October 24, 2006

Play explores African-American struggle in a new century


Cast members from Joe Turner’s Come and Gone
Cast members from Joe Turner’s Come and Gone

Sacramento State continues its fall theatre offerings with Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, beginning Friday, Nov. 3 and running through Sunday, Nov. 19 in the Playwrights’ Theatre. The play, written by August Wilson and directed by Sacramento State professor Melinda Wilson, examines African Americans’ search for their cultural identity following the repression of slavery.

The third of Wilson’s 10-play cycle chronicling the African American experience in the United States in the 20th century, Joe Turner’s Come and Gone is set in a Pittsburgh boarding house in 1911 and tells the story of African American men and women migrating north and searching for a new way of life. The performance features the story of Herald Loomis, a recently released prisoner arriving in Pittsburgh after seven years on a chain gang. The play chronicles Loomis’ struggles as he acclimatizes himself to an unfamiliar world and his struggle to find peace within himself before embarking on a new existence.

“All of the characters in the play are searching for the one thing that will enable them to continue in a fragmented society,” says Director Melinda Wilson. “The play is very much about the African American culture, but it is also about how spirituality, family, food, love and laughter operate to make people whole again.”

As part of the Department of Theatre and Dance’s 50th anniversary, a special event with post-show discussions with the director and cast of the play will take place after the Nov. 5, 8, 12, 15 and 19 performances. There will also be a silent auction of a Josephine Baker painting Nov. 3-19 in the Playwrights’ Theatre Lobby.

Performances on Wednesdays and Thursdays are at 6:30 p.m., and tickets are offered at the discounted price of $8 general, $5 seniors/students/SARTA (Sacramento Area Regional Theatre Alliance) members/children 10 and under. Performances on Fridays and Saturdays are at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. Tickets are $12 general, $10 seniors/students/SARTA members, $8 children 10 and under. Tickets are available at tickets.com or by calling (916) 278-4323.

For more information, contact the Department of Theatre and Dance at (916) 278-6702 or visit www.csus.edu/dram. For media assistance, contact the Public Affairs office at (916) 278-6156.


California State University, Sacramento • Public Affairs
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