Established 1885

The Washburn Review

Established 1885

The Washburn Review

Established 1885

The Washburn Review

‘Brothers of the Dust’ crew share production updates

“Brothers of the Dust” is coming to Washburn University Theatre, a play written by Topekan award-winning playwright, Darren Canady. The performance will take place on these days Feb. 23, 24, 29 at 7:30 p.m., March 1-2 at 7:30 p.m. and March 3 at 2 p.m., in the Neese-Gray Theatre. Purchase tickets here.

“Brothers of the Dust” takes place on a farm in Arkansas during the 1950s. The Coltons are reunited on their farm which leads to secrets being revealed; family ties are tested and drama causes change in others’ lives. This compelling tale will keep your attention and wanting to see how their family survives.

Currently, practice for the play looks like block acting and communicating back and forth with the directors for direction on performance, sound and line reading.

Lauren Province, stage manager, has been involved in all the plays in the Washburn University Theatre since she became a student. Usually, she would have the job of being a stage deck but for this play she has the opportunity to be a stage manager. Her job is to be the director’s right hand and gets the cast or others working for the show anything they may need.This includes printing things, pulling props etc.

“Our schedule right now is kind of giving the actors time to know their characters and giving them this specific time to get the blocking down, getting to find how they want to deliver everything,” Province said. “And then in about another week or so it’s when we just start running the show over and over again, getting into the groove and just having everything feel very solid and so they’re very comfortable and ready for the open day.”

Leah Brown, Washburn Alumna and assistant director, shares that the message of the play is family and understanding their love language and how they want to be loved.

“[…] at the end of the day, it’s about family. It’s about understanding people and speaking to them in their language, the ones that you love. Sometimes you are speaking to the person in the way that you want to be loved, and not understanding that they have a way that they want to be loved,” Brown said. “So understanding each other and making sure that you’re communicating to them how they want, but then also that that person is communicating to you.”

This will be Brown’s first time being an assistant director at Washburn. She gained a passion for theater while in graduate school doing a theater, film and television program. After moving back to Topeka in 2014 she had not been involved in theater for a while.

Brown is excited to work on an all black production and hopes to continue doing more theater activities at Washburn.

“Being here so far and realizing how much I’ve missed being involved in theater and shows. I hope to continue to be able to,” Brown said. “I’m just very excited that Washburn is bringing to life an all black production.”

Nyalia Lui, was casted as Jack Colton, the 17-year-old son to the oldest brother and his wife. He moved back to Topeka a couple of weeks ago and wanted to find a way to reconnect with the community.

“I haven’t lived here in 15 years, moved back three weeks ago. And so I’m doing the play to try and reconnect with the community a little bit,” Lui said.

This will be Lui’s first play in a long time and his role is not line-heavy. This means he will be doing a lot of mining and learning the body language of his character.

“My role does not have as many lines so I feel decently prepared. The tricky part with my role is that I am on stage and not talking that often. So I’m going to be doing more mining,” Lui said. “A lot of my acting is more about my positioning and my body language and whatnot. So that’s getting a little tricky to get down but I feel up to the task.”

The audience will see several love stories and how a family is recovering from slavery being Black sharecroppers. Lui shares that the black community may relate to the conflicts and the history of the family.

“This play covers a lot of things. There’s several little love stories within this play, but there’s also a theme of slavery. There’s also a theme of recovering from slavery. What life was like, after Black sharecroppers eventually got their own land,” Lui said. “Personally, I think this could connect with a lot of the black community in America in general because lots of black families have a history of conflict. It may not be over farmland like this play is about but it can be over some other asset that was just key to the family. So I feel that this play kind of covers a lot like history in that regard.”

Province describes the takeaways from the play as family and the struggles of being a black family trying to survive during a heavy racist time.

“It’s very important to take away just a factor of family and how it can be very strained but in the end it is still family. And I think it’s very important to not only think about the family but also the outside aspects because it is the 1950s that are still heavily racist going on,” Province said. “It’s very hard to be a black family that is a farmer and kind of surviving on your own with all these outside factors that are really trying to tear it all down.”

Stay up to date with what is going on behind the scenes of Brother in the Dust through the Washburn Review or check out the Washburn University Theatre Facebook.

Edited by Stuti Khadka and Aja Carter

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LeSha’ Davis, Editor-in-Chief Indigo Magazine and Managing Editor Washburn Review
LeSha Davis is the managing editor for the review. She is an english major, who enjoys reading and hopes to become an attorney in the future. Her favorite book genre is fantasy. The one she is currently reading is called Skin of the Sea, a book about an African mermaid saving a man who fell from a slave ship. LeSha' also loves television and movies with some of her favorite genres being anime, drama and hospital shows. An interesting fact about her is that her favorite colors are dark blue, purples and either bright green or dark green; no in between.
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