A new play for January at Actors Theatre of Louisville is designed to educate and illuminate matters around a sensitive subject and they are inviting students, parents, teachers and community leaders to come and engage. Rocko Jerome takes us behind the scenes.
Actors Theatre of Louisville kicks off 2019 with an important work designed to make a powerful impact. Written by acclaimed playwright and MacArthur Foundation "Genius Grant" recipient Dominique Morisseau, Pipeline takes on the subject of the challenges that African American students and parents face.
Ms. Morisseau grew up in Detroit where she made a name for herself as a poet and actress before getting into creating plays. Her initial interest in becoming a playwright came from encountering a large lack of roles for women of color. She has authored a number of acclaimed plays and this is the second to be presented by Actors Theatre, following last year's popular production of, Skeleton Crew.
Pipeline follows the story of Nya, a public-school teacher and parent to her son, Omari, whom she sends to a private school across town. Nya is intent on giving Omari the foundation that he will need to excel in life, but challenges arise that threaten to destroy all that she has worked for. This show serves as the Actors Theatre debut of Cecil Blutcher as Omari, JaBen Early as Omari’s father Xavier, Eden Marryshow as Dun and Renika Williams as Jasmine. Patrese D McClain stars as Nya, returning to Actors Theatre after a role in last year’s Skeleton Crew.
The director of this production of Pipeline is the internationally regarded and award-winning Steve H. Broadnax III. Mr. Broadnax has directed a number of performances of this play across the country. “I love her voice. It’s a voice of activism, one that gives a platform to communities who aren’t often heard— especially African-American communities and the working class,” he says. “I’m hoping that audiences will leave thinking more deeply and empathetically, beyond the rage-filled stereotypes (of young African-American men) presented to us in the media. This play reminds us that they need a voice and a place to be, in order to prosper and reach their full potential.”
IF YOU GO
Pipeline will be appearing on the Bingham Stage at Actors Theatre of Louisville from January 8th to February 2nd, as part of the Brown-Forman series. Single tickets start at $25. Special rates for groups of 10 or more are available. Students with a valid ID can receive 10% off. January 11 is their Community Conversation and Teen Night sponsored in part by LG&E. It will include a pre-show reception with food, drinks, thought-provoking activities and a post-show discussion with local leaders. For tickets and more information, please visit actorstheatre.org or call the Actors Theatre Box Office at 502.584.1205.