Ahamefule J. Oluo

SUSAN: A Work-in-Progress Performance Aug 8, 2019Aug 9, 2019

$15 • GET TICKETS Merrill Theater

August 8 & 9 at 7:00 PM

Acclaimed Seattle artist Ahamefule J. Oluo presents a public work-in-progress performance of his newest project, SUSAN. This darkly comic musical portrait of Oluo's mother builds one story out of many, a journey from Section 8 housing in 1980s Seattle to the mangrove swamps of the Niger Delta to the Clallam Bay Correctional Facility. With stunning new compositions combined with soul-baring stand-up interludes, Oluo explores two intertwining narratives: his mother’s life as the white, Midwestern wife of a Nigerian chief and, later, a destitute single mother; and his own journey to Nigeria, as an adult, to visit his late father’s village and discover a family on the other side of the world.

SUSAN, the follow-up to Oluo’s Now I’m Fine, is a story about the failings of men and the endurance of women. It is a crystalline slice of American life; a collision of class, race, bodies, love, and men with bad intentions; a tragedy about the most comically optimistic person on earth. SUSAN is an ongoing work-in-progress developed through the OtB Artist-in-Residence program and a Creative Capital Project.

Commissioned by On the Boards through the 18/19 Artist-in-Residence Program, SUSAN will be presented at Portland Institute for Contemporary Art's TBA Festival in September 2019, and will premiere Dec. 5-8, 2019 at On the Boards as part of the 40th Anniversary Season.

About the Artist 

Ahamefule J. Oluo is a Seattle-based musician, composer, writer, and stand-up comedian. Oluo is a founding member of and trumpet player in the Stranger Genius Award-winning jazz-punk quartet Industrial Revelation, and was featured in City Arts Magazine’s 2013 Future List as one of Seattle’s most promising artists. Oluo has collaborated with such diverse acts as Das Racist, Macklemore, Hey Marseilles, and TacocaT. In 2015 he appeared on This American Life and received a Creative Capital Award. In 2016 Oluo was awarded Artist Trusts’ Arts Innovator Award, and the performance of his autobiographical musical Now I’m Fine at the Public Theater in New York City was called “dizzying,” “engaging,” and “grand” by the New York Times. In 2018, production wrapped on Thin Skin, a feature film adaptation of Now I’m Fine, co-written by Oluo, Charles Mudede, and Lindy West. Oluo both stars in and scored the film which will premiere in 2020.

Photo courtesy of the artist.