Southern Miss Theater performed their production of the play “Blues for an Alabama Sky” by playwright Pearl Cleage at Hartwig Theater on Feb. 21-24.
Set in Harlem, New York, over the course of eight weeks during the summer of 1930, “Blues for an Alabama Sky” tells the story of Guy, an unemployed costume designer and his roommate Angel, an up-and-coming blues singer who is also out of work. The play explores the contradictory sensations of wanting to escape one’s current situation and searching for a sense of belonging.
“Blues for an Alabama Sky” tackles many mature issues such as racism, sexism and prejudice with grace as well as personality. The characters navigate these complex issues all in the setting of a small Harlem apartment.
Director of the production Amanda Washington said everyone involved contributed ideas from the design team to the actors.
“Everyone had strong ideas for what the show could be,” Washington said. “It was great to be able to shape and hone those ideas into the final creation.”
Junior Tony Reimonenq III plays the role of Leland, the love interest of the character Angel. Reimonenq considers the production a success.
“My favorite part of the process was discovering new things about my character and relating him to Tony,” Reimonenq said when asked what his favorite part of the process was. “The more I can connect a character to myself, the more organic and transparent the performance will be.”
Freshman Rakela Thompson plays the part of Delia. Thompson also considers “Blues for an Alabama Sky” a success.
“I feel as if the performance was very successful,” Thompson said. “I am proud of the cast for all the hard work and high energy that we all put into this show.”
R.J. Cyprian, who played Sam, said the process of working on “Blues for an Alabama Sky” was an amazing learning experience and it was one of his favorite shows he has done.
“The audience was a blast, and the cast really just hit it at all cylinders tonight,” Cyprian said. “It was a beautiful connection between the actors and audience. Sam is a character that I hold very dear to my heart. I really hope that the public can come and enjoy.”
Pearl Cleage is a widely-recognized African American playwright and novelist from Atlanta, Ga. Cleage’s work is known for exploring issues such as racism and sexism.
Her acclaimed novel “What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day” was a 1998 Oprah Book Club selection. Cleage currently teaches drama at Spelman College in Atlanta, Ga. and is the Playwright in Residence at Alliance Theater.
The next show will be “Three Musketeers” on March 28 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets can be purchased now at southernmisstickets.com.