The Doctor Reverend Ebenezer Abernathy’s Mellifluously Melodious and Medicative Freedom Revival is a political performance project that began in Syracuse, NY, during the long, cold winter of 2011 — a response to the general despair I had been feeling for some time about the state of the democratic experiment and what seemed (and, more than ever, seems) to be a powerful and intentional effort by the powerful to keep average citizens from thinking or acting within the political arena.
Grounded in theories about liberatory politics, grassroots performance, and in Central New York’s rich history of freedom struggles and 19th century tent revivals, The DFR has become a collaborative, inclusive, and participatory political theater company comprised of about two dozen residents of Syracuse and Central New York. At the heart of the group is The Sound of Freedom, a 12 person choir backed by a 6-piece rock/reggae/pop/gospel/salsa/musical theater band.
I’m Kevin Bott, aka, The Dr. Reverend Ebenezer Abernathy. I hail from The Land of Good Corn, also known as Manahawkin, NJ. I grew up performing musical theater, enrolled in and dropped out of a couple of acting programs, and, while trying to “make it,” waited on a lot of tables on Long Beach Island, in San Francisco, and in New York City. I have a PhD in educational theater from New York University, where I conceived of and then created — with four formerly incarcerated men — A Ritual for Return, an original rite-of-passage intended to ease the passage from incarceration to freedom. I’m the associate director of Imagining America: Artists and Scholars in Public Life at Syracuse University where I also teach political theater. I live here in Syracuse with my wife, Aimee Brill, and our two boys.