BLACK MARY, Virtual Performance, at Pittsburgh's Demaskus Theatre Collective


photo: public domain photo of Mary Fields ("Black Mary") circa 1895.

Pittsburgh's DEMASKUS Theater Collective in association with Post Theatrical, an international festival of plays that use the post as a theatrical medium conceived and coordinated by RealTime Interventions, is excited to announce that tickets are currently on sale for BLACK MARY. This interactive theater experience honors the life and times of Mary Fields (1832- 1914), the first African American female United States Star Route mail carrier. Deemed "one of the freest souls ever to draw a breath, or a .38," Black Mary, at the age of sixty years old bravely endured the unforgiving weather and rocky terrain of Montana to deliver mail throughout her eight year career. Her determination, reliability, and groundbreaking acts have cemented in her history as an unsung hero whose story deserves to be told.


“Black women are the most resilient and resourceful people on the planet,” shared Shaunda Miles McDill who founded DEMASKUS in 2006. “Time and time again, we have delivered ourselves, our loved ones, communities, and nations. Today’s most prominent Black women blaze trails because women like Mary Fields traveled those trails first. You don’t have to be Black or a woman to buy a ticket, but this experience centers and celebrates the lives of Black women who raised this nation’s babies (even while they themselves were enslaved) and continue to undergird every facet of our society. We are grateful for RealTime Interventions and the opportunity to tell this story.”


Tickets for BLACK MARY ($18.65 - $100) can be purchased through Post Theatrical. Participants have the option to choose from three different levels of the Black Mary experience ranging from receiving a satchel of curated items that may have been similar to those carried by Fields during her treacherous mail deliveries through the Cascade Mountains to simply purchasing a ticket for the final online culminating event.


The deadline for purchasing tickets for the mail engagement is April 1. Satchels will include period-specific survival items that mimic what Black Mary would have used on her journeys (maps, jerky, a flask, cigar, small Bible) as well as some contemporary pieces and a journal for responses to writing prompts received from Black Mary herself, played by Pittsburgh artist and co-producer, Karla C. Payne. The creative team for BLACK MARY also includes actor, singer, and co-producer Charles E. Timbers Jr.; Pittsburgh actress and playwright Kim El--who ironically once played August Wilson’s Black Mary (Wilks) in a production of Gem of the Ocean--will utilize portions of materials mailed back to Black Mary as source material for the final written mini-series.


Partners for the production include Wellness Woman Therapy, founded by millennial therapist, Autumn Goodson. Goodson will develop the 30-day journaling guide and motivational text exchanges utilized throughout the mail exchange as well as monitor responses to make sure participants progress on a healthy path toward healing and liberation. Phoinix Premier Events will design and develop the satchels.


An unlimited number of tickets for BLACK MARY are available and on sale for the final event, which can be purchased separately now until June 19th for $18.65 in honor of the announcement of freedom for enslaved Africans.


This production is part of RealTime Interventions’ POST THEATRICAL, a festival of works that use mail as a theatrical medium. The festival features works by a collective of 13 theater groups and over 50 artists originating in 8 cities across the globe. Running through June 30, 2021, POST THEATRICAL offers a diverse range of works that use the medium of mail in a broad range of ways.


DEMASKUS Theater Collective in association with Post Theatrical present

BLACK MARY

A U.S. Postal and Virtual Performance Event Honoring Mary Fields

Mail Engagement: April 12 - May 7

Final Online Event: June 17 - 19 (Juneteenth Weekend)

For tickets and more information please visit www.posttheatrical.org.


DEMASKUS Theater Collective, having emerged from Los Angeles to Pittsburgh in 2012, is a national service-oriented collective of fifteen artists and administrators seeking to make known the messages of the marginalized through the production and presentation of quality, compassionate, and inclusive artistic events. For more information, please visit https://www.demaskus.com/.

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