Their graves are unmarked, but their stories will be brought to life.
This weekend, Single Carrot Theatre presents “Unmarked: Stories Told,” featuring three staged readings to observe the memory of 41 unmarked gravesites of African Americans in the cemetery of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Waverly.
Single Carrot Theatre is located at 3001 Old York Road, next to St. John’s and the cemetery where the staged readings will be held over three days.
The team behind the readings worked with local historian Jessica Douglas to recover “as much historical information as possible” about those buried in the unmarked graves, according to Single Carrot’s website. Douglas and the “Unmarked: Stories Told” team also studied information about life for Black Americans in the Reconstruction Era.
Three local playwrights were commissioned to write scripts based on that research: “Battles” by Baltimore-based playwright Seku Chikelu; “Women without Virtue” by D.C. doctoral candidate Jordan Ealy; and “No One Could Follow” by Baltimore vocalist, actor, and playwright Megan Livingston.
The reading for “Battles” will be held on Friday, July 15, at 7pm; “Women without Virtue” on Saturday, July 16, at 7 p.m.; and “No One Could Follow” on Sunday, July 12, at 2 p.m.
The readings are being directed by Shayla Lowe, Bernard Johnson, and Christen Cromwell, respectively. They are being produced by Single Carrot Theatre, ArtsCentric, and Two Strikes Theater Collective, respectively.
“Unmarked: Stories Told” is free to the public, and tickets can be reserved on Single Carrot Theatre’s website. Food trucks will be on site, and Single Carrot encourages attendees to bring their own blankets.
Since its construction in 1847, St. John’s has been a landmark of the Waverly neighborhood. In 1976, the church was added to the National Register of Historical Places.
By commemorating the lives of those interred, Single Carrot Theatre hopes to “acknowledge the wrongdoings of past and present with the goal of healing and strengthening community ties today.”