Black Sparta Summary
Black Sparta is inspired by the Dahomey Amazons or Mino, an all-female military regiment of the Fon people of the Kingdom of Dahomey in the present-day Republic of Benin. The female warriors in the Marvel mega hit movie Black Panther were inspired by these women. They existed from the 17th century to the end of the 19th century. While European narratives refer to the women soldiers as “Amazons,” because of their similarity to the semi-mythical Amazons of ancient Anatolia, they called themselves “Mino” (our mothers) in the Fon language. Black Sparta is written, directed, and choreographed by award winner Layon Gray.
Dahomey shared with the Spartans an intense fighting method and sense of collectivism. Tough, violent blood-and-guts women single-mindedly devoted to hardening themselves into ruthless instruments of battlefield destruction, these machete-sword, slinging lady terminators were rightly-feared throughout Western Africa for over 250 years, not only for their fanatical devotion to battle, but for their refusal to back down or retreat from any fight. They are the only documented frontline female troops in modern warfare history. Their motto was “conquer or die”.
Black Sparta begins in 1892; thirty years after the transatlantic slave trade has been virtually at an end. France has already taken over apart of Dahomey and has established a colony called Porto-Novo. They have made it very clear that they want more. Their invasion is unwelcome and the Dahomeans will not go quietly.
Black Sparta Special Information
Gunfire is used in this production.
Black Sparta Creative Team
Author: Layon Gray
Director: Layon Gray
Producer: Layon Gray American Theatre Company
Press Agent: Dorothy Spellman
Actors Temple Theatre is located at 339 West 47th Street (Between 8th and 9th Avenue)