By Kalah Mingo
Third year Journalism major
Beauty section editor
On Oct. 21, a palpable sense of energy and camaraderie flowed behind the scenes of “A Raisin in the Sun,” a production of UGA’s Black Theatrical Ensemble. The actors rehearsed for weeks in preparation for the show, but due to unforeseen circumstances the show almost did not go on opening night.
Alexis Allen, a fourth year Psychology major from Union City, GA who portrayed the role of Ruth Younger, attributed the success to the strength of the show itself.
“We all had to combat personal odds to be a part of this project and make it happen. I think just the power of the show and what it stands for said that it was meant to happen and that’s what got us through.” Allen said.
The cast and crew made the production a success by showcasing the talent of UGA students despite setbacks. The ensemble updated their traditional production of the show to “A Raisin in the Sun: Reader’s Theatre with a Talk Back.” In this version, the characters didn’t move much over the course of the show. Instead, they performed stage readings standing at the front of the stage, delivering their lines with strong emotion. This form highlighted the conversations between the actors and sent home the overall message of the play powerfully.
The American classic also opened a discussion between the actors and audience. After the show, the actors discussed the social significance of the play, the role of their characters and their relationship to those they portrayed. The audience was encouraged to comment, ask questions and contribute to the conversation.
To Aciana Head, a third year Romance Language and International Affairs major from Atlanta, GA who played Beneatha Younger, the message of the play was perseverance.
“Every single character has some sort of a dream, as cliche as that sounds. They’re all kind of looking to achieve something whether that be peace or a certain type of success,” Head said. “I really think it’s a play about working with the cards that you’ve been dealt and continuing to persevere.”
Jayln Flemming, a 2014 UGA alumnus who majored in Theater, was a last minute addition to the show. To Flemming, as well as other cast members, the show held a lot of social significance.
[African american literature] can be forgotten easily and overlooked easily,” Flemming said. “It’s important to put on these shows because they give voice to [black] culture.”
In addition to putting African American works at the forefront of discussion, Allen wanted the audience to leave with a sense of hope.
“It’s ok for us to hope and it’s ok for us to trust in the good things amid the odds and the circumstances,” Allen said. “That’s the take home message.”