» Catalyst Series
Tru Ruts Endeavors and Intermedia Arts present the WORLD PREMIERE of
A Daring and Provocative Performance by Shá Cage
Evening Performances: January 22 - 24, 2015 | 7:30PM
Matinee Performance: January 24, 2015 | 4:30PM

$15 advance, student, senior | $18 door
$10/ticket for groups of eight or more. Call the box office for group sales
$10-25 sliding scale for the Thursday, January 22 performance
Seating is Limited - Get Your Tickets Now!

Photos by Sean Smuda

Don't miss Shá Cage's highly anticipated, stirring, and culturally-charged new work: U/G/L/Y. U/G/L/Y is the second in a three-part trilogy examining identity; the first was "N-Word" which premiered to sold out audiences in March of 2013. With U/G/L/Y, Cage's voice is stronger than ever, seeking to challenge stereotypes of beauty while illuminating popular ideologies with this daring and provocative 80-minute integration of drama, poetic verse, movement, and elements of clown.

With Cage seamlessly inhabiting multiple characters, U/G/L/Y builds a narrative from national and global cases, telling a story that is both personal and universal, exploring aging, eating disorders, postpartum depression, and the color complex through multiple female lenses.

"U/G/L/Y conjures a rare immediacy while invoking laughter, tears, and hollers all in the same breath"

Cage has gained a reputation for risk-taking over the past ten years through her solo performances and community collaborations, such as her recent curation The Blacker the Berry ... which featured more than 50 female artists of color at Intermedia Arts. Cage's fearless and gut-wrenching portrayal of a fighter pilot in Frank Theater's recent Grounded captivated audiences, and her performances at the Guthrie, Penumbra, and Mixed Blood have garnered rave reviews as a performer, playwright, spoken word poet, and performance artist. She has cultivated a loyal following for her ritually based diasporic signature work.

Intermedia Arts and Tru Ruts present this first performance in an NPN Creation Fund year-long tour. This exciting opportunity will allow Cage an unprecedented national platform of exposure to her work. Purchasing advanced tickets is encouraged!
U/G/L/Y features a stellar team of collaborators including E.G. Bailey (Director), Chastity Brown (Vocalist/Musician), Ananya Chatterjea (Movement Advisor), Kenna Cottman (Movement Advisor), Katherine Horowitz (Sound Assistant), Sherine Onukwuwe (Videographer), Katherine Pehrson (Violinist/Vocalist), Janaki Ranpura (Installation Advisor), and Farrington Starnes (Videographer).


Thursday, January 22

Post-Show Dialogue with Dr. Joi Lewis and Danielle Mkali following the 7:30PM performance

Friday, January 23

Post-Show Dialogue with Karla Nweje and Sun Yung Shin

Saturday, January 24

Community Chat & Chew sponsored by the Women's Foundation of Minnesota

Launched in 1983 as the very first statewide women’s foundation in the country, the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota invests in social change to achieve equality for all women and girls in Minnesota.


"We started out U/G/L/Y with a certain clarity and lens. I realized that it's more complicated than that for me. I really want to honor that."
READ MORE | Shá Cage Interviewed by Sheila Regan for City Pages

"As these protests, community actions, and calls for pulbic institutions to reform take place, what obligation do artists have to engage with events in Ferguson, Staten Island, and here in MN?"
LISTEN | Shá Cage in a Conversation with Sarah Bellamy and Ananya Chatterjea on Art and Race in the Community

Shá Cage (Writer/Performer) is an actor, writer, activist and spoken word artist.  Her work and activism has taken her all across the U.S, to South Africa, England, France, the Netherlands, Croatia, Mali, Germany and Canada. She was named a “Changemaker” by the Women's Press, was awarded a regional Emmy, is the recipient of a 2011 McKnight Theater Fellowship and received an ensemble Ivey Award in 2013. She was recently awarded a distinguished TCG/Fox Fellowship and just named one the Star Tribune “Best of 2014 Movers and Makers” for her lead role in Frank Theatre's Grounded. Other noted theater roles include: Mamie Till in Penumbra Theater's Ballad of Emmett Till, Lena in the Guthrie Theater's Clybourne Park,'Venus in Frank Theater's Venus, and Josephine in Mixed Blood's Ruined.  She can  be seen in television commercials such as Slumberland and Hamburger Helper and is a co-founder of Mama Mosaic Theater (for Women) and the MN Spoken Word Association. She will be touring this work in the U.S. and in England in 2015.  www.truruts.com
E.G. Bailey (Director) directed Cage in her first solo work N Word. He  is an award winning theatre artist, filmmaker, and spoken word artist. His album, American Afrikan, debuted on the CMJ Hip Hop Charts. Recognized by artists such as Amiri Baraka, Nikki Giovanni, The Last Poets, and others, he is one of the leading spoken word artists of his generation. Born in Liberia, he is a founder of several foundational entities in the local and national community including Tru Ruts and MN Spoken Word Association. He has worked with Amiri Baraka on an adaptation of Baraka's Wise Why's Y's. E.G. is also a recipient of an Emmy Award, a winner of the Hughes Knight Diop Poetry Award, and has been nominated for an Independent Music Award. He assisted Marion McClinton  on several works including Marcus and Othello at the Guthrie and The Road Weeps at Pillsbury House Theater amongst others, in addition to co-curating the Late Nite Series with Laurie Carlos at Pillsbury House, editing films, and he can be heard on KFAI Fresh Air Radio. www.egbailey.comegbailey.bandcamp.com


Katherine Pehrson (Violinist/Vocalist)
is an instrumentalist, vocalist, writer, student, actor, educator, and critic. Kate's work has been featured on stage, on page, on film, on air, and in front of the class. Kate's career began at the age of 4 learning violin through the Suzuki method, eventually expanding into the areas of vocal and piano studies as well. Her academic background is in history, theater and education, with a B.A. from St. Olaf College and an M.A.T. from the University of St. Thomas. As an arts educator, Kate spent several years working in visual arts education at metro-area schools and museums, including the Weisman Art Museum and the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.Kate self-produced two music albums, and has contributed to several other collaborative recorded works, most recently with Minneapolis's own J. Otis Powell?!. Kate has performed in numerous live theater, choral, orchestral, and spoken word performances. She has written and contributed to a range of publications and anthologies, most recently serving as a film critic for Southern Minnesota Scene. She is a founding member of local band Prairie Dog Fight Club and the Minnesota Poetry Slam (SlamMN!). Kate lives in the suburbs with her husband and two daughters.

Chastity Brown (Musician/ Vocalist on Thursday & Friday) She'll put a spell on you. Sweet as molasses and woodsmoke, clear and burning as summer sun, Chastity Brown casts magic. Her voice brings you to the crossroads with every turn, warms, comforts and challenges you. She is the inheritor of Leadbelly, Nina Simone, Bonnie Raitt and Roberta Flack. She is past, present and future. She is fire, earth, air and water. She's a natural.Throw all the genres and hyphenates together you want to describe her - gospel, roots & soul, jazz, blues & country - they are all right, and also not enough. Chastity channels songs that are borne deep in the American bone, the hunger, desperation and confidence that runs through our times. Coming from Tennessee to Minnesota, touring the country, she has had half her own lifetime and million lifetimes gone before to concoct her powerful sound. Ignite it all with love, and the rest is rapture. With her fourth full-length record, Back-Road Highways, Chastity pushes her own natural talent even farther, to stunning effect. Back-Road Highways was recorded at the venerable Helsinki South studios in Nashville, Tennessee with the support of her new label C & D Music Network, giving Chastity a return to Southern warmth and a roster of heavyweight studio musicians with credits such as Mavis Staples, Garth Brooks and BeBe & CeCe Winans to lay down tracks. Also on Back-Road Highways is guitarist Robert Mulrennan of No Bird Sing, who plays with Chastity in her live band. Chastity pulls from a diverse cross-section of talent for her live shows, playing with percussionist Michael X, keyboardist deVon Gray (Heiruspecs) and bass player Jef Sundquist (Hildur Victoria), resulting in restless, electrifying and completely enveloping performances that never want to stop and linger long after the last note has quieted. Back-Road Highways is the best yet from Chastity. She opens with the slow, pulsing insistence of "House Been Burnin", a cry out for our needs, then follows it up with the rocking blues of "When We Get There" and the plaintive, moving roots of "Solely". Chastity turns it all around and brings out the joys and sorrows of love with the enormous, pleading, "Say It", and throughout Back-Road Highways, Chastity sings it all out, gives us all a reason to keep on going one more day. A talent like this doesn't appear overnight. It takes travel, it takes guts. It takes chance, work and luck. It takes love. Get ready to love Chastity Brown.

Ananya Chatterjea (Movement Advisor) is the Artistic Director of Ananya Dance Theatre (www.ananyadancetheatre.org), whose work was recently described by Dance Magazine’s Wendy Perron as “strong…fierce, Odissi-based.” She is the proud recipient of a 2012 McKnight Choreography Fellowship and a 2011 Guggenheim Choreography Fellowship. Previously, she was featured as an “Artist of the Year” in City Pages (2001), named a “Changemaker” by the Minnesota Women’s Press (2005), and voted "Best Choreographer" by City Pages (2007). She has received the “21 leaders for the 21st Century” Award and the Josie Johnson Social Justice and Human Rights Award. She is also the proud recipient of grants from prestigious organizations such as the Asian Arts Initiative, McKnight Foundation, the Minnesota State Arts Board, Jerome Foundation, as well as a prestigious artist fellowship from the Bush Foundation. Recent engagements include performances at performances and master classes at the Harare International Festival for the Arts, Zimbabwe; dance talks at University of Rome and Kunsthistoriches Institut, Florence; and a performance at the Indian Council of Cultural Relations, Kolkata, India (2013); Festivale Danca Indiana de America de Sul in Campinas, Brazil; Indigenous Contemporary Dance Festival at National Hispanic Cultural Center, Albuquerque; and Norwegian Theater Academy, Oslo (2012); and an artist residency at New Waves Institute in Trinidad (2011). Her most recent work Neel was described as “powerful…dreams and dance in a potent combo” where the dancers “toil even within their mastery of the movement because there’s more at stake here than an evening of entertainment. They are dancing for their own lives and for the lives of women all over the world whose dancing — and dreams — we will never know” (Star Tribune, 9/19/14). Ananya is celebrating 10 years of working with dance as social justice with Ananya Dance Theatre, making “People Powered Dances of Transformation.” She is Professor of Dance at the University of Minnesota.
Kenna-Camara Cottman (Movement Advisor) has worked in the field of dance for over 20 years, and has been a full-time artist since 2005. Kenna is a Black American Griot, following in the oral tradition of storytelling through art. She has studied traditional and contemporary drum and dance forms, and she is a dance educator who teaches about the history of African peoples through art, culture, movement and song. Managing her own company: Voice of Culture Drum and Dance, has given Kenna the opportunity to train with world class artists and develop her traditional skills. Combining these forms with her experiences, Kenna creates contemporary Black dance that deals with interesting topics, confusing cultural ideas, and movement-based puzzles. Kenna is a recipient of a 2014 McKnight Fellowship for Dancers, and a 2013 Sage Award for Performance. Kenna is also Cultural Movement and Literacy teacher at Hall Elementary in North Minneapolis, and a member of the S.W.A.G. team of radical educators.  Kenna-Camara Cottman is based in Minneapolis, MN and supported by her artistic family, William and Beverly Cottman, Yonci Jameson and Ebrima Sarge. www.kennacottman.com

Katherine Horowitz (Sound Assistant) has been designing sound since the turn of the century. Her work has been heard regionally at Pillsbury House Theatre, Mixed Blood Theatre, Penumbra Theatre, Park Square Theatre, Walking Shadow Theatre Company, Mu Performing Arts, Torch Theater, Gremlin Theatre, Girl Friday Productions, and nationally at the Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theatre (Wellfleet, MA) and the Provincetown Tennessee Williams Festival (Provincetown, MA). A graduate of the University of Iowa, Katharine also teaches sound design workshops to young professionals. More information can be found at www.katsound.com.

Zenzele Isoke(Community Facilitator) is an Associate Professor of Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies at the University of Minnesota.
Dr. Joi Lewis (Community Facilitator) is a Freedom Fighter, Healer, Life Coach, Consultant, Part-Time Professor and CEO of Joi Unlimited, LLC that holds space for radical self care, restorative social justice and mindful leadership.

Brianna McCurry (Production Assistant)is an alum of the Penumbra Summer Institute and Mama Mosaic's Conservatory for Women. She is an actor and stage manager and is active in the community around social justice issues. She recently managed The Blacker the Berry… production at Intermedia Arts.

Danielle Mkali (Community Facilitator) is a community organizer and Program Officer at Nexus Community Partners.
Karla Nweje (Community Facilitator) is a Dance Professional and Arts Educator.

Sherine Onukwuwe (Filmmaker and Videographer) is founder of Souleyefilms; a multi-media company that produces creative work for artists, small businesses, organizations and individuals seeking to create professional and powerful content.

Janaki Ranpura (Installation Advisor) unites technology with the traditional tricks of puppet theater. She is a playwright, performer, and public artist developing the interaction between the human body and the spaces and objects that surround it. This manifests in large-scale civic spectacle, platforms for public dreaming, and work for the stage. She has designed and led parades in Taiwan, South Korea, and the United States, received awards from many organizations, including the Playwrights' Center of Minneapolis (2011-3 Many Voices Fellow), Forecast Public Art (for The Movable City), the Henson Foundation (for research and production of "The God Box"), and a Citation of Excellence for her large-scale shadow theater piece "Lovesick Sea Play" from the international puppetry organization UNIMA. She has exhibited at Art Basel Parcours and the Walker Art Center with Pedro Reyes, and was a 2010 Artist on the Verge fellow through Steve Dietz's Northern Lights.MN. She trained with Larry Reed's company Shadowlight, at École Lecoq, and at Yale University.
Sun Yung Shin (Community Facilitator) is an author of poetry, co-editor and educator.

ABOUT TRU RUTS ENDEAVORS | TruRuts.com -or- myspace.com/TruRuts
Tru Ruts Endeavors is a multi-disciplinary artistic enterprise ranging from a record label, theatre productions, a radio series, visual art exhibits and film productions. It has been a major innovator + trailblazer in the Twin Cities often producing shows to sold out audiences and critical acclaim. Tru Ruts/Speakeasy Records is a premier record label based in the Twin Cities, with a roster of nine artists and has been called 'a record label of this generation.' The roster also includes Truthmaze, El Guante, Sha Cage, e.g. bailey, See More Perspective, Quilombolas and others. 

U/G/L/Y is a National Performance Network (NPN) Creation Fund Project co-commissioned by Intermedia Arts and NPN. The Creation Fund is supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Ford Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts (a federal agency). The Forth Fund is supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. For more information: www.npnweb.org


This presentation is also made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.

A Part of Intermedia Arts' Catalyst Series