The Rapidian

Play exploring racial issues based on actual experiences of local community members showing at Wealthy Theatre

"LINES: The Lived Experience of Race 2016" by ADAPT. Theater Company, is showing four more performances this weekend, April 1-3, 2016.
Cast of LINES

Cast of LINES /Stephanie Sandberg

Remaining performances at Wealthy Theatre:

Friday, April 1 at  7:00 p.m.
Saturday, April 2 at 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.
Sunday, April 3 at  2:00 p.m.

Theodore Janga, composer of the score for LINES

Theodore Janga, composer of the score for LINES /Stephanie Sandberg

Cast of LINES

Cast of LINES /Stephanie Sandberg

A play grappling with racial issues in the West Michigan area, “LINES:The Lived Experience of Race 2016” is showing this weekend, April 1-3, 2016 at the Wealthy Theatre. Actors will be performing the actual experiences and words of local community members. An updated version of the play produced in 2010 by ADAPT. Theater Company, this new version incorporates more local artists.

Theodore Ndawillie II, known as Theodore Janga from Vox Vidorra, a Grand Rapids based indie/soul quartet, wrote the score for the play. Ndawillie got involved when his former composition teacher, David Fuentes, reached out to him saying he wanted someone with more percussion experience to collaborate on the all-percussion score.

Ndawillie points out that this play talks about race in a way that’s different from other converstions in the area.

“Because the play is written and composed in such a way that privileged people in society might become empathetic to the unrelenting nature of racial problems people of color experience every day. It's abrasive in different ways. Some people told me they were overwhelmed by the amount of information thrown at them in that amount of time, and to my mind, that is a wonderful representation of how overwhelming racial issues are for people of color by default. LINES is written in a genre called 'verbatim theatre', a documentary-style of theatre in which the playwright, Stephanie Sandberg, interviews members of a group about a particular subject, and the actors speak the interviewees responses verbatim as the spoken lines of the play.”

The performances are made possible by LowellArts!, Michigan Humanities Council, Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Ndawillie notes that the show is important to him for a number of reasons, "Music is how I make my living, getting the experience of scoring the music for a theatre piece, and most importantly the subject matter is very near and dear to my heart. While there is a lot of contention, the conversation on racial issues in this country is the farthest progressed the world has ever seen (even though it might not feel that way sometimes). LINES aims to urge that conversation forward strongly, smartly, getting the smallest voices heard by the biggest, and most importantly, to urge people to action.

Ndawillie emphasizes how important is it for West Michigan neighbors to talk about racial divisions in the area.

"It's not everyday you get a performance art piece as elaborate as this, based on actual members of your own community. And it's ever so important that everyone be involved in the conversation on race in America. If everyone isn't involved, we won't have peaceful change."

All performances will be at Wealthy Theatre. Contact 616-459-4788. ext.131 for tickets.

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