From the Mankato stage to the Midwestern spotlight, “Wounded Healers” got the chance to perform the show once again for a regional audience.
Director and Interim Associate Vice president for Faculty Affairs and Equity Initiatives Timothy Berry found out that the Department of Theatre and Dance submitted the show to be considered to attend the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Region V Festival 55 in Des Moines, Iowa. A month ago, the show was invited to perform.
“We were one of seven pieces selected from the region to perform, so I consider that a significant honor for the program and for the students to be selected,” said Berry. “The students responded with such enthusiasm and joy and of this idea of wanting to make sure they put their best foot forward with this opportunity.”
Despite the show premiering nearly a year ago at Minnesota State, there was minimal difficulty for senior Marquise Myles to fall back into his character, a storyteller that explains the history of African Americans to the audience.
“Due to how impactful it was initially, I just had to re-familiarize myself with the syntax,” said Myles. “This kind of production stays in your blood.”
After each performance, a talkback has been held where the audience can ask questions related to the content of the show. Following the heightened racial tensions after 2020, senior Daniel Walker finds the show important to bring awareness to having more diversity in shows.
“We want to do more black shows and we feel like that would be a way to get more black students or other students of color interested if they see that we’re doing those shows. My goal is [for people] to see that people of color can sell tickets,” said Walker.
For Berry, performing on a regional level allows viewers to grapple with the dark aspects of African American history that create the content of the performance.
“We don’t often get this in our education system. Unfortunately, the actual events that took place almost get glossed over. It’s been exciting that the larger venue will be tremendous for us to continue to see what other audiences outside of our community think [of the show] and discuss with this piece,” said Berry.
Walker said he feels the content and how it’s performed draws people to witness the show which he feels has opened up conversations about racial issues.
“I felt like I got really lucky that I was here at this moment because I feel like it was kind of lightning in a bottle. I don’t want to ever stop performing it because I see people’s reaction to it,” said Walker. “To be a part of something that makes me feel that you have to go home and think about [what you watched.] You’re gonna have to have some type of conversation and have a talk that at the end.”
Myles echoed Berry’s statement by saying “Wounded Healers” shows how black history is being addressed at a larger level and they’re finally being heard.
“I think it’s really important, impactful and truly something that I’m proud to be a part of, to be a part of the cultural shift that would allow black creators and black artists to share their voice and share these themes and other African aspects,” said Myles. “I’m truly just really grateful and thankful.”
Header photo: “Wounded Healers” was one of seven shows invited to perform at the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Region V Festival 55 in Des Moines, Iowa. (Lilly Anderson/The Reporter)
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