Tuesday, April 5, 2016

PURE to debut the powerful poem-turned-play Citizen: An American Lyric during Piccolo

Director of original production will direct local staging

Posted by Chris Haire on Tue, Apr 5, 2016 at 11:51 AM

It's been a couple of week's since we've written about Spoleto, and rightfully so — the Best of Charleston issue is an absolute beast. But all of that is behind us now, so this week we're back with a vengeance, albeit vengeance of a kindler, gentler, more celebratory nature. Oh, what the heck, we're not back with "a vengeance," we're back with "a hip-hip hooray," or some other pure expression of joy.
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Speaking of the word pure, we recently found out what Sharon Graci and the gang at PURE Theatre will be offering during Piccolo Spoleto: the Southeast regional premiere of Citizen: An American Lyric. And like a lot of what Spoleto USA is offering, Citizen will address racial matters.

Based on Claudia Rankine's 2014 award-winning book of poetry of the same name, the stage version was adapted by Stephen Sachs, and it combines performance and audience participation, all under the guise of creating a discussion about race and racism. Challenging stuff for sure, but absolutely necessary, especially for Charleston, where two high-profiled racially sensitive incidents not only tore at the heart and soul of this town but received national attention. 

The stage adaptation of Citizen debuted last year in Los Angeles, with director Shirley Jo Finney at the helm. Finney will also direct PURE's production, while Sachs himself will be on hand for the Charleston debut on June 3.

We'll provide more details just as soon as we get them, but like with nearly all PURE productions, we expect nothing but the best.


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