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Fleetwood-Jourdain Theatre’s July newsletter

Right, David
Right, David "The Chainsaw" Dupont performs on guitar with Charles Taylor on piano during the first annual Forrest E. Powell Foundation Juneteenth Jubilee June 22 at the Noyes Cultural Arts Center and Fleetwood-Jourdain Theatre in Evanston. | Karie Angell

The Artistic Director Says…

Fleetwood-Jourdain Theatre has been a fixture for 35 years in the amazing Evanston community! To celebrate, we are throwing a Gala on the opening night of Gee’s Bend on Saturday, July 12 starting at6:00 p.m. Not only will you enjoy cool jazz, feast on delicious hors d’oeuvres and have a chance to bid on some great items at the silent auction pre-show, but you will also see the opening night production of the incredible play, Gee’s Bend by Elyzabeth Gregory Wilder, followed by an afterglow dessert reception with a DJ and dancing!

This play has a range of emotion that will capture your heart and soul; the singing will energize your spirit and the storytelling will leave you more enlightened about the struggles and triumphs of the phenomenal women from this small hamlet called Gee’s Bend, Alabama. Do yourself a favor; come out and celebrate this theatre’s successful journey of 35 years…you won’t be disappointed!

Tim Rhoze
Artistic Director

Six Questions for the Actors of “Gee’s Bend”: Cat Davidson, Elana Elyce, and Nicholia Q. Aguirre

Cat, what excites you the most about the play Gee’s Bend?

Cat: What excites me most about the play Gee’s Bend is that it is based on real women, features true historical events, and communicates the candor of life for these women in Gee’s Bend, Alabama. The richness, vitality, and strength of these generations of women makes me reflect on my own family history. The spirit of these women touch my spirit and their stories reach deep into the soul and uncover a rich heritage.

Elana, what character do you portray and do you share any of her qualities?

Elana: I portray Alice, Sadie’s mother and Asia, Sadie’s daughter. I think I share more qualities with Asia than Alice. I am very likely to carefully consider things. Even if it may cause discomfort or disappointment, if I believe I’m doing the right thing/making the best choice, I will proceed. Asia’s determination to relocate is an example of this.

Nicholia, what relationship does the singing of the gospel music in the play have with the story of the play?

Nicholia: The singing of the gospel music is symbolic because gospel music and the black church was the backbone of the Civil Rights movement and ties the play directly to it. Gospel music also tells the story of pain and suffering, but also of hope and victory. Sadie’s tale is one of a sharecropper’s daughter staying firm, despite life’s suffering to overcome it all, and to become famous outside of the place she NEVER left.

Cat, which character are you in the play and what challenges are you encountering as you immerse yourself into her?

Cat: I play Sadie Pettway. One particular challenge I face with my character is her aging process! Sadie ages exponentially three times throughout the play, from 15 to 41 to 78. It is a difficult but enriching acting challenge. I continue to research and experiment to make the age transitions as natural as possible!

Elana, is there a single line in the play that resonates with you the most?

Elana: ”It’s the cotton from that land holding these quilts together, our blood and our tears melted into the seams.” -Sadie

I am amazed by the truth of this. The general perception of how art is made generally carries a “hard work” notion; people work hard to craft what they create, that they make huge sacrifices- time with their families, lucrative employment, etc. That line represents a level of that you can’t fully understand unless you’ve lived it. It is literally the cotton from their land that made the clothes that became the scraps that were sewn into quilts. And because they were never creating ‘art’ in the first place, everything put into them was part of their lives. It was their day-to-day. Those quilts are who they were/are, in the truest sense of the phrase. It blows me away.

Nicholia, your character Nella does not share the same passion for quilting as the other women ofGee’s Bend, why is that?

Nicholia: Nella has spent her life marching to her own beat. Due to events that she has experienced, I believe she rebels against an oppressive society that has taken her innocence. As a result, she does not conform to the status quo around her in Gee’s Bend.

Bonus Question: What three words express your feelings about the play Gee’s Bend?

Cat: Rich, beautiful, and inspirational.
Elana: Honest, connected, honored.
Nicholia: Proud, enlightened, grateful.

Photo: The women quilters of Gee’s Bend, Alabama.

August Wilson’s American Century Cycle

 

Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright August Wilson’s highly acclaimed Pittsburgh Cycle, or American Century Cycle, illuminates 100 years of the African American experience decade by decade. This exciting, year-long, free and interactive community reading series is being held through a collaboration of the Evanston Public Library with Fleetwood-Jourdain Theatre.

On Monday, July 21 at 6pm, this month’s discussion will focus on August Wilson’s Seven Guitars, moderated by Actor/Director/Educator Aaron Todd Douglas. It will be held in the Community Meeting room at the Main Evanston Public Library, 1703 Orrington Ave.

Can’t make it by 6pm? Join us for an extended, informal discussion starting at 7:30 at the Celtic Knot, 626 Church Street, right across from the Library.

For more information or to register, call 847-448-8620 or click here.

Premium discount cards

FJT’s Premium Discount Cards for the 2014 Summertime Season are still on sale for just $40. The card allows the bearer to obtain tickets to our plays and concert series (five shows total), so that’s just $8 per ticket! It makes a great gift! Buy yours today, as the number of cards to be sold is limited.

Purchase your card online today or call 847-448-4311.

Summertime Season 2014

New! You can now purchase tickets to all of our plays and concerts online at fjtheatre.com

EXTENDED through July 5 & 6: Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters’ First 100 Years by Emily Mann

July 12-27: Gee’s Bend by Elyzabeth Gregory Wilder

August 9-24: Why Not Me? A Sammy Davis Jr. Story by Tim Rhoze

August 29: Jazz Meets Blues Concert featuring Marlene Rosenberg and Chainsaw Dupont

August 30: Gospel Celebration Concert: The Men of Gospel Music

Find out what’s happening at FJCC

Noyes Cultural Arts Center/Fleetwood-Jourdain Theatre

927 Noyes St., Evanston, IL 60201  847-448-8260

Please visit our website for updates: fjtheatre.com

Classes and auditions are held in Studio 223 at the Noyes Cultural Arts Center.

Plays and concerts are held in the Theatre at the Noyes Cultural Arts Center.

To learn more about classes, clubs and other activities at Fleetwood-Jourdain Community Center, click the link below.
www.cityofevanston.org/fleetwood.

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