From the Editor: Volume V. July-August 2012

by Donna Walker Kuhne

The Road Weeps Bulletin has provided an opportunity for each Consortium Partner to share their perspective, thoughts and efforts to prepare for Marcus Gardley’s play the road weeps, the well runs dry. Over the past 12 months, we have shared with our readers, experiences with Town Hall forums, and community gatherings developed to create partnerships and build a foundation for audiences experience the upcoming production. Each venue, Latino American Theater Company (LATC), Pillsbury House, University of South Florida and Perseverance Theater have all developed and presented unique and wonderful explorations into the text, meaning and possibilities that Gardley’s play presents.

This month our Storytellers discuss migration, education and preparation. Professor Fannie Green at University of South Florida has personalized this experience by exploring her family’s migration to the U.S. She has also shared excerpts from the book ‘Black Indian Slave Narratives’ as another perspective on migration. LATC talks about the importance of engaging community partners as part of audience development and has confirmed collaborations with the California African American Museum, an impressive cadre of academic partners and the Ebony Repertory Theater. It has been the philosophy of Lark Play Development Center to build a robust foundation of cultural and educational partners that fosters dialogue and engagement.

Pillsbury House presents an insightful interview with co-Artistic Director, Faye Price. She discusses how they are preparing for the production and some of the challenges they face. As Price concludes in her interview, much of the artistic and production efforts are undecided, yet, she is excited about the possibilities and confident that her audiences will experience this play in an unprecedented manner.

And our partners in Alaska, Perseverance Theater have already begun selling tickets! As a result of the Festival they held in March, there is interest in the play and audiences want to see it. Their approach is based on issues of diversity and social justice which is another window into Gardley’s work. Perseverance is advancing their goal for increased diversity while preparing for the production. I think it’s a smart approach and provides context for promoting the play.

It’s exciting to see how each consortium partner is preparing for the production of the road weeps, the well runs dry. There is an air of anticipation, excitement and opportunity. Over this past year, the partners have wisely mined their resources, their communities, their artists and their institutional vision to ask deep questions on race, migration, education and diversity. What they all share is enthusiasm and anticipation to present the amazing story that Gardley has written and to create forums for self exploration and dialogue with audiences around the country.

Unraveling family history can be quite a journey. What have you done to deepen your understanding of your family’s journey. Where did they come from? I recently discovered through DNA research that my maternal ancestry originates from the Mende people in Sierra Leone and the Mandika people from Senegal. I think many of us in different ways are searching, clarifying, confirming our identity. We look forward to seeing you in the audience as we continue this expedition of discovery with Lark, Marcus Gardley and our Consortium Partners.

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