A Place Where Passion and Creativity Begins (continued)
The walls of Dr. Eddie Bradley Jr.’s diminutive office are embellished with posters of theatrical great Paul Robeson, August Wilson’s “Fences” and “Two Trains Running,” and Pearl Cleage’s “Blues for an Alabama Sky.” There is a student sitting behind his desk taking a test on Roman and medieval theater. Chair of the drama and dance department, Bradley speaks passionately about his vision for the department.
“We’re at an exciting period right now in preparation of the play ‘Fabulation’ and T. Lang’s upcoming dance concert,” said Bradley, who has served as chair since 2007. “We have an amazing caliber of faculty who are top-notched, well-trained, competent and passionate about their craft, and this is evident in their work.”
The Talented 10
And he is right. Marion Wright, a lecturer of drama, is holding rehearsals for “Fabulation, or the Re-education of Undine,” a tale of the humbling of a diva. For six days a week, four hours a day, Wright has directed an ensemble of 10 actors, six Morehouse and four Spelman students, and a production team of 10.
On a rainy night before the premiere, the Act 2 rehearsal begins with a Morehouse student saying, “I miss the taste and smell of cocaine.” An eye- and ear-opening statement, he goes on to describe all of the longing and missing of his former lover – crack – when pretentious Undine, who used to be called Sharona, interjects that she is a captive in a “circle of addicts.” The setting is a rehab clinic. Wright takes award-winning playwright Lynn Nottage’s satirical work and makes her cast of students shine. The 10 students, all drama majors, are fabulous.
Living a Fabulous Life
“I chose ‘Fabulation’ because it is a contemporary work,” said Wright, who is trained and educated in theater and stage management. “Lynn’s work is a brilliant and current story that speaks to all generations.”
While the show has begun for drama, T. Lang is rehearsing students for her a dance concert. “Matted Colors,” a 45-minute dance work, features 15 dancers, two Morehouse and 13 Spelman students in several dance scenes. In T. Lang’s “Work In Progress” – a student moves with such fluidity that it can leave the beholder breathless. When others join the moving scene, the recognition of true athleticism cannot be mistaken. In this work, I explore the sensual complexities of African-American females” said Lang, who is assistant professor of dance and director of the Spelman Dance Theatre. “In all my works, my goal is to capture who we are as women in this society.”
Appreciating the Craft
While the human talent of students and faculty is robust, resources and facilities for drama and dance is a challenge. “What we lack in resources, we make up for in talent. We have some of the most talented students in the country who come to Spelman for this program, and what we want them to do is approach drama and dance as a craft that they will have to continue to fine tune.”
We are a faculty body who love what we do, and I am amazed to be here in this position, where the likes of Ann Cooke, Baldwin Burroughs and Mozell Spriggs have led,” continued Bradley. “My goal as chair is to continue to build on their legacy, to send students to graduate school, pitch for a dance major, and continue to produce the great entertainment that this department has been known to do.”