FAMU Essential Theatre prepares for upcoming shows


Auditions were tense as students made final preparations and directors evaluated the actors, each auditioning for their respective roles. Dez’Aray Watkins, 19, is auditioning for the roles of Topaz and Amethyst in the play “Since ’76.”

“I am apprehensive [and] have butterflies in my tummy,” said Watkins. “I was never cast in any plays, but hopefully I can get one of these parts.”

“She is looking for voices, people who are willing to take direction and follow them easily; people who are willing to step outside the box will get parts,” Watkins said about Director Marci Stringer. “I feel very confident in her and she will bring out my best.”

FAMU theatre department will present plays “Since 76” and “Exonerated” on Nov.5. Stringer will direct the play “Since ‘76” and Valencia Matthews will direct “Exonerated.”

The plays will bring out the best in the students and even alumni like James Hamilton, who is auditioning for a role in “Exonerated.”

“Matthews doesn’t play around she will guide and help to get you prepared,” Hamilton said. “There’s no playing around.”

“I’m looking for an all-female cast with women who are strong with voice, language, poetry and rhythm,” said Stringer. “The play will paint pictures with the girls’ bodies on stage; it will have a bunch of storytelling about sisterhood, family and the new millennium women.” 

The vision of “Since 76” will use bodies for as a way of telling a story in a “dream-like” quality. 

“Anytime there’s an injustice, it grabs you and we want others to see it. We want to impact the audiences,” Matthews said. “We like to provide pieces that speak to us.”