photo credit: dante napoli
you swallow the cowboy. yonder demands.
Black queer and trans* artists take on america’s poisonous lust for the lone ranger.
ninth planet presents
co-presented at cannonball festival (a philadelphia fringe festival hub)
sept 5 - sept 18, 2022
icebox project space
1400 n. american st, philadelphia, pa, 19122
high noon was created collaboratively by the co-creator/performers and the creative team:
Director: Nia Benjamin
Co-Creator/Performers: Kris Lee - Oliver Spencer - Vitche-Boul Ra - Sam Rise
Stage Manager: Jamel Baker
Video Designer: Jordan Deal
Set/Prop/Costume Designers: Nia Benjamin and Sam Tower
Lighting Designer: Mike Inwood *member USA 829
Sound Designer: Nat Merrill
Associate Director: Sam Tower
high noon includes creative contributions from Noelle Diane Johnson; Katie Croyle; and Franny Mestrich; who participated in previous development workshops
photo credit: dante napoli
director, co-production designer/co-production manager
Nia Benjamin (they/them) is a non-binary, Black organizer, administrator, theatre and multimedia artist, living and working in Philadelphia, PA. Nia is the Co-Artistic Director of Ninth Planet, a performance company that produces original shows and installations for curious people of all ages, that centers people of color, women, queer and trans* people in Philadelphia. Nia's work examines the intersections between culture, identity, and media, rooted in the undoing of narratives that decentralize the importance of Black and Brown people within america's larger cultural narrative.
Kris Lee (she/her) is a New York and Philadelphia based dancer, performer and DJ. She received her BFA at The University of the Arts. Kris has presented a solo “For everyONE” as a part of Dreams & Delusions at the Painted Bride in Philadelphia. She has toured with nora chipaumire and her trilogy, #PUNK 100%POP *N!GGA. Kris is currently working with Ninth Planet, She is also dancing with Moriah Evans and is a member of the Stephen Petronio Company.
Oliver (they/them) is an interdisciplinary artist, using sound/music, 3D art, and writing to explore selfhood and transmutation. Also operating under the name of St.Sol, they create immersive and raw experiences through alchemical means.
Vitche Boul-Ra (he/him/it) is a Transhumanist Folk-Theurgist with a BFA in Interdisciplinary Fine Arts (Sculpture concentration) from The University of the Arts . To develop a physicalized performance practice adjacent to western sculpture, It also studied dance in the UArts School of Dance directed by Donna Faye Burchfield. In Philadelphia, It has shown solo (+collaborative) works at The Philadelphia Museum of Art, Vox Populi Gallery, Little Berlin Gallery, and Hightide Gallery. In New York, Ra performed in Fridman Gallery’s 5th Anniversary Festival and was curated into the Center for Performance Research’s Spring Movement Festival 2018 as well as the New Dance Alliance's 2019 Performance Mix Festival: 33. In 2021 It has collaboratively worked alongside Moor Mother (Goddess) showing at Pace Gallery (NY), CalArts REDCAT (LA), and The Kitchen (NY).
Samantha Rise (they/them) is a non-binary songcatcher and performer based in Philadelphia. As a self described ‘pollinator’ performer, their songs collect and evoke their myriad influences, across labels of genres and mediums.
Samantha’s passion for music and community building are the heart of their work; a student of jazz, improvisation, social justice movements and the music that drives them, Samantha encourages a unique vulnerability with their audiences, reminding us all that music is our birthright, and a technology of healing, transformative justice and self-determination.
An award-winning songcatcher, Rise's music is sensual and staggering in its accounts of what it means to allow ourselves to be known; giving voice to heartbreak, hope and all the spaces between, wherever words fail. Through their music, Samantha Rise invites us to listen for our own music, and to sing in the world we know is possible.
Jordan Deal (they/them) is a multi-dimensional energy worker and interdisciplinary practitioner currently living and working in Philadelphia. Deal bridges sculpture, performance, video + film, painting, drawing, writing, and poetry to create interactive performance installations and wearable sculpture that investigates the ways the introspective landscape interjects into the material world. Deal’s sculptures, paintings, and video work consist of assemblages of found and recycled archival materials from metals, fabrics, household objects, jewelry, footage, and trinkets to act as vehicles for time-and-space travel, accessing memory, ancestral footprint, and understanding dialectic placement and function. Language is the foundational framework the work observes and interjects itself in. Through culture, community, sound, movement, dance, and symbols (to name a few), the work examines the different gateways that these languages manifest violence, harmony, love, and/or balance in our relationship to each other and the world, specifically through the lens of Black and Brown communities and queer folx. Through accessing various forms of language, the work observes and investigates the performative roles of the body in their relation to social systems and systems of powers affected by global colonialism and imperialism erasure and control.
Jamel Baker (he/him) holds a BFA from Millersville University and has worked as a freelance stage manager for many companies, including EgoPo, Azuka, Simpatico and others. He's also worked as a PA for Philadelphia Theatre Company and is a company member (as well as stage manager) for Tribe of Fools.
lighting designer *member USA 829
Mike Inwood (he/him) is an Emmy Award-winning lighting designer for theatre, opera, dance, installations, and television. Past projects include productions with Signature Theatre, Playwrights Horizons, Ars Nova, The Arden, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Opera Philadelphia, Macy’s, BAM, and the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival. Mike is a proud member of United Scenic Artists, Local USA 829.
natali d. merrill
Natali (she/her) is a sound and technology designer and engineer passionate about creating links between technology, the sciences, performing arts and social change.
assistant director, co-production designer/co-production manager
Sam Tower (she/her) is a mixed race woman (white / southwest asian) who has worked in Philadelphia as a freelance director, arts administrator, and consultant for the performing arts since 2010, dedicating her career to serving women, queer people, children and families with arts and culture programming. She is most passionate about staging new works, ensemble-driven process, performance for young people and families, and the power of live theatre to connect communities. Tower is the Co-Artistic Director of Ninth Planet where she creates and produces theatre that centers people of color, women, queer and trans people in Philadelphia. She has received regional and national support for her work as a director and producer, including a 2017 Independence Fellowship in the Arts. She has worked with Applied Mechanics, Shakespeare in Clark Park, Mendelssohn Choir of Philadelphia, Bryn Mawr College, Headlong Performance Institute, Simpatico Theatre, Arden Theatre, New Paradise Laboratories, Almanac, Live & In Color, TYA/USA, and International Performing Arts for Youth, among others. Tower holds a BFA from University of the Arts, training from Headlong Performance Institute, and years of invaluable hands-on experience and professional mentorship.
photo credit: angel edwards