Current: The Fine Print: African American Printmakers
January 15 - March 14, 2021
Co-curated with Raven Fine Art Editions (Easton, PA), this exhibition highlights the artistic contributions of 22 contemporary African-American printmakers.
All are welcome to join any of our related free online programs:
Spoken Word Workshop: Wednesday, February 3, 7:00pm
Learn to create and perform original poetry with Philadelphia-based teaching artist Lamot "Napalm" Dixon!
To register: tiny.cc/MUSpoken
Poet Lamont Dixon is dedicated to providing language arts education programs for young and old. All of his techniques are guided by this philosophy: children are imaginative, receptive, creative individuals. Lamont remains committed to the idea that the individual mind for child and adult is its own university of arts.
Lamont, aka Napalm Da Bomb, has been a prominent presence on the music/poetry scene for many years, one who often mentors young artists. As a performance poet/teaching artist, Lamont demonstrates what he describes as "vibepoetics" - an eclectic mixing of multiple artistic genres to provide dramatic language arts education. Lamont’s poetry has been published in many magazines, his latest book of poetry is Come Ride My Poems and he also appears on various jazz CDs.
Virtual Artists Studio Tour: Tuesday, February 23, 7:00pm
One of the works from The Fine Print will be added to the University's permanent collection. All are welcome to join this conversation to meet some of the featured artists and learn more about collecting works by African American artists.
To register: tiny.cc/MUVirtualStudio
Non-students can contact Lalaine Little to schedule a private viewing of the exhibition.
"A Raisin in the Sun" Virtual Table Reading: Friday, March 5, 7:00pm
Courtesy of Concord Theatricals
"A Raisin in the Sun" by Lorraine Hansbury
To register: tinyurl.com/MURaisin
"A Raisin in the Sun is a play about dreams; what it means to dream big, to lose faith in your dreams, and to discover new dreams. It is also a story about family. We meet the Younger family the day before they are getting a $10,000 insurance check from the death of the father, Walter Younger. We watch as different members of the family have different ideas of how to use the money: Mama wants to buy a house with a little garden in the back, Walter Lee Younger (their son) wants to invest in a liquor store, Ruth (Walter Lee’s wife) wants a house with some space and a nice kitchen, and Beneatha (Walter Lee’s sister) wants to go to medical school. Tensions increase as each member of the family tries to get their own way, eventually threatening to break apart their foundation completely. The stakes continue to climb as questions about identity, class, value, race and love become forefront issues, and outsiders to the family make it impossible to forget the world that the Younger family cannot seem to escape."
Cast of Characters
All Roles are open
A Black woman in her early sixties. She is the full-figured, strong matriarch of the family, widowed within the last few years. She has a certain beauty and grace that take a while to notice because she is so humble and unobtrusive about them. We see her wisdom and her life’s struggles written on her face. She is full of faith: for God, for her people and for her family. “Her bearing is perhaps most like the noble bearing of the women of the Heroes of Southwest Africa--rather as if she imagines that as she walks she still bears a basket or a vessel upon her head. Her speech, on the other hand, is as careless as her carriage is precise--she is inclined to slur everything--but her voice is perhaps not so much quiet as simply soft” (Lorraine Hansberry’s description).
She is a Black woman of about 30. We can see that she used to be exceptionally beautiful and still is, although now she wears the struggles and disappointment of her daily life on her face and in the way she carries herself. She looks like she’s tired of everything, but still takes on her own and everyone else’s responsibilities. “In a few years, before thirty-five even, she will be known among her people as a settled woman) (Lorraine Hansberry’s description). She is a consummate care-giver. She is the one who is always trying to keep everyone happy and often becomes the peacekeeper in the house. She wants the simple things in life: a home, a family and love.
A young Black woman of about 20. She is a very ambitious young woman who dreams of being a doctor. She is in college and is very fond of using big words and speaking big ideas, often to the frustration of her family. “Her speech is a mixture of many things; it is different from the rest of the family’s insofar as education has permeated her sense of English--and perhaps the Midwest rather than the South has finally--at last--won out in her inflection” (Lorraine Hansberry’s description). She is often the one that gets picked on, but she is more than capable of throwing insults back, especially with her brother. She has recently become really interested in Africa and in finding her roots, probably because of the Nigerian boy, Asagai, that she has become interested in. She likes nice things and thinks she deserves them just as much as anyone else. She is convinced that she can do anything she wants to do, and is respected by those around her for that philosophy. She claims to be an atheist, yet she quotes the bible more than anyone else in the play. She is a young woman full of contradictions, perhaps alluding to how much she still needs to learn and grow.
WALTER LEE YOUNGER
A Black man of around 35. He is always dreaming of a better life for him and his family, but he doesn’t always go about trying to get it in the right way. He is very dependent on other people, in his home as well as in his business endeavors. “His is a lean, intense young man...inclined to quick nervous movements and erratic speech habits--and always in his voice there is a quality of indictment” (Lorraine Hansberry’s description). We get the idea that he was once a wonderful brother, sister, and husband, but in the last few years since his father died, he has become a miserable person to be around. He is often drunk and angry, and he is quick to insult his family members when he feels like he wants control. He is a smart man and his dreams are respectable; if only he had more resources he could be a big, successful man of the times.
A Black young man in his 20s. He is from Nigeria but has come to America to go to college. He is courting Beneatha. He is a “rather dramatic-looking young man” (Lorraine Hansberry’s description). He is very direct, always speaking exactly what is on his mind. He seems to not have time to play games. He has big dreams about going back to Nigeria and becoming a powerful politician and changing things for his country. He is very realistic about human experience and the way the world works.
A Black young man in his 20s. He is courting Beneatha; they met at college. He comes from the wealthiest, most successful African-American family in the area. He is very well off, and very pretentious. He takes Beneatha on amazing dates but he often offends her with his ideas of what a woman should be. He has lots of resources and not a lot of ambition to take advantage of them.
Travis, a Black child, and the 10-year-old son of Ruth and Walter. He is often used as a tool to get people to do things. He is young but seems to be a good listener and always tends to know what’s going on. He is very loved and he seems to love his family just as much. He is very curious about what is happening with this $10,000 check that everyone keeps talking about. He wants to be just like his father when he grows up, although he is aware when his father does things that aren’t appreciated by the rest of the family.
“A quiet-looking middle-aged white man in a business suit holding his hat and a briefcase in his hand” (Lorraine Hansberry’s description). he is the chairman of the Clybourne Park Improvement Association. He comes over to make a deal with the Youngers. We get the idea that he is not a violent racist, and might not even think he is racist at all. He just wants to keep his life quiet and comfortable. He really seems to believe that he is doing what is best for this family by trying to keep them safe. He is a complex character who has very strong arguments to justify his visit.
A Black man in his 30s. Bobo is Walter Lee’s friend that was in on the business deal with him and Willie Harris. He is a “very slight little man in a not too prosperous business suit and with haunted frightened eyes and a hat pulled down tightly, brim up, around his forehead” (Lorraine Hansberry’s description). He was somehow in on scamming Walter with Willie, but he was blindsided when Willie disappeared with his money as well. He comes in to break the bad news to Walter and we see that his life has been just as uprooted.
A Black woman of no particular age. She is the Youngers’ neighbor. She is not their favorite person. She is “a rather squeaky wide-eyed lady of no particular age” (Lorraine Hansberry’s description). She comes in with a newspaper to point out to Ruth and Mama how dangerous it will be for them to move into Clybourne Park. Her syrupy sweetness is rather fake and irritating. This role is small; she only appears in one scene, and so the scene and character are often cut altogether.
Due by Wednesday, February 10.
Actors are asked to perform a 1-2 minute dramatic contemporary monologue. Backstage is a good resource for finding monologues: https://www.backstage.com/monologues/contemporary/
Actors should record their monologues, upload them to a Cloud storage (Google Drive, One Note, iCloud, etc.) and then send a link to the video to email@example.com.
Any questions regarding auditions can be directed to Dave Reynolds, firstname.lastname@example.org.