Play by NYU adjunct professor Luis. H. Francia premieres April 25.

Black Henry flyer

Sulo: The Philippine Studies Initiative at NYU, NYU’s King Juan Carlos I of Spain Center, and Atlantic Pacific Theater have joined forces to present online the play Black Henry by NYU adjunct professor Luis H. Francia (Social and Cultural Analysis).

Black Henry, which will premiere online on Sunday, April 25 at 6:30 p.m. (ET), explores the profound consequences of a clash of cultures, when in 1521 Ferdinand Magellan and three Spanish ships make landfall in the Philippines. His Malay slave, Enrique, acts as the go-between for the conquistadors and the islanders. However, Magellan’s disastrous attempt to colonize the islands not only complicates Enrique’s life but alters irrevocably the character and destiny of the archipelago.

This innovative virtual dramatization will mix pre-recorded segments with live acting, as well as virtual scenography in an example of a new and innovative approach to online theater. A global cast of actors from New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, and Manila will bring to life this epic story. Directed by Claro de los Reyes, with creative design by Francis Estrada, Charles Reynoso, and Cynthia Alberto, from Atlantic Pacific Theater. Live production, online realization, and staging by Laia Cabrera and Isabelle Duverger.

Sunday, April 25, 6:30pm (ET) - Online premiere, followed by a talkback with Luis H. Francia (author), Claro de los Reyes (stage director), and Nerissa Balce (SUNY Stony Brook’s Department of Asian and Asian American Studies). Live stream on

MondayApril 26, 6:30pm (ET) - Live stream on

TuesdayApril 27, 6:30pm (ET) - Live stream on

Luis H. Francia is a poet, journalist, and adjunct professor of Filipino. He is on faculty at New York University’s Department of Social and Cultural Analysis. An online columnist for the Philippine Daily Inquirer, he is the author of, among other books, the travel memoir Eye of the Fish: A Personal Archipelago, RE, a collection of essays, and his most recent poetry collection, Tattered Boat. Black Henry is Francia’s second full-length play.

Sulo and NYU’s King Juan Carlos Center have also organized VISIONS/PANAWIN, a film series selected by noted Philippine film curator Gil Quito. VISIONS/PANAWIN celebrates  Philippine cinema, with a mix of indie and studio films. The offerings this spring honor the independent outfit TBA Studios. The series continues through the Fall 2021 and Spring 2022 semesters with selected classics and contemporary from Philippine cinema.

Sulo:The Philippines Studies Initiative at NYU is the result of an agreement between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and New York University to establish a Philippine Studies program at NYU. Understood as an initiative that includes programs, events, and funding for students and faculty, Sulo also seeks to support and partner with other units in the University as well as cultural and academic centers in New York City and elsewhere. This year Sulo has contributed to the founding of the graduate student Global Philippine Studies Forum at NYU, a Bennett-Polonsky Humanities Lab on Cross/Currents, and research and travel funds for undergraduate and graduate students.

More information on Sulo at or


Press Contact

Robert Polner
Robert Polner
(212) 998-2337