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“The Bluest Eye”
Main Theatre, Wright Hall

Pecola Breedlove, a young black girl growing up in the 1940’s, wants nothing more than to be loved. Confronting turmoil at home, she prays for Shirley Temple’s blue eyes, believing their beauty is the only thing standing between her and the happiness of the white girls at school. This powerful adaptation of Toni Morrison’s debut novel explores the destructive power of racism and the strength of a community attempting to embrace an era of change.

The UC Davis Department of Theatre and Dance presents this blistering contemporary drama in the Main Theatre, Wright Hall, May 10-12 and 17-19 at 7 p.m. with 2 p.m. matinees on May 12 and 19. General audience tickets are $18.50, faculty/staff tickets are $17 and students/seniors tickets are $12.

Contains adult themes and situations, recommended for ages 16 and up.

Director Margaret Laurena Kemp said, “this show will come to life on stage by melding of the work of an African American writer and an application of South African puppetry. Janni Younge, best known for her ground-braking puppetry work in the Broadway and international productions of ‘War Horse.’ will co-direct the production. These approaches will underscore the myth and magical realism that is ingrained in the narrative as a path to unpacking the themes of race, class and gender that are the core of this work.” 

“Diamond gives Morrison’s characters enough psychological definition for us to becomes absorbed in who they are and what happens to them; they’re all allowed to speak independently of the author.” – The Washington Post

Lydia R. Diamond is an award-winning playwright whose work includes: Smart People, Stick Fly, Voyeurs de Venus, The Bluest Eye, The Gift Horse, Harriet Jacobs, The Inside and Stage Black. Her work has been produced on Broadway and numerous regional theatres including Arena Stage, Goodman Theatre, Hartford Stage and McCarter Theatre. Commissions include: Arena Stage, Steppenwolf, McCarter, Huntington, Center Stage, Victory Gardens and The Roundabout. Diamond’s honor include W.E.B. Du Bois Institute non-resident Fellow, a TCG/NEA Playwright in Residence at Steppenwolf, a Huntington Playwright Fellow, a Sundance Institute Playwright Lab Creative Advisor and Radcliffe Institute Fellow. Lydia is an NU graduate and holds an Honorary Doctorate of Arts from Pine Manor College.

Toni Morrison is a Nobel Prize and Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist, editor and professor. Her novels are known for their epic themes, exquisite language and richly detailed African-American characters who are central to their narratives. Among her best known novels are The Bluest EyeSulaSong of SolomonBelovedJazzLove and A Mercy. Morrison has earned a plethora of book-world accolades and honorary degrees, also receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2012.

Janni Younge is a graduate of the French National School of Puppet Theatre, has a B.A. in Fine Art and an M.A. in Theatre from the University of Cape Town. Her work has been performed internationally winning awards including the Standard Bank Young Artist Award for Theatre, three Fleur Du Cap Theatre Awards and four other nominations. From 2005-2011 she was CEO of UNIMA SA (South African Puppetry), director of Out The Box festival of puppetry and Artistic Director of Sogo Visual Theatre. She has created and directed puppetry for artists and companies including the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Bristol Old Vic. From January 2011 to 2014 Janni was Director and Associate Director of Handspring Puppet Company. She created and directed Ouroboros which toured extensively in South Africa, France, Belgium and India from 2011-2013. She also worked in the “War Horse” puppet studio and directed revivals of William Kentridge’s “Woyzeck on the Highveld “and “Ubu and the Truth Commission.” Younge runs her own production company, Janni Younge Productions.

 

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