The Penumbra Theatre to Present SPUNK, 2/14-4/7
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by BWW News Desk
Penumbra Theatre announced today the opening of SPUNK, adapted by George C. Wolfe from "Three Tales" by Zora Neale Hurston, music by Chic Street Man. The production will open Thursday, March 14 and run through April 7, 2013 at Penumbra Theatre.
The cast features T. Mychael Rambo, Dennis W. Spears, Jevetta Steele, Austene Van, Keith JamAl Downing and Mikell Sapp, with direction and choreography by Patdro Harris and musical direction and arrangement by Carlton Leake.
Based on the folklore collected by literary icon Zora Neale Hurston, SPUNK is a sensuous and witty journey through African American life at the dawn of the 20th century. A rich mixture of storytelling, dance, and the blues, SPUNK is both a celebration of life and a testament to the travails black Americans have endured. A pillar of the Harlem Renaissance, Hurston's voice is lovingly brought to life by award-winning playwright George C. Wolfe.
Lou Bellamy, Founder and Artistic Director, said, "Twenty years ago, we electrified audiences with a production of SPUNK. We return to the play this February to tap into a wellspring of black folklore and traditions that have sustained whole communities throughout history. This wonderful cast, led confidently by Patdro Harris, offers a fresh take on these timeless tales."
Zora Neale Hurston was a famed writer known most notably for her novel Their Eyes Were Watching God. She was also an anthropologist and determined to juxtapose what she recognized as "authentic Negro life" with stereotypical representations in vogue during the 1920s and 1930s. Her mission was to animate representations of black life with the spirit and pride she had seen in her all-black childhood home of Eatonville, Florida. She understood what was at stake, why it was so very important that black people be the authors of their own stories, that black artists be entrusted to authentically render those stories for audiences, and that the value ascribed to these stories would be estimated by the people they depicted. Half a century later, George C. Wolfe picked up the baton carried by his forbearers, and adapted three of Hurston's short stories for the stage.