Playwright, Director, Producer
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
By Kevin Powell
Artist and performer Iyaba Ibo Mandingo is undeniably talented. Though he describes himself “as a painter and a poet,” in UnFramed, Mandingo also demonstrates his abilities as a singer, dancer, performance artist, standup comedian and storyteller. With the aid of director Brent Buell (From Sing Sing to Broadway; The Gem Exchange), Mandingo combines his talents and produces a multimedia performance that is entertaining, thought-provoking and truly beautiful.
Column @ law.com
War on Immigrants Continues Unabated
The Connecticut Law Tribune
May 12, 2003
The case of Iyaba Mandingo, poet, father of five, teacher and now prisoner, is typical of hundreds around the country as government officials, in a supposed hunt for terrorists, expel our friends and neighbors. Eighty years ago the government rounded up Italians on false charges; today, it's mostly people of color.
BIOS, Iyaba Mandingo's unFRAMED
IYABA IBO MANDINGO (Playwright, Performer) poet, painter, writer, and playwright - is a native of Antigua, West Indies, who came to the United States in 1980 as a young boy. His earliest exposures to the arts were through his mother, a professional singer, and his grandparents, a tailor and a seamstress who first introduced him to colors and patterns, paving a path to his many ways of expression: drawing, painting, sculpting, writing and performing. Iyaba studied fine arts at Southern Connecticut State University and today teaches in and around the tri-state area as a Master Teaching Artist. He is a member of the Harlem Arts Alliance.
Iyaba is a two-time Connecticut Grand Slam champion and in January 2011 won Yale University’s Martin Luther King Birthday Invitational Slam, his third such win. He appears regularly as a performance poet in venues across the United States and abroad, including Nuyorican Poetry Café, Brooklyn Moon, and Next Door Café among others in the NY area and was the keynote performer at the 2011 Westchester, NY Poetry Festival.
Iyaba was awarded a national Percent for the Arts Program artist grant, as well as grants from the Connecticut Commission on the Arts, and multiple commendations from the Nassau County African American Museum. His artwork has been included in over a dozen group and individual shows in the tri-state area. He was recently seen at 59E59 as Henry in Deb Margolin’s The Expenses of Rain (Laura Barnett, director). He is the author of three chapbooks of poetry, 41 Times, Amerikkan Exile and his latest, 40 days & 40 nites of write. His new novel, Sins of My Fathers, will be released in early 2012. He is a New York Theatre Workshop Summer, 2011 Artist in Residence.
unFRAMED is Iyaba’s first full-length play in poetry and prose, during which he uses his canvas to paint his physical portrait while using his words to tell his personal story, a story of an undocumented immigrant boy's journey to manhood through the perils of adolescence, the pitfalls of racism and the challenges of finding identity in his new country.
unFRAMED is winner of the 2011 Excellence in Theatre Award from the DC Black Theatre Festival. The play has been presented all over the east coast, including at the Railroad Playhouse in Newburgh, the Puffin Cultural Forum, as a Spotlight show at the DC Black Theatre Festival; at colleges and universities (York College -- NY, Nichols College -- MA, University of Baltimore -- MD, Rider College -- NJ); galleries (Casa Frela -- Harlem, Gallery 1212 -- CT) and the Hudson Valley Writers Center. unFRAMED is part of the 2011 Art of Justice Series at the Gerald W. Lynch Theater in NYC.
BRENT BUELL has taken the directorial helm on work including From Sing Sing to Broadway, which premiered at Playwrights Horizons in NYC; his comedy The Gem Exchange; Rosemary Hester’s You Can’t Leave That There; Wood Bars, which he wrote with Miguel Valentin for the opening of John Buffalo Mailer and Tom Kail’s Back House Productions; and his Las Vegas spectacular, Undone Divas. He wrote and directed The Terrors of Teri, a film for Ohio University’s University College, and Goddess Films tapped him to direct its new comedy Moses (selected for the 2011 Art of Brooklyn Film Festival) starring Rosie DeSanctis. Brent has taught at CUNY and for The Working Theater. For ten years, he volunteered with the non-profit organization Rehabilitation Through the Arts, directing theater in New York’s maximum-security prisons. There his productions of plays, ranging from John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men to three original works by prisoners, have earned praise from critics, including from The New York Times. His Breakin’ the Mummy’s Code premiered at Sing Sing and was the subject of a feature article in Esquire by bestselling author, John Richardson. His experiences provided the basis for his chapter “Drama in the Big House” in the book Performing New Lives, Prison Theater by Jonathan Shailor.
An accomplished actor, Brent has appeared in classic roles from Shakespeare and Ibsen to Moliere and Strindberg, and on the big screen in both the hit comedy Grand Opening and the soon to be released controversial thriller Al Qarem. He has written two novels, Rapturous (early 2012) and Daniel and My Revelation (Fall 2012). Mr. Buell received his M.A. from Ohio University where he studied with novelist Herbert Gold.
JANE DUBIN is the President of DOUBLE PLAY CONNECTIONS, a theatrical production and management company committed to supporting emerging artists & playwrights in the creation and development of new works. Jane is a graduate of the Commercial Theatre Institute's 14 week (NYC) and O’Neill Center Intensive (CT) Producing Workshops and a member of TRU’s Producer Mentorship Program. Broadway: The Norman Conquests (7 TONY nominations, winner – TONY, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Best Play Revival); Off-Broadway: Groundswell, starring Larry Bryggman, David Lansbury and Souleymane Sy Savane; Beebo Brinker Chronicles at 37 Arts (2008 GLAAD Media Award for Theatre); National Tour: The 39 Steps. Other: OPA! at TBG Theatre (Best Commercial Production, MITF 2008; TRU Voices Award for Most Promising New Musical 2007), Take Me America by Bill Nabel and Bob Christianson (Best Musical, MITF 2007), Count Down, by Dominique Cieri, at the Bank Street Theatre and MentalPause by Margaret Liston, at the WorkShop Theatre (MITF 2006) and Solo Play Lab (NYC) and Society Hill Playhouse in Philadelphia. Jane is also the consulting producer for Moving Mantras, a dance company inspired by the practice of yoga. www.DoublePlayConnections.com