Ensemble Theatre presents two shows in Panorama of African American Theatre 5: "The Content of Character"
Directors Ian Hinz and Gregory White visited WCLV to discuss the two new productions at Ensemble Theatre.
To celebrate Black History Month, Ensemble Theatre will produce Slow Dance on the Killing Ground by Emmy Award winning writer William Hanley, and present the World Premiere of Golden Leaf Rag Time Blues by Ohio University Distinguished Professor and award winning playwright Charles Smith. These productions will serve as the 5th installment of our award winning Panorama of African American Theatre Series, titled "The Content of Character". The two shows will run concurrently during the month of February. Talk-backs, writing workshops, and playwriting masterclasses will surround both productions, exploring themes prevalent in both scripts. Through these performances (and surrounding activities) we will create a community discussion about how these themes relate to today's issues regarding prejudice, self identification, discrimination, and police brutality. What are the lasting effects of prejudice on a community? How do we learn to better relate to one another without them?
SLOW DANCE ON THE KILLING GROUND.
By William Hanley
Directed by Greg White.
Starring : Joseph Milan, Nathan Tolliver, and Leah Smith.
Main Stage Theater.
The curtain rises on a poor, dusty shop with its dirty window obscuring the dark hostile night. A storekeeper is taking inventory. The door is flung open, letting in a lithe young black man. In this dance for two, the characters make hesitant approaches, circle, feint, threaten each other with gun & ice pick but scarcely make contact. The young man is a hunted man. The storekeeper a refugee from Nazi Germany, is close-mouthed, suspicious, anxious to avoid self-involvement. The third dancer is Rosie, an 18-year old from Riverdale who has wandered into the shop, after losing her way, with no illusions about her homeliness or about the encounter that has led to her troubles. The two men react to her with a sensitivity and concern that seem to diminish the furies within them. But not for long. The German is driven to revealing the truth about himself as the young man, faces his inexorable fate out there on the killing ground.
GOLDEN LEAF RAG TIME BLUES. World Premiere
By Charles Smith
Directed by Ian Wolfgang Hinz
Starring: Paul Slimak*, Allen Branstein, Brycen Hunt, and Mary Alice Beck.
(*Member of Actors' Equity Association).
Developed by American Blues Theatre Company in Chicago in 1987, and included as part of the HBO New Writers Workshop in 1994, Golden Leaf Rag Time Blues is the story of a teenage African American ward of the state and a lonely Jewish octogenarian vaudevillian man thrown together because of circumstances beyond their control. The two form an unusual friendship when they discover through stories and music that they have more in common than anyone would ever believe. Golden Leaf Rag Time Blues illustrates how our basic needs and human emotions transcend the barriers of race, religion, and age.
Both shows run concurrently February 5th-February 28th.
Performances are Fridays & Saturdays @8pm. Sundays @2pm.