Edgy production blends theatrical elements to tackle racial stereotypes and concepts

Topics: College of Fine Arts, College of Sciences and Humanities, College of Communication Information and Media, Student Affairs

January 15, 2008

 A provocative comedy about race, "N*W*C," will make a stop at Ball State University at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 18 in Pruis Hall during its spring 2008 tour. The show is free and open to the public.

Speak Theater Arts, the Los Angeles-based theater company behind the show, thinks the country is ready for a comedy about race in America and intends to stir things up by taking on racial slurs, stereotypes and the concept of race.

Danielle Pye, a graduate student in the Department of Communication Studies and coordinator of the event, said the purpose of bringing the show to campus is to promote diversity.

"I think that part of our responsibility as educators at Ball State is to make sure that our students are prepared to enter the next phase of life, whatever that may be," Pye said. "For most students, that includes encountering all types of diversity, including race."

The production blends theater, hip-hop, stand-up comedy, slam poetry and the true life stories of cast and co-writers Miles Gregley, an African-American; Rafael Agustin, a native of Ecuador; and Allan Axibal, a Filipino.

The show's full title is three racial slurs.

"The show traces the origins and evolution of three derogatory terms that shaped our lives and took the place of genuine understanding of our distinct cultures," the three cast members report. "In doing the show, we hope to depower these words for ourselves and for our audiences."

Steve Seagle and Liesel Reinhart also co-wrote and direct the production, which won the award for Best Play in 2003 from the American Readers Theater Association.

Co-sponsors for the event include the Campus Activity Fund Board, Office of Housing and Residence Life, Multicultural Center, Speech and Debate Team, Department of Theatre and Dance, Department of Communication Studies, African-American Studies Program, Department of History, Asian-American Student Association, Spectrum and the Black Student Association.

Discretion is advised, as some content may not be suitable for children under 13. Priority will be given to Ball State students with ID. For information on the show, visit www.nwclive.com.

By Jennifer Strempka

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