Anna Deavere Smith’s Answers to Adversity

REVIEW: Grace and Kindness Glow in Anna Deavere Smith’s Answers to Adversity

February 4, 2021 – Boone, NC:

Winner of multiple Drama Desk Awards for her plays – and her solo performances in them – Anna Deavere Smith has forged a unique synthesis from her skills as a playwright, actress, journalist, and teacher. Her groundbreaking monologues, Fires in the Mirror (1992) and Twilight: Los Angeles 1992 (1994), were skillfully edited from hundreds of interviews that Smith taped with people involved in two distinctively American events, the Crown Heights race riots of 1991 and the Los Angeles rioting of 1992 that followed the acquittal of police officers who had brutally beaten Rodney King. After compacting the taped interviews into taut monologues, Smith channeled each of her characters in performances of carefully crafted mimicry. In artfully distilling the essence of her characters, Smith cumulatively distills us with her art in a fascinating, unique way.

On a webcast presented by The Schaefer Center for Performing Arts at Appalachian State University, “An Evening with Anna Deavere Smith: Reclaiming Grace in the Face of Adversity,” Smith came onscreen in a way that freshly meshed theatre, lecture, pedagogy, and discussion. Dr. Paulette Marty, a theatre arts professor at App State, introduced Smith, instantly departing from normal theatre presentation. Marty and Smith joined in laying the groundwork for the evening’s theme, chosen so aptly in the face of earth-shattering events that have rocked us all in the past year – for Smith had prologues of her own that preceded each of her three extended portraits. Of course, such a video conference would be a staid affair in 2021 without a stream of chatter rolling along the margin of our screens. Viewers of this free webstream had a chatroom for making comments – and afterwards, as Marty interviewed Smith, the professor lifted some of her questions from that chatline.

Apparently, a side benefit of all of Smith’s research is all the prime leftovers she can deliver from those hundreds of interviews. For her rendezvous with App State, to which she linked live from New York, Smith had distillations of interviews she had taped while researching Let Me Down Easy (2008). These dated back to the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and included sitdowns with Bryan Stevenson, founder of the Equal Justice Initiative, and the late Congressman John Lewis, who walked alongside Dr. Martin Luther King in the famed 1965 Selma March.

Before these well-known figures, Smith introduced us to Kiersta Kurtz-Burke, a white physician who worked at a charity hospital in New Orleans in the midst of the Katrina disaster. Smith wove together two strands of the Kurtzberg interview in crafting her monologue, a description of the “worst asshole” she had run across in her hospital work, followed by recollections of her patients’ cynical stoicism during the Katrina ordeal. That worst person turned out to be a doctor who was her superior: he not only demonstrated absolute coldness and distaste toward his patients, but when Kurtzberg called him out on his poisonous attitude, he declared that she would inevitably come to feel the same way in time. When Katrina inundated New Orleans, Kurtzberg watched the city’s reaction unfold as private hospitals were evacuated and the charity hospital was abandoned. Worse, they opened the levees on that part of town in order to save the more valuable real estate. It was not only revelatory to Kurtzberg that her patients, overwhelmingly Black, would be treated with such disregard and disdain, but also that these unfortunates were not at all surprised, telling her in advance that the unthinkable would happen.

If we thought that these were the darkest perceptions we would need to entertain, Smith’s portrait of Bryan Stevenson proved us wrong. Since founding the Equal Justice Initiative, Smith reminded us, Stevenson has opened the National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, commemorating nearly 4,400 victims of “racial terror lynchings” between 1877 and 1950. What Smith then concluded about America is piercing, damning, and true – more indelibly now since January 6: we are a post-genocidal society. Smith’s interview with Stevenson spotlighted a failed attempt to obtain a stay of execution for a prisoner on death row who was intellectually disabled. This is the kind of work Stevenson has dedicated his career to performing, as well as the famed case, exonerating a wrongly convicted murderer, that became the cornerstone of his memoir, Just Mercy, and the film derived from that book. The question that Stevenson repeatedly asked in court with respect to the intellectually disabled, “Why do we kill broken people?” morphed into another question when the Supreme Court rejected his appeal at the eleventh hour. “Why do I do this?” His self-reflection yielded a brutally honest answer, “Because I’m broken, too.” This realization was illuminated by a childhood memory of the frustration, violence, and humiliation that broke out when he, his mother, and the Black community stood in line – at the back of the line – waiting to be vaccinated for polio. Like his mom, Stevenson concluded, he was seeking a way not to be silent about this perennial brokenness.

The portrait of Congressman Lewis, eulogized just last summer by three former American presidents at Ebenezer Baptist Church, was the most hopeful and conciliatory in Smith’s trilogy. “Brother” also featured the most rewarding stretch of Smith’s acting skills as she adapted Lewis’ slow, distinctively accented drawl. He spoke of his yearly pilgrimage to Selma, a ritual that included stopovers in Birmingham and Montgomery, but unexpectedly, the moments of grace that he gleaned from this commemoration shone a spotlight on White people upstaging him. The first was the current Montgomery police chief, who publicly apologized for the beating that his department had inflicted upon him decades earlier. It was the first such apology that Lewis could remember. What touched Lewis equally was that the police chief took off his badge and offered it to him. Then the moments of grace, for when Lewis answered, “I cannot accept your badge – I’m not worthy.” The chief insisted, saying, “I can get another.” An additional opportunity to forgive came to Lewis after an event that had happened even longer ago, on May 9, 1961, when the future Congressman was brutalized in Rock Hill. The son of one of those cops came to Lewis’ office to ask for forgiveness, and Lewis granted it immediately. They hugged, called each other brother, and by Lewis’ count, met 49 times afterwards.

While the post-performance discussion wasn’t my prime reason for attending, it provided a soft landing from the heights of Lewis’ moments of grace and a chance to hear some of Smith’s views head-on. Among the topics she tackled so ably, in response to Marty’s probing and pertinent questions, were the pathology of America’s police, the media’s addiction to big pharma and the auto industry, the plight of Black artists, the need for a public health rethink, and the enduring need for theatre now and post-pandemic. She even dropped a suggestion on Marty, App State, and academia to deal with our times. “You might laugh,” she said, “but we need a department of kindness.” Out of nowhere, there was a religious distinction to be made. “Jesus wasn’t nice. He was kind.”

Q&A with BalletX Co-Founder Christine Cox

Q&A with BalletX Co-Founder Christine Cox

On Thursday, Feb. 25 at 8pm, the Schaefer Center Presents virtual spring season features BalletX, one of the country’s most acclaimed contemporary ballet companies. The online event will include a recorded introduction by company co-founder Christine Cox, a documentary film in celebration of BalletX’s 15th anniversary season, and two popular mixed rep selections, “Increasing” and “Fancy Free.” Below Cox discusses how she and the company went “big and bold” in response to creating during a pandemic, embraced new challenges, and “are in it for the long haul.”

SCHAEFER CENTER PRESENTS: How has the company adjusted creatively and physically to the challenges of performing and creating during COVID, especially during this anniversary season?

CHRISTINE COX: I knew we had a long hard road ahead of us when making the decision to pivot the company to the virtual presentation of our work. I also had an intense sense of duty to do whatever it took to keep on supporting the dancers, staff and artists we had commissioned. Then the crazy idea came to go big and bold, by commissioning 15 new works in honor of our 15th anniversary season. The entire team at BalletX bonded together to do whatever it took to make it work. 

SCP: What has been learned as a company, as individual dancers, as creators by navigating these challenges?

CC: As a company we have learned that we are far more resilient than we thought, we learned that this art form is a lifeline for not only us but for our growing community, we learned that working together and caring for each other really do matter. Each dancer took on new aspects of the job, like creating dances, making films, developing editing skills and learning how to fundraise. The dancer also greatly appreciated the fact that we were able to keep working and instead of losing their job they gained perspective and insight into what it takes to keep a company alive during a worldwide pandemic. 

SCP: What does it mean to the dancers to be able to connect with a virtual audience as we look forward to a return to live performances?

CC: The dancers have been at the heart of our pivot as a company, because instead of dragging their feet and being annoyed at all the new things we were asking them to do, they embraced the challenges and brought new ideas. The dancers cannot wait to be back performing live for an audience. We are in it for the long haul and cannot wait to have the energy and spirit out in the house of a real theater. 

 

BalletX is FREE, but advance registration is required. Register here.

“The Schaefer Center Presents” Features Actor-Playwright Anna Deavere Smith in a Livestream Presentation of “Reclaiming Grace in the Face of Adversity”

“The Schaefer Center Presents” Features Actor-Playwright Anna Deavere Smith in a Livestream Presentation of “Reclaiming Grace in the Face of Adversity”
The award-winning Smith kicks off the spring season on Thursday, Feb. 4 with a live performance that blends “theatrical art, social commentary, journalism, and intimate reverie.”

BOONE, NC — The Schaefer Center Presents (SCP) performing arts series, presented by Appalachian State University’s Office of Arts and Cultural Programs, kicks off its Spring 2021 virtual season with An Evening with Anna Deavere Smith: Reclaiming Grace in the Face of Adversity, Thursday, Feb. 4 at 8pm. This one-time livestream event with celebrated playwright/actor/educator Smith features moderation from the Schaefer Center stage by Dr. Paulette Marty, Professor of Theatre Arts at Appalachian State University. Ms. Smith will begin the evening with a storytelling presentation live from her home in New York City. An interactive Q&A session will follow the performance. The event is free, but registration is required. The event is supported in part by the Hughlene Bostian Frank Visiting Writers Series at App State.

“Reclaiming Grace in the Face of Adversity” was developed following research for Smith’s play Let Me Down Easy, wherein the playwright interviewed people in the U.S. and abroad who demonstrated grace in the face of dramatic challenges. Smith observed that, while we live in a winner-take-all society, part of our potential as humans is our potential for compassion and our resilience in the face of adversity. This storytelling speech celebrates the resilience of the human spirit, the power of empathy, the strength of imagination, and hope. 

Smith uses her singular brand of theatre to explore issues of community, character, and diversity in America. The MacArthur Foundation honored her with the “Genius” Fellowship for creating “a new form of theatre — a blend of theatrical art, social commentary, journalism, and intimate reverie.”

“I’m so grateful to have the chance to talk to one of my heroes,” says Marty, who has taught Smith’s work in her classrooms for decades, and as a result, approaches the event with a unique frame of reference. “Her thought-provoking, moving plays are great fodder for class discussions about the power and function of the arts in society. Watching Smith’s plays has changed the way I think about current events. Because the characters in her plays offer many different perspectives on an issue, they have inspired me to wonder how unheard people have been affected by events in the news. Reading a news story, I’ll ask myself, ‘How must her parents feel right now?’ or ‘What happened to the people who witnessed this?’ or ‘What’s it like for him to be alone in that place?. I trace those questions back to hearing about people’s experiences in her plays.”

The Q&A session between Smith and Marty will follow the presentation of Reclaiming Grace in the Face of Adversity. Viewers are encouraged to put questions into the chat for Smith to address if time permits at the end of the regularly scheduled discussion. The virtual event is free of charge, but advance registration is required here. All registrants will receive a link to access the event both the day before and one hour prior to the performance.

TWILIGHT: LOST ANGELES FREE FILM SCREENING
As a complimentary companion piece to Smith’s appearance with the performing arts series, the acclaimed film adaption of Smith’s Tony-nominated play Twilight: Los Angeles is available to view at any time now through Feb. 4. The film tackles issues of race and social inequality that have become touchstones of her work. It can be accessed here


ABOUT ANNA DEAVERE SMITH
Playwright, actor, and educator Anna Deavere Smith uses her singular brand of theatre to explore issues of community, character, and diversity in America. The MacArthur Foundation honored Smith with the “Genius” Fellowship for creating “a new form of theatre — a blend of theatrical art, social commentary, journalism, and intimate reverie.”

Best known for crafting more than 15 one-woman shows drawn from hundreds of interviews, Smith turns these conversations into scripts and transforms herself onstage into an astonishing number of characters. In her speaking events, Smith discusses the many “complex identities of America,” and interweaves her discussions with portrayals of people she has interviewed to illustrate the diversity of emotions and points of view on controversial issues.

Her most recent play, Notes from the Field, looks at the School-to-Prison Pipeline and injustice and inequality in low-income communities. Winner of an Obie Award and the 2017 Nortel Award for Outstanding Solo Show, Notes from the Field was named one of the Top 10 Plays of the year by Time magazine. The paperback adaptation of Notes from the Field is a collection of students and teachers, counselors and congressmen, preachers and prisoners, discussing their direct and indirect experiences with the School-to-Prison Pipeline.

In 2012, Smith was awarded the National Humanities Medal, presented by President Obama and in 2015, she was named the Jefferson Lecturer, the nation’s highest honor in the humanities. She also is the recipient of the prestigious Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and most recently, the 2017 Ridenhour Courage Prize and the George Polk Career Award for authentic journalism.

Smith’s breakthrough plays, Fires in the Mirror, a runner-up for the Pulitzer Prize, and the Tony-nominated Twilight: Los Angeles, tackle issues of race and social inequality that have become touchstones of her work. Her portrayals of patients and medical professionals in Let Me Down Easy delivered a vivid look at healthcare in the United States.

Currently, Smith appears on ABC’s hit series Black-ish and the ABC legal drama For the People. She is probably most recognizable as the hospital administrator on Showtime’s Nurse Jackie and the National Security Advisor on NBC’s The West Wing. Her films include The American PresidentRachel Getting Married, and Philadelphia.

Smith is the founding director of the Institute on the Arts and Civic Dialogue, which was launched at Harvard University and is now housed at New York University, where she is a Professor at Tisch School of the Arts. Her books include Letters to a Young Artist and Talk to Me: Listening Between the Lines

She has been an Artist-in-Residence at MTV Networks, the Ford Foundation, and Grace Cathedral in San Francisco. Smith was appointed to Bloomberg Philanthropies’ 2017 U.S. Mayors Challenge Committee, a nationwide competition urging innovative solutions for the toughest issues confronting U.S. cities. She holds honorary degrees from Yale, the University of Pennsylvania, and Julliard, among others.

The Schaefer Center Presents… SPRING 2021 Virtual Season
Events are FREE; advance registration is required at theschaefercenter.org. All registrants will receive a link to access the event both the day before and one hour prior to the performance.

Thank you to our SPC sponsors:
The Horton Hotel, Creekside Electronics, Boone Tourism Development Authority, Our State Magazine, Spectrum Reach, High Country Radio, WDAV 89.9 FM, WFDD 88.5FM and WASU 90.5FM.
**The 2020-21 Schaefer Center Presents season is funded in part by a grant from the North Carolina Arts Council, a division of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. www.NCArts.org 

About “The Schaefer Center Presents”
“The Schaefer Center Presents” is a series offering campus and community audiences a diverse array of music, dance and theatre programming designed to enrich the cultural landscape of the Appalachian State University campus and surrounding area. By creating memorable performance experiences and related educational and outreach activities, the series promotes the power and excitement of the live performance experience; provides a “window on the world” through the artistry of nationally and internationally renowned artists; and showcases some of the finest artists of our nation and our region. Musical events range from symphony orchestra and chamber music performances to jazz, folk, traditional, international, and popular artists. Theatre productions run the gamut from serious drama to musical comedy. Dance performances offer an equally wide array of styles, from ballet to modern dance to international companies representing cultural traditions from around the world. For more information, visit http://theschaefercenter.org.

EVENT RELEASE

Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs
An Appalachian Summer Festival
Appalachian State University
PO Box 32045
Boone, NC  28608-2045

Jan. 15, 2021
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

For more information contact: Allison West, Director of Marketing & Public Relations, 828-262-6084, ext. 107 or westal1@appstate.edu.

For event details, visit theschaefercenter.org.

The Schaefer Center Presents Series Announces the Spring 2021 Virtual Season

The Schaefer Center Presents Series Announces Programming for the Spring 2021 Virtual Season
An all-free lineup of music, dance, and powerful storytelling theatre goes virtual February 4-March 25

BOONE, NC — The 2021 season of The Schaefer Center Presents performing arts series, presented by Appalachian State University’s Office of Arts and Cultural Programs, announces the lineup for its spring virtual series, presented Feb. 4-March 25. All events are free, thanks to a group of generous sponsors. The fall series included a mix of regional and national theatre, Americana and holiday music, and a special engagement with Dr. Jane Goodall, and the spring series offers an equally diverse lineup: award-winning playwright and actor Anna Deavere Smith, the best in contemporary dance by the renowned BalletX, the Steep Canyon Rangers in a live streamed concert from the stage of the Schaefer Center, and a “best of” showcase by the Appalachian Dance Ensemble, featuring works by distinguished faculty choreographers in the Department of Theatre and Dance. A companion series of free virtual events for K-12 schools and families across our region is also being offered throughout the spring by the APPlause! K-12 Performing Arts Series.

The spring series is free of charge, but advance registration is required at theschaefercenter.org. Patrons who wish to make a donation in any amount to support the series and its mission have the option to do so on the website.

The APPlause! K-12 Performing Arts Series — which offers affordable music, dance, film, and theatre events to students and their teachers throughout the schoolyear — will offer free virtual arts programming for K-12 audiences in both school and home classrooms. This educational component features international music and dance, with extended access dates that provide flexibility for students, teachers and families juggling current remote learning schedules.

For more information on the SCP and APPlause! 2021 season, visit http://theschaefercenter.org/ or call 828-262-4046.

The Schaefer Center Presents… SPRING 2021 Virtual Season
Events are FREE; advance registration is required at theschaefercenter.org. All registrants will receive a private link to access the event both the day before and one hour prior to the performance.

Thursday, Feb. 4, 2021
An Evening with Anna Deavere Smith: Reclaiming Grace in the Face of Adversity
8pm; livestream
We live in a winner-take-all society. And yet, part of our potential as humans is our potential for compassion and our resilience in the face of adversity. While doing research for her play Let Me Down Easy, award-winning playwright/actor/educator Anna Deavere Smith interviewed people in the U.S. and abroad who demonstrated grace in the face of dramatic challenges. This storytelling speech celebrates the resilience of the human spirit, the power of empathy, the strength of imagination, and hope.
**The film adaption of Smith’s play Twilight: Los Angeles is available to view as a complimentary companion piece to Smith’s appearance with the performing arts series. The film can be accessed here

Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021
BalletX
8pm; specially pre-recorded program
The special Schaefer Center Presents production will include a recorded introduction by BalletX co-founder Christine Cox, the BalletX 15th Anniversary Season video, and mixed rep selections “Increasing” and “Fancy Me.” In honor of BalletX’s 15th Anniversary Season, the company has commissioned a documentary film by Daniel Madoff that highlights its growth, trajectory, and continued commitment to redefining ballet in the 21st century. Known as Philadelphia’s premier contemporary ballet company, BalletX commissions choreographers from around the world to create new ballets that are “fresh, inclusive, and connect to what people want” (Philadelphia Citizen). Led by Artistic & Executive Director Christine Cox, BalletX has produced nearly 100 world premiere ballets by more than 50 choreographers, and performed for over 100,000 audience members at home and on tour, including appearances at such prestigious venues as the Kennedy Center, Vail Dance Festival, Joyce Theater, and Jacob’s Pillow.

 Thursday, March 11, 2021
Steep Canyon Rangers

8pm; livestream
Streamed live from the stage of the Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts!
The Grammy winners from Asheville, NC come to Boone for a live concert streamed from the stage of the Schaefer Center into your homes. Frequent collaborators with banjoist (and comedian) Steve Martin, Steep Canyon Rangers are major players in the bluegrass/country and Americana scene today, with comparisons to The Band, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, and Zac Brown Band. SCR released three albums in 2020, including North Carolina Songbook, a recording of their 2019 performance at Merlefest in Wilkesboro, NC, in which they performed a selection of songs by NC songwriters such as Ola Belle Reed, Doc Watson, James Taylor, and Ben E. King; Be Still Moses, which has the band teaming up with Philly soul legends Boyz II Men and their hometown Asheville Symphony to perform reimagined versions of previously released SCR songs; and their most recent release of all original music, Arm in Arm. “Every song on Arm in Arm captures the North Carolina group’s innovative spirit, weaving in jazz, gospel, folk, and even rock phrases, creating an intimate and intricate sound that challenges, cajoles, and comforts.” (No Depression)  

Thursday, March 25
Best of the Appalachian Dance Ensemble

8pm; compilation of past performances
This virtual best-of showcase from Appalachian State University’s Department of Theatre and Dance features works from at least seven faculty choreographers, including Laurie Atkins, Emily Daughtridge, Regina Gulick, Cara Hagan, Ray Miller, Brad Parquette, and Sherone Price. All curated works were produced between 2006-2019 and highlight genres of modern, ballet, tap and African-themed dance. The selected works feature not only beautiful dancing and well-crafted choreography, but also lighting design by Mike Helms and John Marty, and costume design by Sue Williams.

Virtual APPlause! K-12 Performing Arts Series 2021
Events are FREE; advance registration required at theschaefercenter.org. A private link will be sent to all registrants in order to access the events, all of which are available to view at any time during the scheduled event dates. For questions, contact the Box Office at theschaefercenter@appstate.edu or call 800-841-2787 or 828-262-4046. Study guides are available to download for each event.

Jan. 25-May 14
Nobuntu

Recommended for Grades 3-12
The name Nobuntu is an African concept that values humbleness, love, purpose, unity, and family from a woman’s perspective. Nobuntu is a “Five Part” a cappella vocal ensemble made up of young women from Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. The repertoire is a fusion of traditional Zimbabwean-rooted music, Afro Jazz, Gospel, and Crossover in pure voices with minimalistic percussion, traditional instruments such as Mbira, and some dance movements.

Feb. 8-19
Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana — Virtual Lecture Demonstration
Recommended for Grades 3-12
Join Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana for a 40-minute story-based presentation where we follow our main character, Sol, on a journey of discovering Flamenco. The audience will hear the story, see a series of colorful video clips of live flamenco dance and music, and engage in experiential segments for students to try out flamenco techniques from home. Flamenco from Southern Spain is a mixture of many cultures and is an expression of rhythms and feelings. Olé!

Feb. 22-March 5
Donna Washington Storyteller: Fun, Foolery and Folktales!
Recommended for Grades K-2 and Family Audiences
Get ready to laugh out loud, play with language, and enjoy some great stories about foolish choices, bravery, a tiny ghost, and a boy who might not have the sense he was born with! These iconic stories from American folklore will stay with you. Donna Washington is an internationally known, multiple award-winning storyteller, spoken-word recording artist, and author. A highly animated performer, she has been entertaining, educating, and inspiring audiences with her vocal pyrotechnics, elastic face, and deep characterizations that bring folklore, literary tales, and personal narratives to life for over 30 years.
Related Educators Workshop: March 4 at 4pm 

March 29-April 9
The Best of Appalachian Dance Ensemble
Recommended for All Grades and Family Audiences
This event is an abridged version of the full-length event that is part of the main Schaefer Center Presents Series on Thursday, March 25 at 8pm.
This virtual best-of showcase from Appalachian State University’s Department of Theatre and Dance features curated works from faculty choreographers that highlight genres of modern, ballet, tap and African-themed dance.

April 12-23
Hobey Ford’s Golden Rod Puppets: The Rainbow Bridge and Other Tales
Recommended for Grades K-6 and Family Audiences
This shadow puppetry production brings to life three folktales through Ford’s unique presentational style combining stunning puppetry, storytelling and topical educational themes. The stories include “The Rainbow Bridge,” “El Coqui,” and “The Three Billy Goats Gruff,” with a finale of his Peepers Puppet, which turns the bare hand into a myriad of creatures. Registration for this event also includes access to a pre-recorded student workshop: Shadow Puppets DIY
Related Educators Workshop: April 22 at 4pm

Schaefer Center Presents… Spring 2021 Registration
Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts Box Office: 800-841-2787 or 828-262-4046, or visit theschaefercenter.org.

Thank you to our SPC sponsors:
The Horton Hotel, Creekside Electronics, Boone Tourism Development Authority, Our State Magazine, Spectrum Reach, High Country Radio, WDAV 89.9 FM, WFDD 88.5FM and WASU 90.5FM.
The 2020-21 Schaefer Center Presents season is funded in part by a grant from the North Carolina Arts Council, a division of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. www.NCArts.org
The BalletX presentation is funded in part by a grant from South Arts in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Office of Arts and Cultural Programs at Appalachian State University.

Thank you to our APPlause! sponsors:
PEAK Insurance Group, Chuck and Anna Eyler, Sue and Steve Chase

About The Schaefer Center Presents
The Schaefer Center Presents is a series offering campus and community audiences a diverse array of music, dance and theatre programming designed to enrich the cultural landscape of the Appalachian State University campus and surrounding area. By creating memorable performance experiences and related educational and outreach activities, the series promotes the power and excitement of the live performance experience; provides a “window on the world” through the artistry of nationally and internationally renowned artists; and showcases some of the finest artists of our nation and our region. Musical events range from symphony orchestra and chamber music performances to jazz, folk, traditional, international, and popular artists. Theatre productions run the gamut from serious drama to musical comedy. Dance performances offer an equally wide array of styles, from ballet to modern dance to international companies representing cultural traditions from around the world. For more information, visit http://theschaefercenter.org.

About APPlause!
Every season, affordable music, dance, film and theatre events are offered to students and their teachers from K-12 classrooms across the region. Students experience everything from high-energy acrobatics and Appalachian music to international dance and literary classics brought to life through theatrical productions. The performances are part of the APPlause! series, presented by Appalachian State University’s Office of Arts and Cultural Programs. Featuring local, regional, and world-renowned professional artists, the mission of the program is to share university arts resources with the public, private, and homeschool network across our region. Study guide materials connect every performance to the classroom curriculum.

For more information contact: Allison West, Director of Marketing & Public Relations, 828-262-6084, ext. 107 or westal1@appstate.edu.
For more information, visit theschaefercenter.org.

NC Black Repertory Company’s The Resurrection of Alice

Up Next on the Schaefer Center Presents Free Virtual Series: NC Black Repertory Company’s The Resurrection of Alice
Filmed on the Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts stage exclusively for the fall 2020 series.

BOONE, NC — The second event in The Schaefer Center Presents (SCP) virtual performing arts series, presented by Appalachian State University’s Office of Arts and Cultural Programs, features a streamed production of North Carolina Black Repertory Company’s dramatic play The Resurrection of Alice, about a young girl trapped in an arranged marriage in mid-20th century South Carolina, Thursday, Oct. 29 at 8pm. The award-winning, Winston-Salem, NC-based theatre company filmed the play on the stage of the Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts especially for the virtual series. The event is free of charge, but advance registration is required at TheSchaeferCenter.org.

Filming a play written and designed for the stage and adapting it for the screen, says Alexander, was “challenging yet exciting. The staging, lighting, performance — all of these things had to be adjusted to fit the medium. It was a lot of work and a lot of fun. And we were definitely able to capture/find new moments in the show, while also capturing the essence of a ‘live theatre experience’ for our audiences.” Pivoting from stage to screen is also a necessity at a time when live events are not really feasible, a course that the company is navigating by “finding ways to engage audiences without sacrificing the quality of our work. Creativity fuels the artistic process, and 2020 is forcing artists of all disciplines to dig deep into their toolboxes.”

The Resurrection of Alice — written and performed by Perri Gaffney and directed by Jackie Alexander — is inspired by the countless forgotten lives of young black girls who found themselves in arranged marriages to men that were usually community pillars, financially comfortable and old enough to be their grandfathers. This type of arrangement, prevalent throughout many countries and cultures, was once a fairly common practice amongst African Americans through the mid-1900s.

In rural 1948 South Carolina, 15-year-old Alice looks forward to graduating from high school (a family first) and attending college on the scholarship she has earned. But her plans are devastated when she learns that she must honor her parents’ secret marriage arrangements for her to Luthern Tucker, the lonely, old family benefactor who had been eyeing her since she was seven years old. Alice’s next 20 years of overcoming trials are a tribute to the power of nurturing and healing that can cause a broken spirit to be reborn.

Because the tradition of arranged nuptials continues, The Resurrection of Alice has a contemporary, universal social appeal to anyone seeking to understand how and why this tradition remains as well as some possible emotional, psychological, and physical tolls that may plague both the betrothed and their families, if the union is not a happy one. The play is recommended for ages 12 and older.

“The issue addressed in the play is still prevalent in societies across the globe today,” says Alexander, underscoring the relevance of this period play in the 21st century. “Shining a light on any problem is the first step to confronting it.” Plus, he adds, audiences will witness “the power and resilience of the human spirit. They will also get a Master Class in acting (courtesy of Gaffney) — lol.”

In mid-September, Alexander and Gaffney conducted masterclasses for Appalachian State University theatre students, focusing on the audition process and playwriting. 

The Schaefer Center Presents – FREE Fall 2020 Virtual Season
Thanks to a group of generous sponsors, all events are FREE, but advance registration is required at theschaefercenter.org. Registrants will receive a confirmation email, a day-before reminder, and a private link to access the event one hour prior to the performance. All SCP events are one-time only exclusive showings. Anyone who wishes to make a donation in any amount to support the series and its mission may do so on the website. The spring series will be announced soon, with plans to continue the virtual format throughout the spring semester.

For more information on the SCP 2020-21 season and to register for events, visit http://theschaefercenter.org/ or call 828-262-4046.

COMING SOON…

Sunday, Nov. 8, 2020
Watkins Family Hour – 8pm

Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2020
JANE – 7pm
 

Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020
Reasons for Hope: A Virtual Discussion with Dr. Jane Goodall – 8pm

Friday, Dec. 4, 2020
Hayes School of Music: Holiday Scholarship Concert – 8pm

Thank You to Our SPC Sponsors:
The Horton Hotel, Creekside Electronics, Boone Tourism Development Authority, Our State Magazine, Spectrum Reach, High Country Radio, WDAV 89.9 FM, WFDD 88.5FM and WASU 90.5FM

About “The Schaefer Center Presents”
“The Schaefer Center Presents” is a series offering campus and community audiences a diverse array of music, dance and theatre programming designed to enrich the cultural landscape of the Appalachian State University campus and surrounding area. By creating memorable performance experiences and related educational and outreach activities, the series promotes the power and excitement of the live performance experience; provides a “window on the world” through the artistry of nationally and internationally renowned artists; and showcases some of the finest artists of our nation and our region. Musical events range from symphony orchestra and chamber music performances to jazz, folk, traditional, international, and popular artists. Theatre productions run the gamut from serious drama to musical comedy. Dance performances offer an equally wide array of styles, from ballet to modern dance to international companies representing cultural traditions from around the world. For more information, visit http://theschaefercenter.org.

About APPlause!
Virtual APPlause! K-12 Performing Arts Series 2020-21
Events are FREE; advance registration required at theschaefercenter.org. A private link will be sent to all registrants prior to the events, all of which are available to view at any time during the scheduled event dates. For questions, contact the Box Office at theschaefercenter@appstate.edu or call 800-841-2787 or 828-262-4046. Study guides are available to download for each event.

Every season, affordable music, dance, film and theatre events are offered to students and their teachers from K-12 classrooms across the region. Students experience everything from high-energy acrobatics and Appalachian music to international dance and literary classics brought to life through theatrical productions. The performances are part of the APPlause! series, presented by Appalachian State University’s Office of Arts and Cultural Programs. Featuring local, regional, and world-renowned professional artists, the mission of the program is to share university arts resources with the public, private, and homeschool network across our region. Study guide materials connect every performance to the classroom curriculum.

NEWS

Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs
An Appalachian Summer Festival
Appalachian State University
PO Box 32045
Boone, NC  28608-2045

Sept. 21, 2020
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

For more information contact: Allison West, Director of Marketing & Public Relations, 828-262-6084, ext. 107 or westal1@appstate.edu.

For event details, visit theschaefercenter.org.