Sandle Theatre season kicks off with fanfare

The play God’s Trombones debuted in the Floyd L. Sandle Theatre Sunday. This is the first play of the semester from the Department of Speech and Theatre and the first play at GSU directed by department head Dr. King David Godwin who acquired the position in Spring 2007. “Half of the cast are freshmen, the rest were upperclassmen. It was a learning experience for all of us,” Dr. Godwin said.

The play consists of Bible narratives by seven cast members, solos with live piano accompaniment by Vincent Williams and Gwendolyn Douglas, and dances led by the play’s dance captain, Princeton McCurtain, and choreographed by Diane Maroney-Grigsby.

“Since this is the Bible Belt, I wanted to do something religious but speak to man’s existence,” Godwin said.

He explained that the writer, James Weldon Johnson, would travel and speak, often in churches after the sermons. These sermons covered the whole span of creation through Judgment Day.

“I wanted the audience to grasp the literature, so I decided to stay away from the traditional ‘hooping’ that is often used by Black ministers,” Dr. Godwin said.

The department head was pleased that the verbal feedback from the audience during the play was positive on the opening night.

Junior Angela O’Leary performed the prayer, “Listen Lord” in God’s Trombones. She has been in numerous plays at GSU.

“I think it was a pretty good play. He had high expectations,” O’Leary said of Godwin.

Junior Aigner Edgerson has also been an active participant in the theatre department and in various films outside the university. She performed “Go Down Death” in the play, which depicted the feelings and beliefs in what happens in death from a religious viewpoint.

“I thought it went really well tonight. We all connected and went to the place we needed to be,” Edgerson said. “As a director, Dr. Godwin is good. He’s very strict and demanding. I can appreciate that.”

The next play from the Speech and Theatre Department will be Antigone. It is set to be held during the week of evaluation for reaffirmation of accreditation by the National Association of Schools of Theatre.