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Home News 2016 The Department of Speech Communication and Theatre Arts at Clark Atlanta University presents Miss Julie

The Department of Speech Communication and Theatre Arts at Clark Atlanta University presents Miss Julie

Posted on Monday, September 26, 2016



Cleo House Jr.
Chair and Associate Professor of Speech Communication and Theatre Arts
404-880-6142 or chouse@cau.edu

ATLANTA (Sept. 21, 2016) The Department of Speech Communication and Theatre Arts presents a play by August Strindberg titled Miss Julie. The production is directed by the new Chair of Speech Communication and Theatre Arts, Cleo House, Jr.  House, a professional director and actor, has performed for the likes of August Wilson and Woyle Soyinka. He has been a part of several award winning ensembles as both a director and an actor. His previous academic posts were at Penn State University and Texas Southern University.

House laughs when asked about why he chose to direct Miss Julie. “I’ve gotten that question a lot. But there’s no better place than at an HBCU to revisit such canonical works. This university is a training ground for our students and the world of theatre is changing. Our students must be ready because one never knows what the next opportunity might look like.”

Miss Julie was originally written and produced in 1888. It is a play that explores the duality of class and sexuality.  “Issues that are always timely,” House says.   “In 1925, the play was banned in England which coincidentally is the time period we’ve set this production,” said E. Emmanuel Peeples, senior theatre major at Morehouse College.

House adds, “Strindberg himself describes Julie as a hysteric and on many levels I feel he judges her and that’s not how I like to enter into the space when I’m working on a play. There’s plenty of research that has been done on the play and even commentary from the playwright himself, but I choose to find the answers in the text.  It’s from there that we have based our Julie, Jean, and Christine.”

The director says this production of Miss Julie is being set in Atlanta, 1925, and along with other changes to the script such as the count, now called a colonel, and the valet, now a butler. “It wasn’t that much of a stretch to reimagine the play in this way. Our goal was to make sure that we were not trying to ‘put on’ whiteness but our goal was to be black Americans in this updated time period. The play is in public domain which does allow for some edits to make the play a little more relatable without changing the playwright’s intent.”

This three person cast consists of freshman Keara Jones as Miss Julie (Clark Atlanta), junior Mahalia Barrow as Christine (Clark Atlanta), and senior E. Emmunauel Peeples as Jean (Morehouse). The play is an emotional roller coaster filled with dramatic tensions. “Even though it’s a dramatic piece we are looking for the comedy or opportunities to allow the audience to take a break,” says Stage Manager, Gabby Ambeau (Clark Atlanta).

If you’re lucky, when working on a production, excitement bubbles throughout the rehearsal hall.  The actor’s bodies are teeming with energy in anticipation of the journey ahead.  When asked their viewpoint on the process, the cast of Miss Julie were not shy about expressing their feelings.

Keara Jones (Miss Julie), “I am so excited to work with a great cast and I cannot wait to see us grow as an ensemble. We are all ecstatic to bring wonderful theatre to Clark Atlanta and the public as a whole!”

Booker Vance (Jean Understudy, Morehouse student), “I am more than happy to work with Clark Atlanta, especially with Professor House on his first show as the new chair of the [Speech &] Theatre Department.”

Mahalia Barrow (Christine), “It fascinates me every time we as a cast step into our theatre because I am able to see everyone’s skill, creativity, and interpretation on their character!”

When speaking with the students, it is evident that they are a unified front and to see them work together in the rehearsal hall and witness their commitment to process is electrifying.

“We have an obligation to our students, our audience, our department, and our university to put on the best possible show – to pursue excellence.” House says this as he looks across the room at the actors who are on a ten minute break laughing and passing around banana pudding.

“But even more than that we have to create a legacy of dynamic, compelling, inclusive and interesting storytelling that reflects the diversity of the African-American experience. A diversity that has a global presence. That’s a legacy alumni, students and future students can be proud of.”

DATES: Miss Julie by August Strindberg starts performances on Thursday October 20 at 7:30pm, Friday October 21 at 7:30pm, Saturday October 22 at 3:30pm and 7:30pm, and Sunday October 23at 3:30pm.

LOCATION: Woodruff Library lower level Black Box Theatre.  111 James P. Brawley Dr. S.W., Atlanta GA 30314

TICKETS: Tickets prices are: $7.00 General Admission, $5.00 Senior Citizens and Non-CAU students, and $3 for CAU students.  General Admission tickets may be purchased online at http://missjulieatcau.brownpapertickets.com  For additional information contact the box office at 404-880-8714 or chouse@cau.edu

Category: Faculty, Students, Arts and Sciences
Keywords: Miss Julie