Phyllis Yvonne Stickney, a former Philadelphian and director of the Negro Ensemble Company, brings Charles Fuller's play 'Zooman and the Sign' to life at the University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg Center. Scheduled for February 13, 2024, this thought-provoking production grapples with the consequences of gun violence and the pursuit of justice.
A Poignant Revival
Set in Philadelphia in 1979, 'Zooman and the Sign' unfolds the story of a 12-year-old girl's murder and the community's struggle to find justice amidst fear and silence. With clear evidence that someone witnessed the crime, the play underscores the tension and moral responsibility that pervade the neighborhood.
The Power of Community Engagement and Social Justice
Director Phyllis Yvonne Stickney emphasizes the importance of community engagement and social justice as central themes of the play. Having experienced the power of theater as a tool for social change during her tenure with the Negro Ensemble Company, Stickney believes that 'Zooman and the Sign' can inspire audiences to stand up against fear and organize in the face of injustice.
Story Circle: Fostering Dialogue and Empathy
Following the matinee performance, a discussion using the Story Circle method will encourage audience members to share their personal experiences and find common ground. This unique approach to post-show engagement aims to foster empathy and understanding among diverse communities.
Founded in 1967, the Negro Ensemble Company has provided an outlet for black theatrical talent and boasts a roster of notable alumni, including Denzel Washington and Angela Bassett. 'Zooman and the Sign' at the University of Pennsylvania serves as a testament to the power of theater in addressing critical social issues and inspiring change.
Note: The performance includes mature content and strong language, ensuring a talented cast brings depth and authenticity to the characters and their stories.
As we navigate the complexities of today's world, 'Zooman and the Sign' offers a poignant reminder of the importance of community engagement, social justice, and the power of the human spirit.