Les Blancs


Nov 18
7:30 PM - 10:00 PM
Alice Jepson Theatre, Modlin Center for the Arts
Map

By Lorraine Hansberry 
Free, tickets required

Directed by Tawnya Pettiford-Wates, PhD 
Costume Design by Johann Stegmeir  
Light & Sound Design by Maja E. White
Scenic Design by Vicki Davis 

Runs November 18-20, 2021 at 7:30 PM and November 21, 2021 at 2:00 PM

Les Blancs is an epic story that embraces generations, legacy, time, and both the ancestral and spiritual planes. It uses ritual, music, dance, and story to weave a passionate and heroic tale. The story takes place in a fictional African nation called Zatembe where an old European Mission sits at the center of the activities for the native village people and the residents in the mission compound.

Hansberry’s work explores themes of honor, duty, family, dignity, and loss as Tshembe Matoseh returns to his ancestral home to ceremonially bury his father with his three brothers and encounters Charlie Morris, a white American journalist come to do an expose’ on the exalted Reverend Nielsen, who founded the mission so many years before. Charlie’s article is supposed to be somewhat of a tribute to the work and “sacrifice” of the missionary life. He is most particularly focused on the honorable Reverend Nielsen who dedicated himself and his life to living and working in and amongst the native people. Upon meeting Tshembe, all of Charlie Morris’ plans and assumptions about the mission, the Reverend, and the villagers come into question and the play dives deeply into an interrogation of colonialism, white supremacy, and rebellion.

In returning home to Africa, Tshembe is faced with his own doubts, fears, and contradictions about his identity and his legacy as an African man whether of the past, the present, or the future to come. 
Hansberry’s play is bold and fiercely honest as it interrogates the cost of liberation and freedom measured against the rising tide of resistance, the rejection of imperialism, and the blind allegiance to God and country.