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“The Colored Museum” Combines Performance and Art at MCCC’s Trenton Hall May 10-12

4/15/13


Trenton, N.J. – The Mercer County Community College (MCCC) Theatre program will celebrate diverse voices in theater and art, when students present “The Colored Museum,” a play by the African American dramatist George C. Wolfe.  Performances are Friday, May 10 at 5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, May 11 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.; and Sunday, May 12 at noon in the Sewing Laboratory at MCCC’s Trenton Hall in downtown Trenton, 137 North Broad Street.

According to MCCC Theatre Program Coordinator Jody P. Person, six students will perform 11 scenes, playing as many as four different roles.

“The show focuses on widely held stereotypes still present in the year 2013 – almost 150 years since The Emancipation Proclamation,” Person said.  “Each scene runs approximately 10 minutes, with students moving around the room from one scene to the next.”

The director for the production is Deena Jiles- Shu’aib of Trenton, an alumna of the MCCC Theatre program and Rutgers University who is now an adjunct instructor at Mercer. She observes that the show explores the unbalanced view of blacks in a post-Civil Rights era.

“The play is about racism, oppression, and stereotypes, and asks the question: are these relics of the past or images of our present and future?” Jiles-Shu’aib explains.

“The Colored Museum” premiered in 1986 at Crossroads Theatre in New Brunswick, with Wolfe earning the Dramatists Guild Award. In scenes with titles such as “Git on Board,” “Last Mama on the Couch,” and “Cookin’ with Aunt Ethel,” Wolfe uses slapstick, and rhythm and blues to comment on the African American journey.

The cast features Domonique Jarrett of Hightstown, Gertrude Michel of Trenton, Taylor Pickett-Stokes of Trenton, De Haven Rogers of Hamilton, Wellington Talkpa of Hamilton and Amariss White of Trenton.

Front row: DeHaven Rogers, Gertrude Michel, Domonique Jarrett and Wellington Talkpa; back row: Amariss White, Deena Jiles Shuaib, and Program Coordinator Jody Person. Photo are by Huascar Fiorletta.

Clockwise from lower left: DeHaven Rogers, Taylor Pickett-Stokes, Wellington Talkpa and Domonique Jarret. Photo by Huascar Fiorletta.

 

Artist Tamara Ramos, an MCCC alumna, serves as artistic coordinator for the production, enlisting other artists to create scenery.  All of the artists are donating their work for the duration of the performances. In addition to Ramos, other participating artists are Huascar Fiorletta, Lauren Ferguson, Suziana Johnson and Cindy Ridolfino-Grainger.

The production team also includes MCCC alumnus Shauri Johnson as stage manager and faculty member Kate Pinner as set and costume designer.

Person notes that setting the show in the college's new Sewing Lab is part of the experience of this special play.

“The room is well-lit and handicap accessible, and has just the right amount of space for an intimate experience of theater and art. It is an ideal location for an exclusive performance and art event,” he said.

This year the MCCC Theatre program has expanded its repertoire of shows to include more plays by women and playwrights of color.  In the fall, students presented “Funny House of the Negro,” a depiction of African Americans in the 1960s, and “Vagina Monologues,” a one-woman play by Eve Ensler.

Tickets for “The Colored Museum” are available at the Bursar’s office at Mercer’s Trenton Campus or by calling 609-570-3160.  Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students, staff and faculty. Thirty tickets will be sold for each performance; advance purchase is recommended.  An art show and party will immediately follow the May 12 show.

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