The Nashville Repertory Theater play will feature all people of color
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) – Rehearsals are underway for a history of making plays for local theater. Starting next week, the Nashville Repertory Theater presents “School Girls” or the African Mean Girls Play.
It will be the first time in the rep’s 37-year history that a play will have an all-black cast and a creative team made up entirely of people of color.
“I love the idea of getting away from it all, of telling stories,” said show director Alicia Haymer. “I was bitten, as they say.”
” How are you doing ? she asked as she walked over to her cast to see the show’s set for the first time. “What do you think of the decor? Very beautiful, huh?
“This piece is about a high school in Ghana in 1986 where girls compete for the Miss Ghana pageant,” Haymer said. “There’s classism. There’s bullying. There’s a lot of things that black women specifically face. Colorism. There are times when they feel less beautiful because of the shadow of their skin.”
Haymer said these serious topics can be tackled with humor and depth.
For her casting, this production is a chance to be surrounded by other women who share how the casting processes have determined the kind of roles they can and cannot get.
“I’m like no one will see me for this, so why try?” said one actress during a short pause, talking to the other actresses. “There are people who are so incredibly talented who are overlooked.”
“Just because of how they look,” another actress replied.
“They should look at you and say, ‘You should be the naïve loving kind, you know.'”
“The fact that they can be on stage and work on some things that have affected them personally is very powerful,” Haymer said.
Haymer’s hope is that a child will be in the audience, and this show will be the spark that will make them love the theater.
“It would be amazing if the young girls in the audience saw that there are people like me who can take the stage and tell meaningful and powerful stories,” Haymer said.
“School Girls” or the African Mean Girls Play takes place at TPAC’s Andrew Johnson Theater from February 10-20.