ROCK HILL, S.C. - The inaugural Create Carolina Arts Festival winds down this week with the performance of the new commissioned play “Home! Now!!” about elderly women protesting the war in Iraq.
The play by New York-based playwright, filmmaker and actor Jonathan Davidson is a musical comedy inspired by a group of elderly woman arrested for attempting to enlist in the Armed Forces as a form of protest against the Iraq War. The play deals not only with issues of war but with youth apathy, the generation gap and the notion that one is never to old, to young or too insignificant to make a difference.
Among those involved in “Home! Now!!” are director Billy Porter, an entertainer who has appeared on Broadway, as well as actors Lee Thompson Young, Liza Vann and Daphne Reid. The Red Hat Society Carolina Dixie Darlings will provide the chorus for the performances.
The play has been developed through the year in collaboration between Davidson and the students involved in the Create Carolina program.
Young is a native of Columbia, S.C., who is known by many as “Jett Jackson” from the Disney Channel series “The Famous Jett Jackson.” Vann was introduced to New York theatre audiences when she premiered Off-Broadway in VOX HUMANA #3: A LOVE SONG at La Mama and for her performance as Marietta Corsini in Richard Vetere’s “Machiavelli.” Reid is has appeared in numerous television programs and is best known for taking over the role of Aunt Vivian Banks on the series “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.”
Showtimes will be Thursday, May 31, and Friday, June 1, at 8 p.m. in Johnson Theatre. Tickets are $8 for Winthrop ID/Senior (+65)/Student or $10 general admission.
The festival’s final event is the June 2 performance of “Medal of Honor Rag,” Tom Cole’s 1976 play about a decorated Vietnam veteran’s troubled adjustment to life after a controversial war. Charlotte, N.C., native Chandler Parker whom Randolph-Wright directed in “Preaching to the Choir,” will play the black veteran, DJ, while Polly Adkins, Winthrop alumna and local theatre veteran, has been cast as the psychiatrist. Written as a male role, Adkins will be the first female to play this role.
Showtimes will be Saturday, June 2, at 2 and 8 p.m. Tickets are $10 for Winthrop ID/senior (+65)/students and $15 general admission. The play contains adult content and language.
Randolph-Wright had his directorial film debut with “Preaching to the Choir” which swept the feature film prizes at the American Black Film Festival, as well as many other festivals. He currently is writing and directing the film version of the stage musical “Mama, I Want to Sing.”
The Create Carolina Arts Festival is a three-week festival of college classes, master classes, film screenings and performances.