Posts Tagged ‘Drama’

Theater in the Moment

Thursday, October 30th, 2014
Ryan Hope Travis, director, actor, producer, spoke about his new play Drafters, a parable at yesterday's Vera House Report to the Community event.

Director, actor and producer Ryan Hope Travis spoke about his new play Drafters, a parable at yesterday’s Vera House Report to the Community event.  He called his creative approach “Applied theater.”

We congratulate Ryan Travis, the theater professional who continues to stage and curate great plays around the tenor of our times. His latest offering is “Drafters, a parable,” which uses local actors to create awareness about domestic violence from a perspective of prevention.

“Drafters…” has two more shows this week.  Bob Brophy and former councilor Charles Anderson performed a brief excerpt during yesterday’s Vera House event.

Here’s an interview we did with Travis last year.

The Book of August

Wednesday, March 9th, 2011

When it comes to an accurate portrait of African American life, site August Wilson’s cycle of plays examining the 20th century is a gift that keeps on giving.

This month Syracuse Stage produced Wilson’s Radio Golf.

Radio, set in 1990s Pittsburgh, revolves around Harmond Wilks (played by Richard Brooks) as he attempts to redevelop a blighted Pittsburgh neighborhood and parlay that venture into a run for mayor.  At the climax of the play the audience is left with a sense that change is coming, but not without a struggle, or a fight.

A “Talk Back” forum was held by the stage and the actors talked about the genius of Wilson and how his work always fosters further examination.

Leland Gantt (Radio’s Sterling) said that the actors were on a journey to excavate the truth in Wilson’s work (the last he produced before he passed in 2005).

During a celebration of August Wilson’s work at Syracuse University in 2006, Dramaturg Kyle Bass, said it best: “Wilson gave us back to us.”

Thomas Jefferson Byrd (Radio’s Elder Joseph Barlow), who appeared in Wilson’s  Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom at Syracuse Stage in 2009, described interpreting Wilson’s work on stage like eavesdropping on a conversation or peering thru a peephole at a family discussion. He said Wilson was able to avoid stereotypes by being true to the characters. “You know the truth when you hear it,” he said.

A September conversation August would have enjoyed

Tuesday, September 30th, 2008

Syr Stage Discussion

Syracuse Stage Producing Artistic Director Timothy Bond began a series of discussions around the August Wilson play Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, which opened the season. On September 21, I attended a post show forum on the use of the N-word during the play. The forum featured Actor Thomas Jefferson Byrd (standing) along with media personality George Kilpatrick (center) and professor Dr. Adam Banks. Byrd told the crowd of about 50 that he was not offended by the use of the N-word during the play because it was part of the dialogue that showed a true portrait of the world of the featured characters (circa 1920s). Wilson’s work gave those characters, and their world, recognition and worth, Byrd said. Banks added that the word as well as the use of the N-word must be framed within the proper historical and cultural context.