BY: Nikkole Salter
THE STORY: It was 1995 in Brooklyn when two young men ex-
perienced the untimely loss of their best friend. In his honor
they decided then and there that, despite their differences, no
matter where life took them, they would take care of his younger
brother, and get together on the anniversary of his death to cele-
brate the life he should have had. So, on a cold day in the winter
of 1996, these three 20-somethings board a plane for Rio De Janeiro for a taste of the good life: sun, fun, and, of course, women - what better way to pay homage to a fallen friend? But what starts out as a joyride takes an unexpected turn and the three sex tourists find themselves in a situation that will change their friendships and their lives forever.
Full Length (Mature & Explicit Language & Content)
CARNAVAL received its world premiere production in an extended run at Luna Stage, (Jane Mandel, Artistic Director; Dara Falco Interm Managing Director) Jan. 30 - Mar. 17, 2013, in West Orange, NJ, directed by Cheryl Katz with the following designers: Set, C. Murdock Lucas; Lighting, Jorge Arroyo, Costume, Deborah Caney; and Sound, Steve Brown; Projection Design, Jay Spriggs; Fight Direction, Dan O'Driscoll. The Production Manager was Liz Cesario, the Stage Manager was Mary Ellen Allison and the Assistant Stage Manager was Christina Balkovic. The cast was as follows: Terrell Wheeler as Raheem Monroe; Jaime Lincoln Smith as Jalani; Anton Floyd as Demetrius.
CARNAVAL received its New York City premiere production at Dr. Barbara Ann Teer's National Black Theatre October 21 - November 16, 2014, directed by Awoye Timpo. This production received seven 2015 AUDELCO nominations for Best Dramatic Production, Best Playwright, Best Director, Best Ensemble Performance, Best Costume Design, Best Scenic Design and Best Sound Design. For information, photos, videos, audio and links to reviews and press from the NBT production click here.
LINKS TO REVIEWS from the LUNA STAGE Production
STAR LEDGER "...an AMBITIOUS and REWARDING show... Salter’s dialogue flows easily and authentically, sprinkled with humor and pop culture references... her insights and critical eye feed naturally into the story — and she packs a lot in....Salter creates a DETAILED and ABSORBING world... HER STRONG VOICE RESONATES and Luna Stage should be commended for taking on this work."
EXAMINER "This is a FASCINATING, FREQUENTLY FUNNY, but harsh study... This is not a Disney inspired night of theatre... but, this is fine theatre."
PASCACK VALLEY COMMUNITY LIFE "...FRESH, ORIGINAL, DRAMATIC and OFTEN FUNNY...CARNAVAL is a RIVETING, original script... It should be experienced."
Q ONSTAGE "[CARNAVAL] is REMARKABLE for what it says as well as what it doesn’t say … there is a thrumming darkness that throws the famine economy, whose chief product is the peddling of sex and flesh to sexual tourists, into the most BRILLIANT and REVEALING light...Obie Award-winning playwright Nikkole Salter has written a remarkable play that is TREMENDOUS in SCOPE."
NY TIMES "...one might argue that this story, which features African-American characters, could just as well have been about three white or Asian men...Ms. Salter’s script UNFOLDS EXPERTLY, revealing backgrounds and secrets gracefully, adding some serious tension near the end."