About the Show
This collaboration with Writer/Performer/Activist Shontina Vernon features a mashup of autobiographical storytelling with a hip-swinging Rhythm & Blues concert.
A look into Vernon’s extraordinary life, Forging Ahead charts Shontina Vernon’s personal upheavals and R&B’s role in granting her solace, escape and community. Vernon depicts her past including her upbringing by rural grandparents in Lamesa, TX, her assumption of the family finances at 9 years old and subsequently forging of $400 worth of checks shortly thereafter. Upon discovery of her crime, 10 yr-old Vernon was called a “pressing threat to the Lamesa community” by the local DA and placed in a Juvenile Detention Center for a year.
With the advocacy of a stepsister, she got out of juvie only to be placed in the care of abusive relatives. The ongoing trauma of having been jailed plus enduring family abuse led Vernon to forge fake identities to survive throughout her life. Shontina pairs each chapter of her story with a classic R&B song enriching our experience of her tale. As a performer, she finds humor in her situation and the characters in her past, resulting in a show that is poignant, yet surprisingly funny.
FORGING AHEAD HAS BEEN GENEROUSLY SUPPORTED WITH A MAP FUND AWARD