In addition to Dunbar, the authors saluted in the presentation include well-known scribes such as television co-producer (“Shameless”) and Tony Award nominee Dominique Morisseau (“Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations”) as well as emerging voices such as inclusion activist Christine Toy Johnson, poet/playwright Dave Harris, and Sinclair alumnus Amber Smith.
“Engaging our students and continuing their education during the pandemic is a challenge,” said Gina Neuerer, chair of Sinclair’s Music, Theatre and Dance Department. “But now our students are feeling the anger of the injustice of our country’s systemic racism and I want to help them to find multiple paths for their rage and fear and activism, with one of those paths being involvement in theater performance.”
The cast and program lineup includes:
- S. Francis Livisay, “We Wear The Mask,” by Paul Laurence Dunbar
- Amber Smith, Character Jasmine from “Pipeline,” by Dominique Morisseau
- Mackenzie Moore, “Jazelle the Gazelle,” by Dominque Morisseau
- Amber Smith, Character Mya from “Tired,” by Amber Smith
- Kassahn Johnson, Character Omari from “Pipeline,” by Dominque Morisseau
- Bryana Bentley, “You Think You Know Us,” by Christine Toy Johnson
- Shaun Diggs, “Press-Ure from “Blood at the Root,” by Dominique Morisseau
- Mari Pullings, “Wake, Child,” by Dave Harris
- S. Francis Livisay and Deangelo Powell, “Survival Code” from “Blood at the Root,” by Dominique Morisseau with choreography by Rodney Veal
- Bryana Bentley, “For Black Women Who Experienced Genocide When the Police Murders of Their Sons Was Too Much,” by Keith A. Wallace
Particularly last season, Diggs appeared opposite Hill as Jackie Robinson in the aforementioned “Mr. Rickey Calls a Meeting.” Livisay also appeared at the Guild as Reed in “Icebergs.” Bentley, seen opposite Diggs and Livisay in Sinclair’s outstanding 2017 production of “Blues from an Alabama Sky,” starred last fall as Joey in Sinclair’s thought-provoking production of “Slut.”
The monologues will be compiled into one production package by Dan Brunk, professor of Sinclair Theatre’s technology classes. In order to view the production, visit Sinclair ticketing site at Sinclair.edu/tickets and register for an attendee number, which will allow you admission to the site during the streaming period.
‘We Wear The Mask’ by Paul Laurence Dunbar
We wear the mask that grins and lies,
It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes, –
This debt we pay to human guile;
With torn and bleeding hearts we smile,
And mouth with myriad subtleties.
Why should the world be over-wise,
In counting all our tears and sighs?
Nay, let them only see us, while
We wear the mask.
We smile, but, O great Christ, our cries
To thee from tortured souls arise.
We sing, but oh the clay is vile
Beneath our feet, and long the mile;
But let the world dream otherwise,
We wear the mask!