The Master’s Tools
photo credit: Peter Chenot
A one-person play that reimagines the backstory, interiority, and motivations of Tituba, the “Black witch of Salem”. Most widely known as a tertiary character in Arthur Miller’s 1953 play The Crucible, Tituba was a 17th century Black woman enslaved by the Reverend Samuel Parris in Salem, Massachusetts. When rumors of witchcraft plagued the puritanical town, Tituba was amongst the first to be accused and imprisoned for her involvement in the “Black arts”. Though her influence on the witch trials to follow was substantial, she was mostly forgotten in the historical record as well as the literary imagination. In The Master’s Tools, Tituba speaks, post-Salem. At last an agent in her own myth making, Tituba defies the many masters that have laid claim to her story, centering instead her own subjectivity, her own violent truth. Deftly weaving humor, terror, and spectacle, Zora Howard subverts our notions of good and evil, challenging our perception of this canonical character and the canon itself.
Writer & Director: Zora Howard
Creative Producer: Martin Meccouri
Tituba: Okwui Okpokwasili
Sound Performer: Julian Rozzell Jr
Production Stage Manager: Maimouna Camara
Scenic & Lighting Design: Reza Behjat
Sound Designer: Steven Leffue
Action ChoreographySordelet Inc.
Dialect Coach: Bibi Mama
Production Company: Butler Electronics
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Zora Howard is a Harlem-bred writer and performer. Plays include STEW (2021 Pulitzer Prize Finalist; Page 73 Productions); BUST (2022 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize Finalist; 2022 L. Arnold Weissberger New Play Award Finalist); HANG TIME (2022 Creative Capital Award Finalist); and GOOD FAITH. Her work has been developed at Ojai Playwrights Conference, SPACE at Ryder Farm, The Lark, Primary Stages, and Cape Cod Theatre Project, among others. In 2020, her film Premature (2020 Film Independent John Cassavetes Award nominee), which she co-wrote with director Rashaad Ernesto Green, opened in theaters following its world premiere at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival.
Okwui Okpokwasili is a Brooklyn based performer, choreographer and writer creating multidisciplinary performance pieces. Her experimental productions include Bessie Award winning Pent-Up: A RevengeDance, Bessie Award winning Bronx Gothic, Bronx Gothic: The Oval, Poor People’s TV Room, Poor People’s TV Room Solo, When I Return Who Will Receive Me, and Adaku’s Revolt. Recent awards and residencies include the 2018 Princeton University Hodder Fellowship, the 2018 Herb Alpert Award in Dance, an Antonyo Award, a 2018 Doris Duke Artist Award, and a 2018 MacArthur Fellowship. She was the inaugural artist for the Kravis Studio Residency program at MOMA in 2022.
Butler Electronics Inc. (Production Company) was founded in 2022 by Zora Howard as a vehicle to develop and produce the work of provocative artists in need of support to launch their creative projects.