Tallahassee, FL - Florida A&M University (FAMU) Essential Theatre reaches out to the local community for feedback on its workshop-production of Black Widow as part of the Writing for Life play reading series, which provides a platform for new writers. Opening night is scheduled for Friday, Feb. 18, at 7 p.m. and an encore on Saturday, Feb. 19, at 7 p.m. in the Charles Winter Wood Theatre.
Play writer and FAMU alumnus Jame Webb Jr. will watch the actors from the Tallahassee community bring his play to life.
The dual storyline takes place in Moss Point, Miss. Characters Big Mama and her son, Pete’na, are spirit characters that are trying to make it to heaven. The second plot involves Lil James and his son, James, who is obsessed with ridding a family curse he believes has been placed on the men in his bloodline by his grandmother, Big Mama. The interaction between the spirit characters puts an entertaining spin on theatre.
“This production is going to challenge the way people think, view life, death and choices in the natural and supernatural,” said Marty Lamar, alumnus and actor who will portray Lil James.
This season, the Essential Theatre has taken an unusual route when it comes to community participation. Black Widow’s cast, except for A’naz Sylvers-Cotton, a theatre major and native of Kansas City, Mo., are members of the Tallahassee community and FAMU alumni.
“We have reached out to the community for a couple reasons,” said Luther Wells, director and assistant professor of theatre. “To keep a strong connection with alumni and the maturity of the characters. This is a workshop production and we want to ensure that the message is delivered.”
Following each show will be a discussion with the play writer, director and audience.
“Students will be able to take something away from the production,” said Sylvers-Cotton, 21, who play James, the youngest character. “It focuses on the importance of fostering relationships.”
“The purpose of the post shows discussion is to offer the writer a chance to hear what the public thinks of the work,” said Kimberly Harding, associate professor of theatre. “This production is not the real thing. It's more like a try out. The writer tries it out on an audience and receives feedback on the plot and characters.”
Due to the strong language in this production, it is not recommend for individuals under the age of 18. General admission is $5. For more information, contact the Essential Theatre at 561-2840.
Photo caption: Marci Stringer, FAMU associate professor of theatre, and Marty Lamar rehearse for the workshop-production of Black Widow.