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The Lycoming College theatre department moves to the third play in the “dismantled” series with a virtual reading of “Spell Number 7” on Saturday, March 6, 7:30 p.m. The live performance is free and open to the public. Click here to access.
Ntozake Shange’s “Spell Number 7” is the story of a group of Black friends who are musicians and performers. In a series of dreamlike vignettes and poetic monologues, they commiserate about the difficulties they face as black artists.
“At its heart, ‘Spell Number 7’ is a beautiful play that captures the plight of the Black artist. The piece was written in 70s but is still very relevant today,” said Nigel Semaj ’17, theatre director and educator. “Taking place at a bar after hours, these friends come together as a new family unit. They argue in familial moments that many Black artists will identify with. Their late-night gathering is separate from the world and its oppressions. It’s about healing and moving forward.”
The “dismantled” series of virtual play readings provides an opportunity for the campus community to further advance its conversation about societal change, most specifically, problems of race. Directed and organized by Semaj, the collection of plays focuses on the narratives of Black and brown people, equity, diversity, inclusion, and how to move toward a collective liberation. Each virtual reading is followed by talkbacks with invited guests.
Semaj advises audiences to think of the virtual readings as presentations rather full productions. “It’s not the lights and costuming that tell the story – it’s about the words of the story and listening rather than looking. When the reading is stripped down, you are forced to use your imagination more. Audiences will come away with a new sense of how to listen and watch a play at the same time,” he said.
All four live performances of the “dismantled” series begin at 7:30 p.m., are free and open to the public, and can be accessed at: https://www.lycoming.edu/theatre/schedule.aspx. The series includes:
- 20: “A Case for Black Girls Setting Central Park on Fire” by Kori Alston
- 27: “Collective Empathy Formation from 1968 and 2018” by Calley N. Anderson
- March 6: “Spell Number 7” by Ntozake Shange
- March 13: “Lyon’s Den” by TJ Young