April 14, 2004

'In the Blood' opens April 21 at McLeod Theater

by Paula M. Davenport

CARBONDALE, Ill. - - Southern Illinois University Carbondale's theater department will stage "In the Blood," Wednesday through Sunday, April 21-25.

The curtain will go up at McLeod Theater at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday with a 2 p.m. matinee on the closing Sunday. Reservations are recommended.

"In the Blood" comes from the pen of award-winning playwright Suzan-Lori Parks. The African-American playwright taps the rhythms of modern street life and draws parallels between heroine Hester La Negrita, a homeless mother of five, and Nathaniel Hawthorne's Hester Prynne.Tickets are now available at the McLeod Theater Box Office in the Communications Building on the SIUC campus, 618/453-3001.

Visiting artist Shirley Jo Finney is the play's guest director. An alumnus of the American Film Institute's Director Workshop for Women, her directing credits include The Pasadena Playhouse, The Goodman Theater, the Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Crossroads Theater Company, Theater of Louisville Humana Festival and The Sundance Theater Workshop. She holds a master of fine arts degree from the University of California at Los Angeles.

Critic Martin Denton says Negrita is "street-wise, hip, imaginative, courageous and tenacious." The action is set in her 'home' -- the underside of a bridge in a New York ghetto.

"Her story is gritty and pitted with racial, gender and social injustice. Not to mention blatant double standards of morality. Lucky for Hester, she has an oversized, brazen sense of humor and an Obie-winning African-American playwright to bring her story to the stage," Denton adds.

For more information, call Lori Merrill-Fink, publicity director and associate professor of theater, at 618/453-7591.

The SIUC Student Fine Arts Activity Fund is providing funds for guest director Finney's spring residency.

Expanding cultural outreach efforts is among the goals of Southern@150, the blueprint for the development of the University by the time it celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2019.