The lies, the deception, the rise, the fall, “The Story.”
These are all the characteristics of Florida A&M Essential Theatre’s first production, which starts Friday.
Written by Tracey Scott Wilson, “The Story” follows a young African-American journalist who investigates a murder and reports the perfect story. However, as new revelations arise, the reporter faces paying the ultimate price.
The production is based on the Janet Cooke journalism scandal of 1981 in which Cooke received the Pulitzer Prize for a story that was later revealed to have been a complete fabrication.
Director Marci Duncan, assistant professor of theatre, said the unconventional theme of the production will spark questions on the significance of honesty in journalism and the potential damage that can come as a result of defending a lie.
“It’s treading the line between what’s real and what’s fake,” Duncan said. “How far is one person willing to go to defend what they believe is true, and what are they willing to lose to defend that?”
Duncan was particularly pleased with the opportunity to collaborate with other divisions on campus to prepare for the show. She said the theme should spark interest in a wide array of students.
“I actually had one of the professors from the journalism department who was around to witness the scandal which the play is based on to come speak to the cast,” Duncan said, referring to Knight Chair in Journalism Joe Ritchie. “Students will take interest in it.”
While “The Story” is not completely based on the Janet Cooke scandal, many events that occurred during the 1981 incident “are sprinkled throughout the play,” according to Duncan.
“Expect the unexpected,” said Noelle Strong, a second-year theatre student from Atlanta.
Strong plays the lead role of Yvonne Robinson and looks forward to revealing the multiple layers of her complex character.
“She is definitely not who she says she is,” Strong said.
Tierra Walker, a fourth-year theatre performance student from Miami, plays several characters including “the assistant,” “the cop” and “activist number one.” Walker compares the production to the ABC drama series “Scandal,” starring Kerry Washington.
“There’s so much information being spewed at you,” Walker said. “It’ll leave you on the edge of your seat because there is always a new twist in the story that you can’t really see coming. It will definitely keep your undivided attention the entire time.”
Charles Winter Wood Theatre, Tucker Hall
Friday 8 p.m. Saturday 2 p.m., 8 p.m. Sunday 3 p.m.
Adults- $15, Seniors-$12 ,Student/Child- $8
Free with a valid FAMU student ID.