Layon Gray's New Play Black Sparta Announced at the Actors Temple Theatre in New York City

BLACK SPARTA: The Dahomey Amazon Warriors Who Were The Only Documented Frontline Female Troops In Modern Warfare History Comes Off-Broadway.

Layon Gray's new play Black Sparta will play a limited engagement July 29th and July 30th at the Actors Temple Theatre In New York City. Written, directed, produced by Layon Gray, 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. 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.

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”. The Mino occasionally show up in pop culture here and there such as digital games, but they have yet to make a significant appearance in film, TV, and stage…until now.

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 in Porto-Novo. They have made it very clear that they want more. Their invasion is unwelcome and the Dahomeans will not go quietly.

The cast stars Aixa Kendrick, Jessica-Brittany Smith, Vongai Shava, Setor Attipoe, Lamar Cheston, Delano Barbosa. Actors Temple Theatre is located in Manhattan at 339 W. 47th Street (between 8th and 9th Avenues) Show dates and times: Saturday July 29th, 3pm; Sunday, July 30th 6pm.Tickets priced $39.50 and $59.50 (including facility fee), are available at or by calling (212) 239-6200.

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Karrie Moore
(323) 762 3488

Published on: 2017-07-16

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