“Wounded Healers,” a play written by Minnesota State University, Mankato faculty member Timothy Berry, is a story centering long-term trauma caused by systemic racism. The cast of five tells stories of Black American history and the lasting effects that it has had on Black people in America.
MSU junior, and actor in the show, Joaquin Warren discussed the responsibility of performing a show with such heavy material.
“This show really takes a toll, being black and speaking on experiences that some of us have lived or history that we have learned. It’s trying to not bring that outside of the rehearsal, but when it’s something that affects your life it’s really hard,” Warren stated.
Not only do the actors involved carry around the heaviness of the show in their day to day lives, they also have to figure out the balance and logistics of being an active student involved in a theatre production.
“We’re going to these rehearsals or performing shows and then the next day you’re in class, but all you can think about is the show you have at night,” said Warren. ”Whether it’s technical things, like missing a line, or it’s the stuff you’ve covered and the weight it holds; it can be very hard to not let things weigh you down while you go about your day.”
Marquise Myles, a sophomore and actor in the production, agrees that balancing student life and theatre comes with difficulties.
“It’s busy. Having rehearsals every day for two months was definitely a process to get used to. Ultimately, our director is very considerate and we never stay past when we need to,” Myles stated.
The actors noted that it’s all about balance and learning to prioritize. However, prioritizing doesn’t always look the same.
“For me, school is usually my biggest priority, but it’s really an understanding that sometimes you have something you’re super passionate about, like the show right now, and that is going to take higher priority,” said Warren. “I’m still going to get my school work done, but you have to establish priorities in a way that makes sense for you.”
When learning to find balance, Myles emphasizes self care.
“I know it’s so basic, but you really have to take care of yourself. If you treat yourself like you’re sick, you will feel so much better. I drink tea, I am always using cough drops, I’ll drink water. I know it sounds like, ‘oh duh of course,’ but it helps so much to rest and treat yourself kindly,” Myles explained.
Both actors encourage attendance to “Wounded Healers,” as an opportunity for learning.
“You should always be seeking to learn,” said Warren. “We cannot grow and unify as people if we don’t understand where everyone’s coming from. I want people to come and see truths in ways they may not have seen before, and understand that we have people around us to connect with and grow and support each other.”
Myles discussed the show’s representation of American history and how audience members can learn from the show, as well as their most fond moments of being part of the production.
“The show is a conversation. It doesn’t matter your identity in any way, shape, or form to be a part of this type of conversation. This is American history, and it’s important to involve yourself,” Myles concluded.
“I think my favorite part about being in the show is being a part of something so unapologetically black. There’s not that many opportunities like this here in the Midwest, and especially not here in Mankato. Having the opportunity has been really empowering and invigorating to be who I really am instead of assimilating.”
“Wounded Healers” will be running in the Andreas Theater until Feb. 6. Tickets can be bought on the MSU theatre website or at the box office.
Header Photo: MSU stars of the most recent performance “Wounded Healers” take time for themselves before heading on stage to perform. (Courtesy Photo)