UNA Theatre Presents the Story of a Wrongly Convicted Man in the Segregated South

By  | February 14, 2019 | Filed under: News

 Image result for a lesson before dyingFLORENCE– Widely celebrated for its unflinching examination of racism in mid-20th century America, the University of North Alabama Theatre program presents A Lesson Before Dying, Thursday, Feb. 21 – Saturday, Feb. 23 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Feb. 24, 2019 at 2:00 p.m. in the George S. Lindsey Theatre.

Based on Ernest J. Gaines’s best-known and most respected novel, Romulus Linney’s, A Lesson Before Dying is inspired by the real-life case of Willie Francis – a young African-American man wrongly convicted of murder and sentenced to death in the segregated American South. The story takes place in the fictional town of Bayonne, Louisiana, and is narrated by Grant Wiggins, an African-American teacher from the local plantation school.

The audience will be given a glimpse into pre-Civil Rights’ education, segregation and social expectations.

Charlton James

Charlton James

“We wanted a play that would educate the audience and the cast,” said Charlton James, artistic director of the UNA Theatre program. “I saw the world premiere at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival. For a long time, I felt the story was one that needed to be told but I had to wait to have the right cast. This year’s group of actors are right for this play, and they’re ready for it. This production has brought to the forefront the depth of talent and dedication the theatre students have at UNA,” he said.

First-year theatre major, TaShauna Jenkins, has been completely immersed by the process of bringing A Lesson Before Dying to the stage.

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TaShauna Jenkins

“Performing this play has felt like we’re telling the stories of people who didn’t get a chance to tell their stories. It won’t be like watching a play, it’ll be like watching somebody’s life,” Jenkins said.

The performance is made possible by the University of North Alabama Theatre program, School of the Arts and the Department of Entertainment Industry.

Tickets can be purchased at: una.edu/theatre, by contacting the Department of Entertainment Industry at 256-765-4342 or by stopping by the School of the Arts Box Office on 126 W. Tombigbee St. – Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays 1:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m.

Tickets are $15 for adults and $5 for 17 and under and UNA students/faculty/staff/alumni.

This production includes adult language and content and is recommended for an audience of high school age or older.

For more information on the UNA School of the Arts or the Department of Entertainment Industry: una.edu/schoolofthearts or una.edu/entertainment.

Media Release/Vanessa Borelly Vega, UNA School of the Arts

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