Local play aims to generate racial dialogue


Photo credit: southernshakespearefestival.org


The Southern Shakespeare Company is doing something different this year. It is presenting “A Town Divided,” an original play designed to plumb the topic of race relations in Tallahassee. Tallahassee Community College is sponsoring the event in honor of African-American History Month.

This performance will be held Friday at TCC’s Turner Auditorium.

The original production is loosely based on William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. The narrative will demonstrate the racial differences in our society, from interviews and stories of Tallahassee residents.

This impactful 50-minute play is written to prompt racial dialogue, and encourages the audience to address their personal biases and prejudices.

Chris Berry, an assistant professor of theater at Florida A&M University, knows all too well the racial divisions in America. He saw the opportunity for contributing to “A Town Divided” as a creative way for discussion.

Berry said in a Tallahassee Democrat column, “I grew up in a working-class community, predominately black and Latino, in the suburbs outside of New York City. Color, race and perception are burdens I have dealt with my entire life. Moving to Tallahassee was no different.

“To be able to devise a powerful piece of theater using the courageous stories and testimonies from our community, we can show that, although art may mimic life, our lives can all improve because of art.”

This play has the potential to create social harmony in Tallahassee, he argued. Education and self-awareness are important aspects that can assist in finding a common ground. Southern Shakespeare Company is attempting to demonstrate these struggles by giving the community a different perspective on racial and social issues.

The focus of the play encourages members in the community to raise their social awareness and unite together for a greater cause.

“To educate oneself about race and culture is a beautiful thing. We should all come together and let the vision of the Southern Shakespeare  Company allow an entire community to take one step closer together,” wrote Berry.”

There will be two opportunities to view the showing, at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Admission is $10 for students and seniors, $15 for general public.

For additional event information and ticket purchases visit eventbrite.com.