VOICES Production at UMES

  • Monday, February 23, 2009

    Voices Play Photo 2  PRINCVoices Play Photo 1ESS ANNE, MD-As part of Black History Month, a play, "VOICES:  Those Who Wore the Shoe," will be performed at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore Student Services Center theatre on Tuesday, February 24, at 8 p.m.

    The play is a staged documentary, adapted and directed by Harlin C. Kearsley.  It is based on actual slave narratives collected from 1934-1941 Federal Writers Project interviews.  It sheds new light on the institution of slavery and its aftermath through the words and music of those who actually experienced the reality of being physically owned. 

    Two actors slip into the shoes of several different characters, speaking directly to the audience using much of the former slaves own words.

    The play is free and open to the public.  For more information, call 410-651-6434.  

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    Gail Stephens, assistant director, UMES Office of Public Relations, 410-651-7580, gcstephens@umes.edu.

     

    THE CAST 

    Harlin KearsleyHARLIN C. KEARSLEY* holds a BFA in Acting from SUNY Purchase. Off Broadway & regional stage credits include: Macbeth (Mcduff) Richard III (Richmond), The Exonerated (Robert), Slow Dance On The Killing Ground (Randall), A Soldier s Play (Davenport) and The Fantasticks (El Gallo). Television credits include: One Life To Live, All My Children    andThird Watch. He has a recurring role on Law & Order, and has had roles on Law & Order: SVU and Law & Order: Criminal Intent.  For over five years Mr. Kearsley was the host of the PBS series The Internet In Action, which won an Emmy Award for Best Educational Program. Film credits include For Love Of The Game and Down To Earth with Chris Rock. Mr. Kearsley has also had principal roles in over 75 national on - camera commercials and voice-overs.

     

    In 2000, Mr. Kearsley was approached by National Public Radio to adapt VOICES: Those Who Wore The Shoe for that medium. This audio version first aired on February 22, 2001 and continues to air on various NPR affiliates nationwide during Black History Month. A CD of this Peabody Award nominated radio broadcast will be made available for purchase at the conclusion of the performance. His other writing credits include: Turned Around Tales (performed at The Street Theatre Co.), The Apollo Comedy Hour and the short lived FOX political sketch comedy series, Damn Right, where he was also a series regular.

    As an instructor and Acting coach, Mr. Kearsley taught Beginning and Intermediate Acting at Manhattan s Abrons Arts Center at Henry Street Settlement. He also regularly holds a workshop called The Business of Acting at Howard University in Washington D.C.

     

    Crawford, Kimberly KIMBERLYN CRAWFORD holds a BA from Florida State University. Ms. Crawford has performed in numerous Off Broadway and Off-Off Broadway productions, as well as a number of on-camera commercials. She is a member of The Negro Ensemble Company, and this past summer has performed in the premiere of Every Soul Has A Song.

     Currently, Ms. Crawford is in pre-production of a one woman play Eartha Kitt, which she also wrote and stars in.

     A people person, Ms. Crawford works with an organization called S.O.L.E. Entertainment, which brings awareness to the plight of the homeless though the power of theatre.

     

     *Appears courtesy of Actors Equity Association

     

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    TESTIMONIALS

     

    "Mr. Kearsley has compiled and edited these interviews into a dramatic form, and the results are powerful."

    The Times Union, Albany, NY

    "...An essential and effective teaching tool on the bitter lessons of slavery."

    Tandaleya Wilder, National Public Radio Contributing Correspondent (WSHU, Fairfield, CT)

    "Spoken in the voices of slaves themselves, the history of American slavery becomes a story about real people who experienced ordinary life events coming of age, love, grief and humor while confined to extraordinary, abominable human bondage...A unique multimedia presentation that brings the unimaginable to life"

    Arts Council of New Haven, CT

    "On Feb. 23, LIU introduced VOICES: Those Who Wore The Shoe in the Spike Lee Theatre. This dramatic performance took LIU students into a world only known in the textbooks...LIU students said they were amazed and inspired by the performance. 'People know about slavery, but they don't know the actual details,' said Marketing Major Andre Wilkins, 20.

    Seawanhaka (Long Island University Campus newspaper), Long Island University (Brooklyn Campus), NY

    "Thank you for bringing VOICES: Those Who Wore The Shoe to our campus, and to our minds and hearts. Those in attendance truly appreciated this artful tribute to the lives of men and women who are often overlooked, yet are such an integral part of American history."

    Daphne Dumas, Associate Dean, Office of Multicultural Affairs, Sarah Lawrence College, Bronxville, NY

    "The morning show was completely sold out. We had over 1,300 students attend. The intimacy that you bring to the performance is outstanding and the characters that you portray come to life beautifully."

    David Starkey, Associated Dir. of the Lyman Center for the Performing Arts, Southern Connecticut State University, New Haven, CT

    "A fantastic dramatic rendition of that era of our history."

    Jeanne C. White (Coordinator) Newton North High School, Newtonville, MA

    "You made big impressions on all the students...they were moved by the multimedia aspects of the performance. I especially want to thank you for talking with our students following the performance. It was important for them to be able to ask you questions about your writing and staging of the production, and to explore some of the topics raised in the performance."

    Christine Olson, Social Studies Teacher and Co-Director, The James Baldwin School, New York, NY

    "I'm still hearing compliments for 'VOICES'. The audience was quite moved, and your fine acting talent more than compensated for our lack of standard stage equipment. I was proud to present 'VOICES' during Black History Month, but would advise those interested that they need not wait for a holiday to book your show, as it has perennial significance. Also, the play is such a strong dramatic piece that it would be deeply meaningful and dramatic outside an educational or commemorative context."

    Lois Skelly, Program Coordinator, Croton Free Library, Croton-On-Hudson, NY

    "The patrons who had the great pleasure of attending your amazing program are still raving about the experience. The dramatic presentation you have created is one of the most powerful presentations to grace the stage of the New Rochelle Public Library...I was particularly appreciative of the question and answer session you conducted after the program, as the dialog that occurred was invaluable...We look forward to an encore performance."

    Barbara Davis, Community Relations Coordinator, New Rochelle Public Library, New Rochelle, NY

    "I am writing to thank you for your recent production of VOICES: Those Who Wore The Shoe at Alma College. It was a true highlight of our programming for this academic year, and one which students, faculty and staff are still talking about with great enthusiasm and appreciation. Thank you also for visiting my 'Performance' and 'Intercultural' classes. The students were enriched by your insights and willingness to engage in discussion at both technical and conceptual levels. I, too came away enlightened about details not present in History books; indeed, nobody who encounters this type of information views slavery through the same lens again. Congratulations on educating, entertaining, and enlivening the continuing cultural conversation here at Alma College."

    Joanne Gilbert, Ph.D., Professor and Chair, Communication Dept., Co-Dir., Women's Studies Program, Alma College, Alma, MI

    "You were amazing at bringing the stories to life and as you said, 'putting a human face' to history."

    Michelle Brink, Dir. of Student Activities, Norwalk Community College, Norwalk, CT

    "Not only was the material educational, but during the Q & A you expertly demonstrated your knowledge and professionalism with warmth and encouragement."

    Kim James Bey, Instructor of Acting and Voice, Howard University, Washington, DC

    "It was a pleasure hosting 'VOICES' at Salisbury University this past February...As you could see, we had a sold out audience Saturday evening which was really impressive. What was most impressive was the issues brought up by the audience during the question and answer period. I believe that you struck a nerve on a topic that our society has refused to discuss or give it proper perspective historically. Thank you for opening the eyes of our campus community and the larger community that supports our many events. 'VOICES' should be a requirement for American History classes everywhere."

    Vaughn P. White, Dir. of Multiethnic Student Services, Salisbury University, Salisbury, MD

    "The performance was moving, entertaining and educational. We had a mixed audience in terms of age, race and ethnicity. The audience response was remarkable. The question and answer segment at the end of the performance clearly showed the enthusiasm of the audience. The show appealed to all groups. In addition to the superb performance, it was a great pleasure to work with Mr. Kearsley. He is a consummate professional. He responded to all my queries, generally the same day. He provided all needed information for publicity, etc. in a timely manner. It is rare to meet a man as dedicated and professional as Mr. Kearsley. In short, do not hesitate to book this program. You will not be dissatisfied."

    Lois Herzberg, Branch Administrator, Yonkers Public Library (Riverfront Branch), Yonkers, NY