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Theatre MSU production looks back at race relations

 

Dr. Ernest Green

Dr. Ernest Green
Photo by: Courtesy photo

 

 

Jan Swoope

 

In observance of Black History Month, Theatre MSU will present " ... And the Rain Came to Mayfield" Feb. 27 through March 1. The drama set in the fictional town of Mayfield, Mississippi, in 1962 begins at 7:30 p.m. nightly in McComas Hall on the Starkville campus. Admission is $10. On the first day of the play's run, Congressional Gold Medal recipient Dr. Ernest Green will deliver a keynote address at 2 p.m. in the Colvard Student Union Ballroom. 

 

 

 

"Mayfield" 

 

The play, by Jason Milligan, is directed by Dr. Donna Clevinger, professor of Communication and Theatre and a Senior Honors Fellow at MSU's Shackouls Honors College. It contains adult language and themes and is intended for mature audiences. 

 

As curtains open, the audience is introduced to Carl. In the small luncheonette and gas station owned by his father, Carl dreams of going to college. His dad, who is running for town mayor, doesn't support these aspirations. Carl's mother is always caught in the middle of this ongoing battle.  

 

"One afternoon, a young black man appears in the doorway seeking shelter as he waits for the bus to Jackson. The two young men discover they have similar dreams of independence," said Clevinger. Carl's father, however, reacts violently when he finds a black man in his establishment. It's now up to Carl to decide for the first time in his life to stand up to his Dad. 

 

The Birmingham News stated that the play "promises to challenge your ideas about family, the South, civil rights and growing up," Clevinger shared. 

 

Invited scholars will introduce each performance as well as participate in after-show discussions in the theater lobby for interested audiences. 

 

Clevinger collaborated with WMSF 91.1 FM Station Manager Steve Ellis to select music to enhance the production. Songs by artists including Aretha Franklin, The Four Tops, Martha and the Vandellas and Marvin Gaye will add authenticity and emotion to the story. 

 

Tickets to the play may be ordered online through the MSU Department of Communication at comm.msstate.edu, or purchase tickets at the door. 

 

 

 

Ernest Green address 

 

The production is one of many activities presented as part of MSU's Black History Month celebration. 

 

Clevinger was also instrumental in bringing Dr. Ernest Green to the Golden Triangle.  

 

In 1957, Green was one of nine high school students who integrated Central High School in Little Rock, Ark. The students became known as the "Little Rock Nine," and made national news.  

 

Green went on to join Lehman Brothers in 1987 and is the managing director for Public Finance in the company's Washington, D.C. office. He is the recipient of a Congressional Gold Medal from President Bill Clinton. It is the highest honor given to a civilian. Green's talk is open to the public. 

 

For more information, contact Clevinger at 662-325-4034.

 

Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.

 

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