Digital: Deeper Duet: Talvin Wilks + Melanie George

Nov 16, 2021, 7:00 pm8:30 pm EST

$10 – $15


PERMISSION, APPROPRIATION OR TRESPASSING – the tricky terrain of 2 Black Dramaturgs in the current “We See You” performance landscape told through personal case studies, observations, rants, riffs and realizations.

Melanie George and Talvin Wilks, friends, colleagues, and confidantes, will talk their way through the current cultural moment from their vantage points as Dramaturgs While Black (DWB). Utilizing, purposefully, a Black lens to view the American Theatre and Dance industries, the conversation seeks to navigate the concept of appropriation vs. elucidation in the choices that many BIPOC dramaturgs have made and continue to have to make in this era of reckoning, solidarity and wokeness. In it they question and challenge their own responsibility and accountability to Black artists and address some of the systemic traps and tropes in the process. Working from the inter- and intra-personal, the artists plan to rant, riff and tee hee through this tricky terrain of being Black in white spaces and living to tell the tale.


Talvin Wilks is a playwright, director and dramaturg. His plays include Tod, the boy, Tod, The Trial of Uncle S&M, Bread of Heaven, An American Triptych, JImmy and Lorraine: A Musing, and As I Remember It with Carmen de Lavallade. Directorial projects include the world premiere productions of UDU by Sekou Sundiata, The Love Space Demands by Ntozake Shange, the Obie Award/AUDELCO Award winning The Shaneequa Chronicles by Stephanie Berry, The Peculiar Patriot by Liza Jessie Peterson and co-writer/co-director for Ping Chong’s ongoing series of Undesirable Elements and Collidescope: Adventures in Pre- and Post-Racial America. Since 2014, some of his most acclaimed directorial work has been centered at Penumbra Theatre Company – The Ballad of Emmett Till and Benevolence by Ifa Bayeza, This Bitter Earth by Harrison David Rivers, The Owl Answers by Adrienne Kennedy and The White Card by Claudia Rankine. As a dramaturg he has collaborated on numerous award-winning projects with nationally renowned companies such as Bebe Miller Company, Urban Bush Women, Camille A. Brown and Dancers, M.A.I. (Movement Arts Is – Jon Boogz & Lil Buck) and the stage adaptation of Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me at the Apollo Theatre. He is a 2020 McKnight Theater Artist Fellow.


Melanie George is the founder and director of Jazz Is… Dance Project and an Associate Curator and Scholar-In-Residence at Jacob’s Pillow. As a dramaturg, she has contributed to projects by David Neumann & Marcella Murray (on the Obie Award winning Distances Smaller Than This Are Not Confirmed), Raja Feather Kelly, Ephrat Asherie, Susan Marshall & Company, Machine Dazzle, Kimberly Bartosik/daela and Urban Bush Women, among others. Melanie is featured in the documentary UpRooted: The Journey of Jazz Dance, has presented her research on jazz dance throughout the U.S., in Canada and Scotland, and founded the global advocacy website Publications include “Jazz Dance, Pop Culture, and the Music Video Era” in Jazz Dance: A History of the Roots and Branches (University Press of Florida). She is the former Dance Program Director at American University, and has guest lectured at Harvard University, the Yale School of Drama, and The Juilliard School.

Deeper Duets engage two special guests in lively and provocative conversation about artistic life, artistic practice and the urgent social concerns that drive creative expression.

All Fall 2021 Season events will be held online via Zoom. Gibney’s Box Office can be reached via email. For ticketing inquiries or requests, please email Marketing & Audience Services Manager, Kimiko Tanabe, at

Gibney encourages people with disabilities to attend online offerings, and we welcome the opportunity to make this event more accessible. This event features live ASL interpreters and live captioning. If you have any questions or additional access needs, please email us at or call us at 212-677-8560 (voice only) at least 24 hours in advance of the event you plan to attend.

Image Description: Collage of headshots.
Left photo: A home-selfie of Talvin Wilks during the pandemic, an African American man wearing black framed glasses, a black Covid mask, and a black zip jersey jacket with letters spelling Harlem in white.
Right photo: A headshot of Melanie, a Black women with full, shoulder length natural hair, red lipstick, wearing a Black, red, white, and grey patterned jumpsuit.

Photo (left) of Talvin Wilks provided courtesy of the artist. Photo (right) of Melanie George by JD Urban.