Linnard (Time Temple, The Winter’s Tale). Taylor Reynolds directs.
A shape-shifting satire, Tambo & Bones roasts American capitalism’s desire for certain Black narratives, highlighting the narrow confines within which Black characters are placed. As Tambo and Bones test the limits of the frameworks they’re given, Harris’ play wrestles with the country’s racist past and present, and explodes its post-racial future.
The play was conceived as Harris considered his artistic origins doing poetry slams, and how he often found an expectation for Black artists to revisit and present trauma—often for largely white audiences.
“I was working through this and thinking through minstrelsy as the beginning of Black fictive imaginations and Black performative capitalism," Harris said in a previous statement. "Minstrelsy is so demonized in society, but it was also a pathway to freedom for so many performers. So much of this play is about individual agency and upwards mobility within these given systems. And once you have the freedom to create your own world, what then are you reaching for? In my play, the characters’ relationship to the playwright is: ‘You had the possibility to dream up any world you could have and the extent of your imagination was to put us in a minstrel show? You’re doing this, why?’”
The creative team also includes scenic designer Stephanie Osin Cohen, costume designer Dominique Fawn Hill, lighting designer Amith Chandrashaker, sound designer Mikhail Fiksel, composer Justin Ellington, stage manager John C. Moore, and assistant stage manager Bryan Bauer.