The African Community Theatre of Kent State University will be holding auditions for its fall production of Stagolee: A Black Folktale from 5 to 7 p.m. tonight and Friday.
They are in need of 13 characters, six women and seven men ranging from 16 to 60 years old. The production will capture the folklore of African-Americans and present it with music, song and dance.
If you are interested in trying out, prepare a three- to five-minute monologue to recite or a song to sing.
Stagolee: A Black Folktale is based on the short story by Julius Lester, adapted for a play by Ed Smith and revised by Dr. Fran Dorsey, director of the African Community Theatre at Kent State.
Dorsey has been the director of the theater for 27 years. His mission statement extends from a long lineage of African theater.
In 1926, W.E.B. DuBois said African theater must be " about us ... by us ... for us .. near us." In 1965, Amiri Baraka demanded "that there exist a theater about African people and dedicated to the liberation of African consciousness."
Building on that idea, Dorsey said "when one speaks of African theater, one speaks of the need to present that which is dedicated to the lives of African people. For we are first and foremost a people whose roots lie in the native soil of Africa, and whose blood, sweat and tears have been spent nurturing the soil of American democracy."
The theater program involves the community in performances that educate the public in the heritage of African peoples in order "to help eliminate the cultural deficit found within a 100-mile radius of Kent State University."
The group occasionally offers transportation from designated locations for participants and attendees to help meet that goal.
In addition to two performances a year, The African Theatre Community also hosts two groups that educate about theater: The African Theatre Arts Workshop and The Mbari Mbayo Players. The African Theatre Arts Workshop trains individuals to work behind the scenes on a theater production and The Mbari Mbayo Players work with individuals for acting on stage.
Theaters like this depend on people like you to continue putting on inspirational and educational productions.
Whether you are a student or a senior, live in Portage County or not, this theater welcomes your participation — whether as actor or patron. They are accepting auditions not only for actors, but also musicians, choreographers and volunteers. Stop by Oscar Richie Hall this week to see what it's all about.
And if you're more of a theatergoer than maker, be on the look out for Stagolee: A Black Folktale this November at Kent State.