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What if a huge tower sprung up on your block overnight?

Kehinde Koyejo
Clockwise from left: Ayodele Nzinga, Addie Ulrey, Amy Sass, Michael French, Sango Tajima, Anna Shneiderman


When Oakland theater company Ragged Wing Ensemble first started making work in 2004, they were renting space show-by-show.  Eventually, they made themselves a permanent home in downtown Oakland, creating a shared arts space they called the Flight Deck. It’s now home to four resident theater companies, and hosts performances, classes, workshops, and a gallery.

The show running now at the Flight Deck brings all four resident companies together. Overnight explores ideas of gentrification and displacement, through the fantastical story of a high-rise tower that appears overnight in place of a parking lot.   

Ragged Wing Ensemble’s Executive Director Anna Shneiderman came in to speak with KALW’s Jen Chien about how the play came about, and what it’s like to collaboratively produce art.

SHNEIDERMAN: We wanted the piece to not be like a 'message theater' or propaganda-style activist piece, but rather a piece that asks questions.

Overnight will be playing at The Flight Deck in downtown Oakland through April 22nd. Click here for more information.


Jen Chien was the managing editor for Crosscurrents and KALW News from 2016 to 2018. She has been a contributor to All Things Considered, Radio Netherlands Worldwide, BBC/PRI’s The World, Making Contact, SF Public Press, East Bay Express, New America Media, and KPFA in Berkeley, where she took part in the First Voice Apprenticeship Program. She is the recipient of the 2013 Outstanding Emerging Journalist Award from the Society of Professional Journalists of Northern California. She holds a BA in American Studies from Smith College, and an MA in Interdisciplinary Performance from New College of California. Before entering the field of journalism, she had a successful career as a professional dance and theater artist, teacher, and massage therapist.