The 11th annual Southampton African-American Film Festival at the Southampton Arts Center will wrap up a day of short and feature films on Saturday, November 19, with a night of spoken word headlined by Dominique Fishback, a rising star of stage and screen.
A native of East New York, Brooklyn, Ms. Fishback said during a phone interview last week that she is looking forward to visiting the Hamptons for the first time, so she can expose film festival guests to the Brooklyn she knows—which is not the Brooklyn they may know from television. Likewise, she is excited to get to know what the Hamptons is really like, compared to what she’s seen on television.
Ms. Fishback has appeared on a number of television programs, including recurring roles in the HBO miniseries “Show Me a Hero” and the USA Network’s Hamptons-set dramedy “Royal Pains.” Though it appeared on screen that she has been to the South Fork before, that’s not the case: All of her scenes on “Royal Pains” were filmed in a Brooklyn studio.
Her first role as a series regular is Darlene in the ongoing HBO series “The Deuce,” slated to premiere in 2017. Costarring James Franco and Maggie Gyllenhaal, the drama is set in 1970s Manhattan.
But it is Ms. Fishback’s theater background that lends itself to her spoken word performance this Saturday.
She said during a phone interview last week that she plans to perform excerpts from her one-woman show “Subverted,” which earned her a nomination for Outstanding Solo Performance in the 2015 New York Innovative Theatre Awards. She will also share various spoken word pieces that she said she wrote when she was inspired, such as “Ode to My Hood,” about being a black girl from Brooklyn, and “Little Black Actress,” about her experiences in the television industry.
“Subverted” originated as Ms. Fishback’s senior thesis at Pace University in Manhattan, where she pursued a bachelor’s degree in acting.
“It’s about the destruction of black identity in America,” she explained. “It has two sides: It has the slave side, and it has the modern-day side, and they parallel to show comparisons, whether it’s food or education or relationships.”
She said she selected parts of “Subverted” that would carry the story, even for audiences who haven’t seen the whole show, which has a total of 18 characters. The protagonist is an 18-year-old girl named Eden, who lives in urban U.S.A.
Ms. Fishback said Eden is not her, but she does have similarities with the character: They were both valedictorian of their high school class—Ms. Fishback graduated from Brownsville High School—only to be told when they were accepted to college that they were going to be put in a program for students who needed extra attention from the university.
“When I got there, a lot of times I was the only black girl in my class,” Ms. Fishback recalled. “So when I would have debates in sociology, I was the only voice that was speaking up for my family and my friends and experiences that I felt like a lot of people didn’t know about. And although I would get angry about it, I knew that I was given a voice and platform for a reason. And I could use my experience to create art—which is one of the best tools to get people to be compassionate and understand each other, even if we don’t know the experience firsthand.”
“Subverted” has received great responses from people of many different races, ages and religions, she said.
She added: “No matter how specific I am in my spoken word, when I’m being true to myself … even someone in a different walk of life can know exactly how I feel.”
An Evening of Spoken Word and Live Jazz takes place at the Southampton Arts Center, 25 Jobs Lane, Southampton Village, on Saturday, November 19, at 7:30 p.m. Local musician Charles Certain’s jazz quartet, Certain Moves, will play following performances by local poets and Dominique Fishback. Admission is $35, or $30 for students and seniors. A festival pass for all of the day’s programs is $55, or $45 for students and seniors. Visit southamptonartscenter.org.