A LESSON BEFORE DYING
By Romulus Linney, based on a Novel written by Ernest J. Gaines,
and set design by Wendell Brown
Charles David Brooks III, Director
March 30 - 31, 2017 at 7:00pm, and April 1, 2017 Matinee at 3:00pm
Location: Ponder Fine Arts/Humanities Center Theatre
Columbia, SC -- March 15, 2017 -- A Lesson before Dying, a play by Romulus Linney, based on a Novel written by Ernest J. Gaines, and directed by Charles David Brooks, III, and set design by Wendell Brown, performs on stage, at the Benedict College Ponder Fine Arts/Humanities Theater by the Theatre Ensemble, featuring Brandi Green, Cary C. Corley, Joshua Deon Colter, Rajendra Neupane, Roderick Haynes, Jr., LaQuanisha Robinson, Stephan Richardson, and stage manager Shakiera Williams. A Lesson before Dying runs March 30 and March 31, at 7:00 PM, and April 1, 2017, Matinee, at 3:00 PM.
Ernest J. Gaines sets the scene in the fictional community of Bayonne, Louisiana, in the late 1940s, or for that matter it could be in Ferguson, Missouri or anywhere else in America, at any time. A Lesson Before Dying tells the story of Jefferson, or Trayvon, Garner, Michael, or Tamir, a twenty-one-year-old uneducated black field worker wrongfully accused and convicted of the robbery and murder of a white man, and sentenced to death by electrocution. At his trial, Jefferson's court-appointed defense attorney argues that Jefferson lacks the intelligence to plan a robbery, and that, even if he had been involved in the killing, sentencing him to death would be like putting a hog in the electric chair. In spite of this so-called defense, the all-white jury finds Jefferson guilty. To compound the horror of his situation, Jefferson internalizes the attorney's racist depiction of him as a dumb animal as he convinces himself to go being dragged like a hog to the electric chair.
Determined that Jefferson will die with dignity, his godmother ("nannan"), Miss Emma, turns to Grant Wiggins, a black teacher at the local plantation school, and asks him to teach Jefferson to be a man. Although convinced that there is nothing he can do, Grant reluctantly agrees to visit Jefferson in jail. Over the next several months, while Jefferson awaits execution, he and Grant forge a bond that enables both men to regain their dignity, reconnect with their community, and learn "the importance of standing."
Admission range from $5.00 to $10.00.
For additional information, contact Professor Charles D. Brooks, III, Benedict College Theatre Ensemble Director at (803) 705-4358 or Charles.Brooks@benedict.edu.
The Program, Cast, and Crew N/A