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Black Boy
American Place Theatre presents BLACK BOY


NYS Writers Institute, February 12, 2014

7:30 p.m. Performance | Recital Hall, Performing Arts Center, Uptown Campus

A stage adaptation of “Black Boy,” Richard Wright’s classic autobiographical novel, will be performed at 7:30 p.m. [NOTE EARLY START TIME], Wednesday, February 12, 2014 in the Recital Hall of the Performing Arts Center on the University at Albany’s uptown campus. A pre-performance discussion, open to all, will be held at 7:00 p.m. A production of American Place Theatre, a performance-based literacy program, the event is sponsored by UAlbany’s Performing Arts Center and the New York State Writers Institute, with support from UAlbnay’s Diversity Transformation Fund. Admission is $15 (advance) and $20 (day of) for the general public; and $10 (advance) and $15 (day of) for students, seniors & faculty/staff. Box Office: (518) 442-3997 or [email protected].

Black Boy American Place Theatre’s one-man show based on Richard Wright’s classic autobiographical novel, Black Boypart of the company’s acclaimed “Literature to Life” series—will be staged at the University at Albany’s Performing Arts Center. The story of a young African American man’s quest for education, and his fight for basic rights in the Jim Crow South, the show features fifteen characters, twenty-two vignettes, and fifty minutes of verbatim performance from the first half of Wright’s novel. Interactive discussions with the audience exploring themes of racism and individualism will be moderated by a “teaching artist” both before and after the show.

This stage version of “Black Boy” premiered at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. in 2005, and marked one of the first touring productions in the “Literature to Life” series. The play was adapted and directed by Wynn Handman, the company’s founder and Artistic Director, and recipient of the 1999 Obie for Sustained Achievement and the Lucille Lortel Award for Lifetime Achievement.

The play stars Tarantino Smith, who also stars in the “Literature to Life” one-man stage adaptation of Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man. A North Carolina native, Smith told the Michigan news website, MLive, that one of the biggest challenges of the role was playing a variety of characters with racial prejudices. He said, “I looked at the part, and it really scared me, so I knew it was the right thing to do. As an artist, you want to be challenged.”

Richard Wright’s bestselling, influential novels about African American experience in the 20th century are often credited with helping to transform race relations in this country. Born outside Natchez, Mississippi in 1908, Wright was the son of an illiterate sharecropper. As a child, he developed an early fascination with the power of words. Years later, he moved to Chicago where he worked as a street-sweeper and postal worker, and began to write. In 1937, he left Chicago for New York, published his first book, Uncle Tom’s Children, to good reviews in 1938. In 1940, his second book, Native Son, brought him critical acclaim and it made him the first African American author to be a Book-of-the-Month Club selection. Five years later, he published the runaway bestseller Black Boy.

“Black Boy” is presented by the Performing Arts Center in conjunction with the New York State Writers Institute, with support provided by the Diversity Transformation Fund, administered through the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, with additional support from the Holiday Inn Express.

Admission is $15 (advance) and $20 (day of) general public; $10 (advance) and $15 (day of) for students, seniors & faculty/staff.  For additional information, contact the Box Office at (518) 442-3997 or [email protected].