The Paul Robeson Theatre will open its doors for the first time in two years to present Charlayne Woodard’s “Pretty Fire.” The play brings light to many themes that express the life of Woodard from birth to age eleven.
“Pretty Fire” was originally written and performed by Woodard in 1995. The play is separated into five stories: survival, racism, sexual assault, women’s empowerment and religion, each represented by a different character.
“This is a cast of five,” Sydney Key, N.C. A&T senior professional theatre student and cast member, said. “The power we bring telling these stories is something you will never forget.”
Students are overjoyed to have in-person productions again this school year, especially students in the theater program.
N.C. A&T junior honors professional theatre student and cast member Emani Eaglin says this is an opportunity that she and other theater students have longed for.
“Performing is an out of body experience for me that I hadn’t felt in a while due to the pandemic,” Eaglin said. “Live performances are energy exchanges between the performers and the audience. Excitement is an understatement for how I am feeling about performing again.”
This production will look slightly different from previous shows. One notable difference being the significantly smaller cast size.
There are also protocols in place that help limit the spread of COVID-19. Facial coverings are required for audience members and social distancing practices will be implemented for both audience members and performers.
“Pretty Fire” is a beautiful story with a powerful message about life. Woodard is able to take memoirs of her loving family and realities of life during her early childhood and create this vivid production. The play celebrates her life, rather than focusing on the complaints and hardships.
N.C. A&T sophomore professional theatre student and cast member Jada Wesley hopes to connect with the audience on a deep and personal level.
“The impact that this play holds, and knowing many people can relate to it, I want to see that connection form in their eyes,” Wesley said. “I want it to be relatable and heart-wrenching and over all, a beautiful story.”
The play will run from Oct. 20 to Oct. 24 at 7:00 p.m. in the Paul Robeson Theatre. There will also be a matinee showing at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday Oct. 23 and Sunday Oct. 24.
Tickets can be purchased at the Ticket Office website beginning Oct. 15 and at the door of the performance. General admission tickets are $17. Senior citizens and students who do not attend A&T will be able to purchase tickets for $12. Student tickets are free for A&T students and can be picked up at the door with the presentation of an Aggie One card. Be sure to visit the N.C. A&T Theatre webpage for more information on the showing.