Essential Theatre presents ‘A Piece of Mine’

Courtesy of Maya Souverin

Florida A&M University’s Essential Theatre opened its doors for the first time this year to present “A Piece of Mine,” a collection of short stories. Many gathered in the Ronald O. Davis Acting Studio Tuesday night to see the works of the late J. California Cooper come to life once again.

Cooper, award-winning author and playwright, was known for writing stories that mainly involved black female characters who were confronted by a world of indifference and betrayal, but found kinship in unexpected places.

In the foreword to “A Piece of Mine” Alice Walker wrote: “In its strong folk flavor, Cooper’s work reminds us of Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston. Like theirs, her style is deceptively simple and direct, and the vale of tears in which some of her characters reside is never so deep that a rich chuckle at a foolish person’s foolishness cannot be heard,” according to

Third-year FAMU theater student from Daytona Beach, Zsacoya Irvin, had high expectations for the show.  

“I don't know what to expect to be honest, but I know it's going to be great. I’ve watched them put a lot of time and efforts into making tonight happen,” Irvin said.

Akieba Allen, second-year FAMU theater student from Miami, playing many different characters throughout the show, tells readers why she believes that production was chosen.

“We just wanted to take the time to share the stories because a lot of us know people who probably have similar stories or have gone through these experiences themselves. So it was just an opportunity to open up a book and read something that may help someone,” Allen said.

Third-year FAMU criminal justice student from Palm Beach, Desmond Hall, enjoyed the show but he had one suggestion for future shows.

“The show was cool and turned out to actually be interesting. I came today for class but I’ll be back. They just need cushioned seats,” Hall said.

“A Piece of Mine” will be available for viewing until Saturday, Jan. 23. Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for students with their ID.  

For more information about show times, the Essential Theatre and upcoming events visit or call (850) 561-2425.