Civil Rights Play to be Staged at Smith Opera House – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Civil Rights Play to be Staged at Smith Opera House

Coretta Scott King award-winning author Patricia C. McKissack's touching novel, “Color Me Dark: A Story of the Great Migration North,” comes to life in a vibrant adaptation being staged at the Smith Opera House on Friday, Jan. 28, as part of the historic theatre's 2004-05 “ArtSmart Theatre for Young People” series.

A family's strength often lies within its moral fabric. Their ability to overcome adversity signifies their capability to survive. However, in the Deep South of the 1920s, the atmosphere still smells of pre-Civil War oppression. African-American families are still subject to fierce prejudice from their neighbors as they try forge a new life. The Love family is stricken in an unforgivable way which drives young Erma Jean Love into silence. In an attempt to abandon these injustices, the family migrates to Chicago, the cultural hub of the Midwest, only to encounter similar if not more severe circumstances.

“Color Me Dark: A Story of the Great Migration North” explores the lives of two sisters, Erma Jean and Nellie Lee Love, as they bear witness to a time of great social uprising. While Erma Jean finds comfort in her silence, Nellie Lee is forced to defend both herself and her sister as they try to find a new life in Chicago. Not only do they survive prejudice from small-minded individuals but the conflict of light versus dark skin divides them amongst their own people. This poignant story will keep audiences enraptured in the beauty of its words and the magnitude of its powerful message.

This presentation is staged by Kennedy Center Imagination Celebration On Tour. A co-commission by the Kennedy Center and Scholastic Entertainment, this production was adapted for the stage by Jerome Hairston and directed by Ricardo Khan.

Show times for “Color Me Dark” are 10 a.m. and noon. All seats are $4.50 and may be reserved by contacting the Smith Opera House. The production lasts one hour. Home schoolers and public and parochial school students are invited to attend this unique and exciting live event. It is suggested for grades four through eight.

The Smith Opera House is located at 82 Seneca Street in Geneva. Call 315-781-LIVE or toll-free 1-866-355 LIVE for additional information. The Smith is supported, in part, with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, the City of Geneva, the Town of Geneva and by contributions from individual supporters. This production is generously sponsored by the Lyons National Bank.

Other shows in the 2004/05 “ArtSmart” series include: “Mayhem Poets: Whatchuwant” (March 18), “The Shape of a Girl” (April 1) and “Mammoth Follies” (April 13). Contact The Smith to reserve space at any of these productions.