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K-State Today

September 21, 2022

K-State's Ebony Theatre opens with 'Let Me Down Easy' Thursday in Nichols Hall

Submitted by Jerry Jay Cranford

K-State Theatre, along with K-State's Ebony Theatre, opens its fall season with Anna Deavere Smith's "Let Me Down Easy," directed by Professor David Mackay. Performances will be at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 22, through Saturday, Sept. 24, with a matinee performance at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 25, in Nichols Hall.

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In this show, constructed from verbatim interview transcripts, Smith examines the miracle of human resilience through the lens of the national debate on health care. After collecting interviews with more than 300 people on three continents, Smith creates an indelible gallery of 20 individuals, known and unknown — from a rodeo bull rider and a world heavyweight boxing champion to a New Orleans doctor during Hurricane Katrina, as well as former Texas Gov. Ann Richards, cyclist Lance Armstrong, film critic Joel Siegel and supermodel Lauren Hutton. It is a work of emotional brilliance and political substance from one of the treasures of the American theater.  

K-State's Ebony Theatre has invited four community guest performers to join the cast of theatre students each evening on the Chapman stage: Debra Bolton, Tyler Woods, Art DeGroat and Doug Barrett: 

  • Thursday, Sept. 22: Bolton is K-State's director of intercultural learning and academic success and ancillary faculty for the geography and geospatial sciences department. At K-State, Bolton and her co-workers strive to address the inequities of student successes. The goal is to educate and graduate all students and send them out into a global market to achieve their greatest victories.  
  • Friday, Sept. 23: Woods is the former artistic director of the Columbian Theatre and a K-State alumnus. 
  • Saturday, Sept. 24: DeGroat is the founder and executive director of the Office of Military and Veterans Affairs and the Military and Veterans Affairs Innovation Center at K-State. Before K-State, DeGroat served a 22-year career as an armor and cavalry officer in the U.S. and abroad in support of the Cold War, Major Regional Contingency Operations in Southwest Asia and the Global War on Terrorism, earning the Army's Legion of Merit.  
  • Sunday, Sept. 25: Barrett is a photographer and videographer based in Manhattan. His work demonstrates how Gordon Parks continues to inspire contemporary artists. Barrett's projects include interviewing, photographing and telling the stories of homeless veterans, creating a collective portrait of the Yuma Street community of Manhattan, and documenting the Black Lives Matter movement in Kansas.