WORD!, an annual presentation of student-written scripts dealing with issues of race and diversity, will be presented Thursday, April 17 at 8 pm at the Curtain Theater at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. The event is free and open to the public.
The productions, written by Five College students, address race and diversity based on playwright August Wilson's idea that theater can raise consciousness and politicize communities of color. The scripts were chosen by the Multicultural Theater Committee, which then offered artistic and dramaturgical support for students to prepare their work for the stage.
The featured scripts:
Another World, Hao Bai, Hampshire College
The Mixed-Race Mixtape, Andrew Figueroa, Hampshire College
Whitewash, Laakan McHardy, Mount Holyoke College
The students whose scripts are featured in this year’s festival took part in a series of workshops with playwright, performer, and producer Eric Lockley. Students also benefited from the guidance of Adewunmi Oke, a third year MFA student in dramaturgy at UMass, who participated in the workshops and is assisting with the festival.
A graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, Lockley is a member of the Movement Theatre Company and the producing collective, Harlem 9. He just finished acting in the world premiere of Black Odyssey by Marcus Gardley at the Denver Center Theatre Company. This month, Chicago’s MPAACT Theater Company is mounting the premiere production of Lockley’s original play, Without Trace, at the Greenhouse Theater.
Since 1986, the Five College Multicultural Theater Committee, supported by the Five College theater chairs and Five Colleges, Inc., has worked to creatively foreground the experiences of people of color. In addition to the annual WORD! Festival and visiting artist residencies, the committee does this by awarding mini-grants for student-centered productions. For more information about Five College Multicultural Theater projects, visit www.fivecolleges.edu/multitheater