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K-State Today

February 10, 2012

Black History Month: Ebony Theatre presents 'Crumbs From the Table of Joy'

Submitted by Communications and Marketing

Kansas State University's Ebony Theatre will honor Black History Month with performances of "Crumbs From the Table of Joy," written by African-American playwright Lynn Nottage.

The play will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 23-25, with a matinee performance at 2:30 p.m. Feb. 26. All performances are in East Stadium's Purple Masque Theatre.

"Crumbs" is a comedic and touching coming-of-age tale in which a teenage girl, Ernestine, discovers that adults are fallible and life is filled with both pain and beauty. When the play begins, Ernestine has just moved from Pensacola, Fla., to Brooklyn with her father, Godfrey, a baker, and her sister, Ermina, after the death of her mother.

The grieving Godfrey turns steadfastly to religion, fanatically following the teachings of radio evangelist Father Divine. His flashy, hedonistic sister-in-law, Lily, a communist, soon moves in with the family causing great turmoil in the household. Godfrey takes off and when he returns, he has a new bride in tow named Gerte, a white German immigrant he met on the subway. This causes an even deeper riff with Lily. Ernestine tries to make sense of it all, relaying her thoughts directly to the audience.

A prize-winning playwright, Nottage wrote "Crumbs" in an effort to understand the many changes that took place throughout the 1950s in American history. Nottage said everything was in black and white during this time period, and she wanted to make it colorful.

The university's Ebony Theatre was created to feature the work of African-American playwrights or pieces specifically about the struggles associated in the lives of African-Americans. Established in 1977, it is one of the only collegiate theater companies in the region devoted to this cause.

The K-State production of "Crumbs" is directed by Dillon Artzer, graduate student in theater, Topeka. Ebony Theatre is run solely by students, with the guidance of faculty advisers, and is funded by the university's Student Governing Association.

Tickets are $5 for students and $8 for the general public. They can be purchased at the McCain Auditorium box office from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays or the K-State Student Union box office from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday through Friday. To order by phone, call 785-532-6428.

Students in the cast for Ebony Theatre's "Crumbs" include:

Da'Ja Bresette, sophomore in journalism and mass communications, as Ermina Crump, and Ellyn Calvert, freshman in theater, as Gerte Schulte, both from Kansas City, Kan.; Eric Brown, junior in political science, Liberal, as Godfrey Crump; and Nahshon Ruffin, senior in theater, Overland Park, as Ernestine Crump.

From out of state: Alex Gaines, sophomore in theater, Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif., as Lily Ann Green.