RLTP opens new season with From The Mississippi Delta
blog by BuffaloDotCom • September 12, 2012 @ 7:00am
Road Less Traveled Productions will launch its 2012-2013 season with a Curtain Up! production of Dr. Endesha Ida Mae Holland’s From The Mississippi Delta on Friday, Sept. 14 at the Road Less Traveled Theater (639 Main St., Buffalo).
From The Mississippi Delta was written by former Western New York resident Dr. Endesha Ida Mae Holland and premiered at Buffalo’s Ujima Theatre in 1986. The play was subsequently transferred to a successful off-Broadway run in New York City. Original cast member Verneice Turner returns to direct and co-star in RLTP’s revival of the play. Joining her onstage will be June L. Saunders Duell and Danica Riddick.
The play chronicles a tumultuous cast of characters—matrons, preachers, drunks, good-time girls, carnival barkers and freedom marchers, among others—who circle the towering, tragic figures of Ain’t Baby (a laundress, midwife, and miracle worker) and her daughter, Phelia, who escapes sexual abuse at an early age to move into a life of stripping, prostitution, and ultimately, the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s.
Turner called From the Mississippi Delta an occasion “...to honor and celebrate those who didn’t have access to the opportunities and tools many of us have available to us today.”
“This play,” she noted, “portrays the courage, determination, love and inner power that exist in us all and enable us to overcome the harsh realities the human condition causes us to face in life.”
RLTP Artistic Director Scott Behrend called the play “...a potent and vital piece of history…Even the saddest parts of this story are delivered with a wry sense of humor, and the audience shares Phelia’s feelings of horror and wonder as she moves through her struggles.”
The late Dr. Endesha Ida Mae Holland is the author of the plays Second Doctor Lady and The Reconstruction of Dossie Ree Hemphill, among others. A professor at the University of Buffalo and the University of Southern California, she received the National Larraine Hansberry Award in 1981. October 18 is officially the “Annual Dr. Endesha Ida Mae Holland Day” in her hometown of Greenwood, Miss.
From The Mississippi Delta runs through Sunday, Oct. 7. Showtimes are Thursdays through Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. Tickets are available at www.roadlesstraveledproductions.org or by calling (716) 629-3069.