As the nation bristles and weeps, Fresno actors mark the murder of George Floyd
Eight minutes and 46 seconds.
Less than two weeks ago, that chunk of time wouldn’t have meant anything to anyone. Now it becomes the title of a piece of performance art produced by the Fresno-based Fools Collaborative. Intended as a creative act of solidarity with the Black Lives Matters movement, the performance — streamed online at 6 p.m. Thursday, June 4 — features a cast of Black actors marking the length of time George’s Floyd’s life was choked out of him in Minneapolis.
Here’s a rundown:
The cast: Arium Andrews, Myles Bullock, Camille Gaston, Regina Harris, Jimmy Haynie, Trey Jones, Jessica Meredith, Harrison Mills, Nwachukwu Oputa, tony sanders, Summer Session, Josh Slack, Jamar Thompson, Deseree Whitt, Kay Wilkins and Ryan Woods.
What to expect: The prelude will feature a recorded rendition of “Change Gonna Come” by Patrick Nalty, who is stationed in Afghanistan (with poor internet). The performance art event will be live, with actors Zooming in individually both locally and from around the world. Organizers don’t want to give away all the details about what people should expect, but know that it likely will be intense and essentially undirected. “Audiences will get to see our actors’ true, raw emotions,” says Haley White, artistic director of The Fools Collaborative.
The goal: to raise money for actionable organizations. The event itself is free, but people can text “FLOYD” to 44321. You’ll get a link in your messages that takes you to the donation page, where you can specify the amount. Funds collected will be divided between the Fresno State NAACP, NAACP Fresno, and Fresno Metro Black Chamber of Commerce.
The hope: “That our audience sees myself and these Black performers and artists in the Central Valley and feels that pain that we are going through while experiencing these injustices of police brutality and systemic racism,” says cast member Gaston, a longtime member of the Fools. “The images of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arberry, and countless other Black people are imprinted in all of our heads right now, and I want our community to see me and these other talented Black folks and imagine that happening to one of us, someone in their own backyard. This is not just an issue that Minneapolis is dealing with. I want this experience to incite awareness of systemic racism that is manifesting itself here in Fresno and the surrounding cities.”