A stage play is based on a simple story idea as opposed to a complex one that can be found in spy novels. Simplicity is the key to a successful play because of limitations such as: cost, time, sets, scene changes and characters. A stage play is not necessarily heavy in dialogue but an actor’s nonverbal expressions and actions are invaluable as well.
Dressed down in a black pin-stripped suit with a pink tie, Dr. David King Godwin has one week left to rehearse for the opening play of the season called Miss Evers’ Boys.
Balancing time as the Chair of the Theatre department and professor of public speaking classes, Godwin’s main focus is bringing the powerful message of this remarkable play to life.
Miss Evers’ Boys is a Story about the Tuskegee experience. It’s a fictional piece based on real events. The Tuskegee study consist of treatment of African American men who have syphillis but were never treated.
The government decided to run these experiments to find out what the effects on these men were, but tragically, the infected men haven’t been treated. This opened up a new world of research and ethics.
“I chose this show because I wanted to find something historical, powerful that’s going to grab their audience and hold their attention,” said Godwin.
After briefly checking his email, we both strolled downstairs so he could illustrate the intimate set in the Floyd L. Sandle Theatre.
He explained certain twist to the story that I must keep confidential, obviously, but soon after the visual rundown, we continued the interview at the theatre.
To ensure the audience grasps the essence of Miss Evers’ Boys, Godwin specifically chose the characters based on auditions strictly by invitation.
“I’m proud of the selection process. I believed I picked a great cast because their ensemble and very cohesive with each other. Each character has to step out of their 19, 20-year-old status and go be 40, 50-year-old’s for a night. Their ability to transform is great.”
Once Miss Evers’ Boys’ wraps next weekend, Godwin and the cast will enter the play in the American College Theatre Festival. The festival is held in Shreveport every February.
“This year marks the 20 or 30 years that Grambling participated in that festival. Some of the committee members will be watching our show next week so we’re excited,” said Godwin.
The cast includes Shawn Turner, Michael Sandusky, Willie Miller, Brandon Mcknight, Raje’ Iglehart and Justin Madden. Actress Dawn Elizabeth Clements will play the lead role as Miss Evers’.
“I feel this play will set the tone for the year. They’re going feel the love and the sympathy on this one,” said McKinight.