Paine production teaches theater basics, explores common themes
Art has a long history of taking on social issues and making statements about society and the world we live in. Theater in particular has been used as a medium to confront morality, politics and the human condition.
The Paine College Department of Media Studies in partnership with Blue Bistro Theater will present a series of short plays on Monday, November 26, titled “Colorful Conversations (Let’s Talk About Black People),” that not only address issues within the African American community, but will be presented in a unique way that will encourage community discussion about the matters at hand.
Following each vignette, Dr. J. Bayliss, a doctor of psychiatry at Georgia Regents University (Georgia Health Sciences University), along with several of her colleagues, will lead a dialogue with the audience, giving the community an opportunity to talk about some of the issues and to hear alternate perspectives as well. All interested parties, not just the African American community, are encouraged to attend. The situations addressed in the short plays are centered on African American couples from a wide range of backgrounds and socio-economic statuses, but also deal with topics that are relevant and universal to all.
“The general theme for the production is the male perspective versus the female perspective,” explains Nicholas Pettye, a senior at Paine College and one of the producers of the series. “We all have heard that ‘women are from Venus, men are from Mars,’ so it’s basically a play off of that motif. There are three different plays that emphasize three different circumstances, but they’re still male-female opposing views and they’re all from the African American experience, but also other ethnicities will be interested because it’s very enlightening.”
The three plays, which range in subject matter from a couple in corporate setting debating the root causes of problems within African American relationships, to a college couple discussing domestic abuse, to a very young couple struggling with the issue of teen pregnancy, were all written by Anthony R. Page, an independent arts producer and drama instructor at Paine College.
“Often many take ‘Black American’ and see us all as one homogenous group,” says Page. “They think we’re all the same and see things and think the same way. But those in that culture, we think very differently, and often very differently than those who are in the same household. So each one of these plays covers a different perspective. We have a very upwardly mobile couple, and then a young couple who would be quote-unquote — from the ‘hood — dealing with a teen pregnancy situation, so we have corporate conflict, domestic violence, teen pregnancy.”
Not only is the production an exercise in different backgrounds and viewpoints, but it has also been a learning experience for the students in other ways. One of Page’s goals is to allow the students to gain hands-on theater experience in addition to just theory.
“The whole point of this exercise, this is coming under the umbrella of our technical theater class,” explains Page, “I studied theater and film and they teach you so much principle and theory, but not execution — I wanted them to have the actual execution part of it. The whole point of the class is to teach them how to produce… and execute it to a complete and finished vision.”
“Colorful Conversations: Let’s Talk About Black People in the CSRA”
Paine College’s Odeum Music Room, Gilbert Lambuth Memorial Chapel
Monday November 26 | 6:30 p.m.
$5 for general public; $3 for all students
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