TDPS’ Production of Collidescope: Adventures in Pre- and Post-Racial America Contributes to National Conversation about Race Relations

Friday, October 17, 2014

CONTACT: Sarah Snyder

College Park, MD—In response to the seemingly perpetual killings of young black men in America, internationally acclaimed auteur Ping Chong and noted director and dramaturg Talvin Wilks created Collidescope: Adventures in Pre- and Post-Racial America in collaboration with UMD School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies’ graduate and undergraduate designers and performers. The show runs November 7-14 in the Kogod Theatre at The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center and is a world premiere performance. Conversations with the cast, designers and special panelists follow performances held November 8, 11 and 13, respectively.

About Collidescope: Adventures in Pre- and Post-Racial America

Collidescope is a devised, original work that explores the historical roots of Black and White race relations in the United States, moving back and forth in time to connect the dots between America’s troubled racial history and its on-going consequences.

Director Ping Chong says, “In response to the recent killings of Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis, Michael Brown and the seemingly endless killings of black men and boys for unarmed offenses, we have designed Collidescope to be a collision-course view of the legacy and psyche behind this history of racial violence, racism and social injustice in America. Taking an “alien” view of this aspect of “human” behavior, the gaze of Collidescope places these issues under a microscope. The world is an anthropological space, a vitrine in which to observe a “species” from a seemingly rational, scientific view.”

Collidescope examines race to address microagressions and contributes to the national conversation about these injustices that still exist today.

About Ping Chong, co-creator and director

Ping Chong is an internationally acclaimed theatre artist and pioneer in the use of media in the theatre. He founded Ping Chong + Company in 1975 to create works of theatre and art that explore the intersections of race, culture, history, art, media and technology in the modern world. Today, Ping Chong + Company produces original works by a close-knit ensemble of affiliated artists.

Since 1992, Ping Chong has created more than 90 works for the stage that have been presented at major festivals and theatres worldwide. He is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a USA Artist Fellowship, two Bessie Awards, two Obie Awards and the 2013 Doris Duke Performing Artist Award, among many others. In 1992, he created the first work in the Undesirable Elements series of community-based oral history projects of which there have now been more than 50 productions. Theatre Communications Group has published two volumes of his plays, The East West Quartet and Undesirable Elements: Real People, Real Lives, Real Theater. He is currently working on Beyond Sacred, an interview-based work exploring the diverse experiences of Muslim communities in New York, which will premiere at LaGuardia Performing Arts Center in April 2015, and PUSH about the experiences of disabled athletes for the 2015 Pan Am Games Festival in Toronto. For further information, visit

About Talvin Wilks, co-writer, director, dramaturg

Talvin Wilks is a playwright, director and dramaturg. His plays include Tod, The Boy, Tod; The Trial of Uncle S&M; Bread of Heaven; and An American Triptych. Directorial projects include the world-premiere productions of UDU by Sekou Sundiata (651Arts/BAM), The Love Space Demands by Ntozake Shange (Crossroads), No Black Male Show/Pagan Operetta by Carl Hancock Rux (Joe’s Pub/The Kitchen), Banana Beer Bath by Lynn Nottage (Going to the River Festival), the Obie Award/AUDELCOAward-winning The Shaneequa Chronicles by Stephanie Berry (Ensemble Studio Theatre), Relativity by Cassandra Medley (Ensemble Studio Theatre – AUDELCO nomination for Best Director 2006) and The Ballad of Emmett Till, by Ifa Bayeza (Penumbra Theatre Company). He has served as co-writer/co-director/dramaturg for ten productions in Ping Chong’s ongoing series of Undesirable Elements, and dramaturg for five collaborations with the Bebe Miller Company and won a 2005 Bessie Award for Going to the Wall. He is currently writing a book on black theatre, Testament: 40 Years of Black Theatre History in the Making, 1964-2004.


More information can be found on our website. Tickets for this performance are $25/$20/$10 (Regular/NextLEVEL/Students), and can be purchased online or by calling (301) 405-ARTS (2787).


Located on the University of Maryland campus and a part of the College of Arts and Humanities, the School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies (TDPS) is a dynamic community of artist-scholars who advance and transform the research and practice of their art forms. The School is committed to collaboration, innovation and entrepreneurship. TDPS, the School of Music and Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library share a space within the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, a premier presenting arts venue and collaborative laboratory for professional artists, teachers and students, serving the university and community.

The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center is supported by a grant from the Maryland State Arts Council, an agency dedicated to cultivating a vibrant cultural community where the arts thrive. An agency of the Department of Business & Economic Development, the MSAC provides financial support and technical assistance to nonprofit organizations, units of government, colleges and universities for arts activities. Funding for the Maryland State Arts Council is also provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.