Get to know Ang(ela) Bey & COMET

August 9, 2023

Multidisciplinary Philadelphia artist Ang(ela) Bey will present their new art installation and one-person play, COMET, at the Bride from August 25 – September 3, 2023. We spoke to Ang about what the Painted Bride, West Philadelphia, and the show mean to them.

What are you creating in the Bride space?

I’m creating COMET, a horror play about a young Black painter navigating the recent death of her father. In addition, there’s an accompanying art exhibition by local artists that thematically explores healing from trauma.

What inspires/motivates this specific work, here and now?

It’s 2023 and society still struggles with humanizing Black women. Sarah is ordinary and likely to be forgotten, but COMET says, “You, and others like you, matter”. On a small-scale, this is why COMET is necessary. It’s also true that tales of trauma are timeless, but we wish for audiences to walk away from COMET inspired to heal.

Who is this show for?

Sarah’s entire life is within the walls of a house in West Philly. In this way, COMET is for West Philadelphians. But, I also believe that COMET is for anyone who has experienced grief, trauma, and abuse. It’s especially for anyone who is on a journey of healing. Parental discretion is advised for the performance, but all-ages are welcome to experience the exhibit before and after the show.

How do you hope this show affects the audience?

I hope audiences see themselves in Sarah, feel all the big feelings, and laugh; the show is disarmingly funny. I also hope that audiences walk away inspired to make some art themselves!

How has access to the Bride space been valuable to your work?

It’s extremely uncommon for an artist to have unbridled access to a performance venue, let alone internal institutional support. Without the Bride’s generosity, COMET simply wouldn’t be possible. It’s also invaluable that the company is planting roots in West Philly, around the corner from my childhood library and YMCA. The “yes” from the Bride felt like a homecoming, and a decisive step forward for other young Black Philadelphians to make art in their space.