Twenty historically black colleges and universities convened at Coppin State University for the 77th annual National Association of Dramatic and Speech Arts at Baltimore.
The John McLinn Ross Players of the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff represented well in the Allen Williams Play Festival, winning third place for an hourlong version of the musical, “Once on This Island”, directed by Cheryl Collins, director of theatre.
Though the entire production was praised for its Broadway-level professionalism, the judges raved over the lighting design of sophomore theatre major Tamara Courtney and two actors were also recognized for their stellar performance within the cast — Clarence Stokes, choreographer, and Lauren Brown, a senior theatre major, graduating in May.
Brown has proven that all of her hard work is on par with her colleagues at HBCUs from around the country coming in second place in the Interpretation of Poetry competition.
“This was my first experience performing poetry publicly,” Brown said. “But the fact that there were so many people there with a passion for theatre arts made me both nervous and excited for feedback.”
Clarence and Lauren, along with other Samille Palm, Kelsey Newman, Travis Thomas, Twona Frazier, Maranda Barris and Antoinette Oliver, are also cast members in the production, “The Trial Of One Short-sighted Black Woman Versus Mammy Louise and Safreeta Mae”, a satire by Karani Marcia Leslie, which will be performed today through Sunday and closes the Freedom Season of theatre.
In “The Trial” a corporate climber aims to free herself from two of the most notorious black stereotypes ever by taking them to court. Suitable for grades eight and up, and especially women’s groups, this play will challenge the audience’s perceptions of those images and their effect on the modern black woman.
Reservations for individuals and groups are available for “The Trial,” by contacting Alexis Skinner at 870-575-8428 or sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Performances will be held on the campus of UAPB in the Hathaway-Howard Fine Arts Center, 1200 N. University Drive.
Ticket prices are $10 for general admission, $5 for students, and $6 for groups of 20 or more.
Show dates and times include today through Saturday at 7:30 p.m.; and 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.