North Carolina Newspapers

    10 The Compass Friday, Novembers, 1995
Players open season
with classic production
Pictured above (from left) are Yushawnda Thomas, Shaunell McMIHan, Dashaun
Dorsey, and Dorothy O. Wills, members of the cast of A Raisin in the Sun.
Thomas portrays Beneatha Younger, McMillan plays Walter Lee Younger,
Dorsey appears as Travis Younger, and Dorothy O Wills Is Leana Younger.
Photo by Jamie Jordan
by Staff Writers
The University Players, ECSU's the
atre troupe, opened their current the
atre season with Lorraine Hansberry's
acclaimed play A Raisin in the Sun.
Performances are Nov. 1,2,3, and 5,
1995, at 8:00 p.m. in the Little Theatre
on the ECSU campus.
A Raisin in the Sun, has become a
modem American classic. The story
concerns a black family living in Chi
cago in the late 1950's, their struggles
and dreams. New York Times critic,
Frank Rich wrote that Miss Hansberry
"posed all her concerns in a work that
portrays a black family with greater
realism and complexity than has ever
been previously seen on the stage."
After the play opened on Broadway
in 1959, it won "Best Play of the Year"
from the New York Drama Critics.
The ECSU production features the
talents of both student and commu
nity actors. The character of Walter Lee
Younger will be played by Shaunell
McMillan, who received much critical
praise for his role as Lennie in last
season's Of Mice and Men. Leana
Yoimger, matriarch of the family, is be
ing acted by Dorothy O. Wills of Eliza
beth City.
Wills impressed local audiences as
Grandma in The First Breeze of Summer.
Robin T. Gresham portrays Walter's
wife, Ruth. Walter's sister, ^neatha, is
played by Yushawnda Thomas, a jun
ior from Beaufort, NC. Dashaim M.
Dorsey, a student at PasquotarJc El
ementary School, appears as Walter's
son, Travis. Jim Bridges portrays Karl
Other members of the cast include
Cordell Garrett as Bobo; Migue
Mwaura as Joseph Asagai; Damond
Nollan as George Murchison; and
Amelia L. Pledger as Mrs. Johnson.
Samuel Norman and Thaxton Taylor
are the moving men.
The play is directed by Shawn Smith,
associate professor of theater in the
Department of Language, Literature &
Sets and lighting are designed by
Randy J. Berry, and Anthony Scott
Dunlow is the technical director.
Naimette E. Cherry is production stage
manager, and Ollie Mason is produc
tion costumer.
Admission prices for A Raisin in the
Sun are $5.00 for the public, $1.50 for
ECSU faculty and staff, and $1.00 for
ECSU students. Tickets may be pur
chased at the door on the evening of
the performance. For reservatioi\s and
additional information, contact the
University Players' office at 335-3436.
Book Review
Knowledge is the pathway to dreams for young black man
Makes Me Wanna Holler
by Nathan McGaR * Vantage Books, 1994
by Marcus Croom
In Makes Me Wanna Holler, an auto
biography of a young African Ameri
can man, Nathan McCall vividly re
calls his life story with anger, wit, com
passion, and most of all, triumph. He
takes his readers on his personal odys
sey of discovery, which focuses on a
dramatic transformation from criminal
to respected journalist at The Washing
ton Post.
The story begins with McCall's early
days in Portsmouth, VA, in the Cava
lier Manor neighborhood. By the age
of 15, McCall was embarking on a life
of crime that would put him in prison
five years later. He describes how diffi
cult school was for a young black male
during the sixties after segregation
ended in Virginia. He describes his
friends and enemies and he how he
was absorbed into their quest for
power, respect, and most of all-money.
"I eventually realized that there were
two types of dudes at Waters (his high
school in Portsmouth): solitary lames
like me and those who got into the
slick, in-crowd. The slickest among
these guys were the older dudes, the
thugs, who ran the school and hung in
the streets. They were the most popu
lar... I learned a lot by watching them.
They were lovers. They had strong rap
games, the studied ability to talk
smooth and persuasive to get their way
with the ladies... I was captivated by
these guys, they seemed to have all the
self-esteem I lacked."
McCall does not try to disguise his
anger and pain during these years. He
describes how devastating his early life
really was. He started with petty crime
and eventually was convicted of armed
robbery of a McDonalds. McCall viv
idly describes how he felt at the mo
ment his sentence j)f 12 years was
handed down. "The judge was vm-
moved, 'I'm sorry, but he has to leam
that he can't go around putting gxms
to people's heads.' He brought down
his gavel... Twelve years! I stood there,
stunned, the scene surreal. A baUiff
walked up behind me and clamped
handcuffs to my wrist. I glanced at my
family in the rear of the courtroom.
Their faces revealed their shock: a tear
ful Liz held her hands to her face in
disbelief... When the bailiffs led me
from the courtroom, I dropped my
head to conceal my misty eyes."
In prison, McCall realized for the first
time in his life that through knowl
edge he could accomplish his dreams
of leaving prison and returning to so
ciety. While in prison, he won a jour
nalism contest and was given a year's
tuition to Norfolk State. He also real
ized that he had to obtain a skill to
help him earn a living imtii he could
realize his dream of becoming a writer.
He got transferred to a different prison
to leam the printing trade in order to
earn a living while attending school.
"The trip home made me focus more
on my future and try to figure out what
I would do if paroled... I definitely
wanted to retum to college, but to study
what? I'd considered studying to be a
librarian when I got out... When I read
Ernest Hemingway, I thought I might
be a writer."
After his release, his attempts to gain
employment were unsuccessful and he
was tempted retum to a life of crime.
However, his vivid memories of prison
dissuaded such thoughts, and he real
ized that his only focus had to be on
getting an education.
McCall is brilliant with his use of
vivid language and detailed descrip
tion. His depth of feeling can draw a
reader into his story, enabling him to
feel his triumphs and defeats. He pre
sents a dynamic portrait of what many
young black men deal with everyday -
the struggle to siu^^ive in a world that
cares nothing about them.

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