Following closely on the heels of their recent drive-in theatre production of Last Train to Nibroc, An Other Theater Company is thrilled to be producing another COVID-safe production–this time available online. The format will be the same as their streamed production of Odd-Shaped Balls back in March. Audience members will be able to purchase their tickets online, and will receive a link to view the show during a specific time window on the day of their ticket.
In this original production, Dorsey Williams plays high school student Donald. After an incident during a school basketball game, 17-year-old Donald must attend court-ordered therapy to continue his education and keep his spot on the team. When his therapist asks him some tough questions, Donald confronts some of the thoughts and feelings he might not be ready to share out loud yet.
The show is also an opportunity to showcase the directing work of the theatre’s new co-artistic director, Shelby Noelle Gist. In July of this year, the theater re-examined its leadership and policies, and Kacey Spadafora stepped into a different role to make room for greater inclusivity and diversity in leadership. Gist and Williams created the script together with a focus on celebrating Black healing, while acknowledging the pain that Black folks experience.
Williams has found deep meaning in the work he and Gist have done. “The play is like a handbook on being Black,” Williams says. “I play a Black teenager who is still learning how the world works. For me, it’s been an incredible experience relearning what it means to be Black in America.” Williams and Gist created the script collaboratively over the course of several weeks, and have included a few small and subtle things that have huge meaning. Williams looks forward to audience members picking up on them. They also hope that audiences find some healing. “I hope that Black men find themselves in the script,” says Gist, “I hope they understand the importance of speaking their feelings, and I hope they find healing through our show.”
But Gist and Williams have also stressed that this show isn’t intended to speak to all Black experiences. “It’s a story about a cisgendered Black man and should be taken as just that,” they note in the script. “The struggles of our femme, transgender, disabled, and non-neurotypical Black folks are just as important and also deserve to be told. For this piece, we wanted to address the mental health in young Black men through therapy.”
While the theatre’s plans for a regular season have had to be adjusted, they are also presenting a panel series online. These panel series are recorded discussions that are then made available to the public on YouTube and on the theater’s website. Previous topics have included “Black in Theatre” and “Women in Theatre,” with future panels “Fat in Theatre,” “LGBTQ+ in Theater,” “Disabled in Theater,” and “BIPOC in Theater.”
Something to Cry About will be available to stream on An Other Theater Company’s website from November 13 – 30. Stream will be available from 6:00 pm – 11:59 pm (Mountain Time) each night, and a link to the stream and a password for the night of your ticket will be included in your confirmation. Tickets are pick-your-price each night, and free tickets are available throughout the run for those who cannot afford them through AOTC’s Play-It-Forward program. For details on this program, or to buy tickets, visit anothertheater.org.