Entering Florida A&M University's Charles Winter Wood Theatre, a screen-like board with phrases such as “things can be real divided” and “keep the issues separate,” hang from the facility’s ceiling.
These words tell a story. That story is “Blood at the Root.” It premiered Friday evening.
“Blood at the Root,’ by Dominique Morisseau, an American playwright and actor from Detroit, is a play that examines miscarriages of justice, racial double standards and the crisis in gender and class.
The play’s main character Raylynn is played by Maijiah Franklin, a theater major at FAMU. In this story, Raylan tries to be a voice for the oppressed Black America in an integrated school by addressing multiple racial topics.
The play begins and immediately the audience is introduced to the cast in Cedar, Louisiana, through choreography, and music.
The cast appears to be complaining of heat that won’t go away, all while introducing this mysterious and unnerving mood. The lighting design almost makes the audience feel as if they were in the play themselves.
With every change of scene came instrumentals of songs like Kendrick Lamar’s “We Gon Be Alright,” and the changing of props in quite an amusing fashion, which provided laughter to a play that didn’t seem interested in comedic relief.
Though Raylynn was “Blood at the Roots” main character, Colin, played by FAMU performing arts major Brian Gallagher, found himself in multiple positions which helped him steal the show.
From his character’s introduction of speaking to Raylynn by the lockers as Cedar High School’s quarterback, to him fighting and getting attacked by De’Andre and his friends, his energy had the audience paying attention.
Jaynesha Bonds, a student at FAMU, attended the play and said she enjoyed every moment.
“This was my first time seeing a play at FAMU,” Bonds said.” My favorite part of this play is when they started dancing. I definitely caught the vibes.”
The boards that descended also showed clips from a projector of injustices in America. Students like Christopher Johnson said this part of the play definitely caught his attention.
“I don’t know if that was a screen or if that was some type of board, but it was really creative how the clips showed up on it,’ Johnson said.
“Blood at the Root’s” ended with De’Andre, played by FAMU student Marvens Blain, and his crew arrested, leading to the protest for their release.
The screening of the play will last all weekend followed by post show discussions.
For more information, check out www.famunews.com for dates and screening times.