During a summer of COVID-19 cancellations, a ray of hope: Farmers Alley Theatre, in collaboration with Face Off Theatre and the Black Arts and Cultural Center, will stage Three Little Birds in LaCrone Park and Bronson Park in Kalamazoo this month. The family-friendly show, featuring the music of reggae legend Bob Marley, has an adult cast of six and a story by Cedella Marley, the daughter of Bob Marley. Cara Lieurance spoke with Farmers Alley artistic director Jeremy Koch and Three Little Birds director Marissa Harrington, artistic director of Face Off Theatre, about how they ran rehearsals during a pandemic and how the story of Three Little Birds is one especially suited for uncertain times.
The all-Black cast includes top talents Michael Davis Arnold (Ziggy), Bri Edgerton (Nansi/Spanish Bird #2/British Colonizer Bird/Sister Indian Bird); Ariel Laws (Duppy/Great Grandfather Spanish Bird); Khadijah Brown (Tacoomah/Great Grandmother British Bird/Cousin Chinese Bird); Este'fan Kizer (Doctor Bird/Ensemble) and Rhea Olivacce (Cedella/Montego/Spanish Bird/Great Aunt African Bird). Director Marissa Harrington says it feels fantastic to rehearse in person, albeit well-distanced and outdoors. Koch recommends attendees arrive 30 minutes prior to showtime to find appropriate viewing spots. Masks will be required. Shows are at 4 pm and 7 pm at LaCrone Park on August 15, and 4 pm and 7 pm at Bronson Park on August 22 and 29.