Lynn Nottage’s Crumbs from the Table of Joy premiered Tuesday night to a sparse but enthusiastic audience in the Floyd L. Sandle Theatre in the Conrad Hutchinson Performing Arts Center.
Directed by assistant professor Karl V. Norman, the two-act play is set in 1950s New York and focuses on widower Godfrey Crumb, who is played by Derek Rice in his first production at GSU.
Crumb experiences devastation after his wife’s passing and struggles to raise two daughters, 17-year-old Ernestine (Ash’Lee Lackey) and 15-year-old Ermina (Ashanti Spears).
The play is entirely narrated by Ernestine Crumb.
The children’s aunt from their mother’s side, Lily Ann Green (Tatanesha Mincey), comes to live with the Crumbs, bringing along her excessive alcohol consumption and a Communist viewpoint on life.
Dr. Patricia Johnson of the GSU Department of Curriculum and Instruction and Dr. Augusta Clark Patrice, former head of Teacher Instruction, agreed that showcasing racial tension in the 1950s was a priority in the play.
Witnessing the play’s depiction of tension surrounding interracial dating “was a novelty for some people,” Johnson said. “It’s more common [now] and it’s an aspect of life.
“People may stop and look, but it’s not a big deal to most people,” she said.
The play was a learning experience for Spears. “We had to adjust and block out ourselves. We had trouble learning lines.
“Different directors have different styles in which they direct,” the freshman said. “I think that this is a great time to get experience with different directors.”
Playgoers can learn the way of life of African-Americans in the North rather than the South, for a change.
The last character, Gerte Schulte, whom I will leave as a surprise for playgoers, is Kdeja Johnson.
The future goals of the actors of GSU is to have more energy and prepare more beforehand.
“You have to research a lot,” said Lackey, “and we had to learn how to walk, talk and truly be in a part of the 1950s.
“Theatre is a slice of life and this may be your way to get away from your problems.”
The entire cast encourages all students to come and support the Theatre Department as well as to come and get involved.
“If you want to learn how to work well with others in different facets of life, theatre is the place to be,” said Spears.
The play is running from February 19th thru the 22nd held in the Floyd L. Sandle Theatre inside of the Conrad Hutchinson Performing Arts Center at 7 p.m. tickets prices are $3 for students and $5 for nonstudents.
President Dr. Frank G. Pogue was asked how to make more students an intricate part of such campus activities as theatre, Pogue said “The Performing Arts Building is quite a walk but we do have the shuttle so at the times that it doing the normal drop-offs I can also do drop-offs for special things like these and annual convocations.” Various Greek organizations and others on campus can have a theatre night like Greek theatre night for example,” said President Dr. Frank G. Pogue.