Theatre finds essentials for coping

Get into the groove with thumping drums, roaring gospel music, rhythmic dance and witty lyrics as FAMU’s Essential Theatre presents, “Don’t Bother Me, I Can’t Cope.”

“Don’t Bother Me, I Can’t Cope” will take viewers on a journey through black history. The show progresses from the early struggles of black people to their trials in the Harlem Renaissance.

“The show illuminates the strength of black people. That (strength) has allowed them to survive after all that they have endured,” said Harry Bryce, director and choreographer.

The original Broadway production, written by Micki Grant, was the first show to bring black political and social issues to the stage.

Bryce, who’s worked with original director Vinnette Carroll, said he’s captured the same style of the first show to “honor the past.”

Luther D. Wells, associate director of theater at FAMU, said although the show was made three decades ago, students should still be able to connect with the play.

“The show deals with human feeling from a black perspective,” Wells said. The world has changed, but the issues still exist.”

Bryce said “Don’t Bother Me” is vital for students to see because it revisits the past so they don’t relive it in their future.

Marty Lamar, a FAMU alumnus and actor, said the show portrays some hard truths.

“It’s a sarcastic slap in the American face,” Lamar said.

“Everyone knows the history, but when you see the play, you realize black people still have a lot of work to do,” he said.

“The show explains where we are, where we’ve come from and where we are going,” said Travaulya Wallace, a sophomore music student from Miami and an actress in the show.

Although the show addresses serious issues, it still offers entertaining performances through song and dance.

“The blend of calypso, folk and gospel music gives each song in the play its own flavor,” Bryce said.

Bryce added that the show reflects an important part of history.

Bryce said, “Don’t Bother Me I Can’t Cope resurrects the past so the world will not forget it.”

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