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Until The Flood

Available from November 15, 2020

Now Streaming on Demand

Until The Flood

  • Written and Performed by Dael Orlandersmith
  • Directed by Neel Keller
  • Produced by All Arts and Rattlestick Playwrights Theater
  • Recorded at Rattlestick Playwrights Theater in 2018

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The searing production that took Portland by storm gets its streaming debut!

On August 9, 2014, Darren Wilson, a white police officer, shot and killed Michael Brown, an African American teenager, in Ferguson, Missouri. The shooting ignited weeks of social unrest, propelled the activist movement known as Black Lives Matter, and prompted a controversial investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice. Traveling to the region a few months after the shooting, Dael Orlandersmith conducted interviews with dozens of people who were grievously shaken by the shooting and its turbulent aftermath. From these intimate conversations, she created eight unforgettable characters who embody a community struggling to come to terms with the personal damage caused by these complex events. Her tour-de-force performance gives voice to a community haunted by injustice and a country yearning for change.

About the Broadcast
In partnership with ALL ARTS, the free broadcast and digital platform dedicated to the arts, Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, and a consortium of regional theaters across the country, PCS is proud to present the broadcast premiere of Until The Flood. Originally commissioned by Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, Until The Flood was filmed in 2018 during the New York engagement at Rattlestick Playwrights Theater. PCS brought the production to Portland in 2019 to rave reviews and sold out performances.

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Meet the Cast & Creative Team

Dael Orlandersmith, Playwright and Performer

Dael first performed Stoop Stories in 2008 at The Public Theater’s Under the Radar Festival and Apollo Theater’s Salon Series; Washington, D.C.’s Studio Theatre produced its world premiere in 2009. Her play Monster premiered at New York Theatre Workshop in 1996. The Gimmick, commissioned by McCarter Theatre, premiered in their Second Stage OnStage series in 1998 and went on to great acclaim at Long Wharf Theatre and New York Theatre Workshop; Ms. Orlandersmith won the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize for The Gimmick in 1999. Yellowman was commissioned by and premiered at McCarter Theatre in a co-production with The Wilma Theater and Long Wharf Theatre. Ms. Orlandersmith was a Pulitzer Prize finalist and Drama Desk Award nominee for Outstanding Play and Outstanding Actress in a Play for Yellowman in 2002. The Blue Album, in collaboration with David Cale, premiered at Long Wharf Theatre in 2007. Bones was commissioned by the Mark Taper Forum, where it premiered in 2010. Ms. Orlandersmith wrote and performed a solo memoir play called Forever at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Los Angeles in 2014, at the Long Wharf and New York Theatre Workshop in 2015, at Portland Center Stage in 2016, and the Abbey Theatre in Dublin in 2017. In the fall of 2016,  Ms. Orlandersmith wrote and performed Until The Flood, which was commissioned by St. Louis Repertory Theatre. It was later produced at Rattlestick Playwrights Theater in New York, Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, ACT Seattle, Portland Center Stage, and others. Dael has toured extensively with the Nuyorican Poets Café (Real Live Poetry) throughout the United States, Europe and Australia. Yellowman and a collection of her earlier works have been published by Vintage Books and Dramatists Play Service. She attended Sundance Institute Theatre Lab for four summers and is the recipient of a New York Foundation for the Arts Grant, The Helen Merrill Award for Emerging Playwrights, a Guggenheim, and the 2005 PEN/Laura Pels Foundation Award for a playwright in mid-career. She is the recipient of a Lucille Lortel Foundation Playwrights Fellowship and an Obie Award for Beauty’s Daughter. Dael is currently working on two commissions.

Neel Keller, Director

Neel has enjoyed a long and happy collaboration with Dael Orlandersmith. They met almost 30 years ago, on a production of Romeo and Juliet. Over the last decade, they have worked closely on creating Orlandersmith’s acclaimed plays Until The Flood and Forever, presenting them at theaters across the U.S., and in Ireland, Scotland, and England. Other recent productions include the world premieres of Julia Cho’s Office Hour, Eliza Clark’s Quack, Jennifer Haley’s The Nether, Kimber Lee’s different words for the same thing, and Lucy Alibar’s Throw Me On The Burnpile and Light Me Up. Neel has directed at many theaters, including The Public Theater, New York Theatre Workshop, Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, La Jolla Playhouse, Mark Taper Forum, Kirk Douglas Theater, Goodman Theatre, South Coast Repertory, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Denver Center Theater, Long Wharf Theatre, ACT Seattle, and Portland Center Stage. Neel is an Associate Artistic Director at Center Theatre Group in Los Angeles.

The Creative Team
Until The Flood was directed for the stage and screen by Neel Keller, with set design by Takeshi Kata, lighting design by Mary Louise Geiger, costume design by Kaye Voyce, sound design and original music by Justin Ellington, and projection design by Nicholas Hussong. Read their bios and view the full credits for the 2019 production at Portland Center Stage.

What People Are Saying


Until The Flood is so palpably compassionate, it achieves a great beauty by bringing us together rather than driving us apart." –Chicago Tribune 

“She brings the questions, the pain and even the unspeakable thoughts of hundreds, if not millions, to life. Until The Flood is an urgent moral inquest.” –The New York Times Critic’s Pick

Until The Flood is the best kind of theatrical masterpiece — the kind that shatters a slew of assumptions and leaves the audience to pick up the pieces.” –Willamette Week

“In this powerful one-woman show, Dael Orlandersmith embodies the frustrations and fears of an entire community.”
–The Oregonian

Audience Raves

“This show was AMAZING! Everyone should see it.”

“Astoundingly powerful, complex, and thought-provoking. I was rapt for seventy minutes.”

“A moving and deeply touching play. The acting was unbelievable and the writing was extraordinary.”

“One of the most profoundly moving performances I have ever seen.”

“Outstanding and important. This is one of the most moving, thoughtful, and well executed pieces of theatre I’ve ever seen.” 

“One of the most powerful performances I’ve EVER seen!”

“As many people as possible, with as many different views as possible, should see it.”

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