Vera Stark, an African-American Vaudeville actor, lives with her friends in Hollywood in the 1930s. Life is a struggle as she takes demeaning bit parts in hopes of creating a name for herself. Vera ends up a legend, whose life is filled with mystery. Biting comedy ensues when she is cast as a slave in an epic antebellum movie. Scenes from the movie become part of the play as contemporary pundits and critics dissect Vera’s legacy in this play by Pulitzer Prize-winner Lynn Nottage.
Called a “sharp toothed comedy” by The Wall Street Journal, “The show plays with how media in America can be both a transcending force and a hindrance to personal freedom. It is written to include film, video and sound elements,” says director Steve Ray. “We have had a blast recreating through video part of an antebellum epic movie and a French documentary. There is also part of a 1930s radio play and lots of still shots that tell the story of Vera Stark’s life. Just to take this to its furthest limit, we have built a set that uses projected images as part of the background,” Ray says, “This play explores the cost of freedom—what you are willing to do to create your own freedom, what those costs are and how society can prevent that.”
The play runs through November 21 in the Dorothy Hackett Ward Theatre in the UTC Fine Arts Center. Contact the Fine Arts Center box office at 425-4269 for show times and ticket information.