In 2017, musician/activist Toshi Reagon began creating an operatic stage adaptation of Octavia Butler's The Parable of the Sower — the 1993 Afrofuturist sci-fi novel about an America in the year 2020 that's ravaged by climate change and income inequality and greedy politicians who appeal to imaginary racists pasts while also promising to build a wall around the wealthy.
Octavia E. Butler's Parable of the Sower: A Concert Experience received renowned productions from Boston to New York to Los Angeles. And now — since it is 2020, and we're living in an America ravaged by climate change and income inequality and greedy politicians who appeal to imaginary racists pasts while also promising to build a wall around the wealthy — the arts program at Emerson College (my alma mater) has announced a year-long residency with Reagon called Parable Path Boston, which will continue to explore Butler's work alongside real-time climate activism in Boston.
To kick off the program, ArtsEmerson will be hosting a one-night screening of the show on Friday, May 22 at 6pm, followed by an online talkback with Toshi Reagon. I'm pretty sure it's free, but you have to register ahead of time for a link.
I have some friends who were involved in the early workshops of the play, who still talk about it as one of their most formative artistic experiences. I know what I'm doing Friday night; but if you're not convinced to join me yet, there's more links below.
Octavia E. Butler's Parable of the Sower [Toshi Reagon / ArtsEmerson]
Parable of the Songwriter: Toshi Reagon Explains Why an Octavia Butler-Inspired Opera Is More Relevant Than Ever [Maiysha Kai / The Root]
A Prescient Sci-Fi 'Parable' Gets Set to Music [Jeremy D. Goodwin / The New York Times]
Toshi Reagon Is Playing Out Octavia Butler's Legacy and Creating Her Own [Jamara Wakefield / Shondaland]