On Saturday, March 21st, part of a play by CAE and Writing Center Faculty member Shannon Richards-Slaughter was performed at Calvary Episcopal Church on Line Street downtown. The staged reading of The Future of the Race was produced by Art Forms & Theatre Concepts, Inc., the premiere African-American Theatre Company in the Low Country.
Dr. Richards-Slaughter’s play tells a story of an idealistic, young African American woman from Philadelphia who goes south to take her first teaching job at a small, rural, black school for one school year. To her surprise, she finds friendship and a kindred spirit when she agrees to tutor a young black farmer poetry and drama, including Shakespeare, Milton, and Dickens, while he teaches her the Charleston, the blues, and, through the example of his own loving marriage, a model for an authentic male-female relationship. Their interactions bring to life not only poets and fictional characters but scenes with family members, friends, and foes. In the end, racial violence and betrayal end their lessons and their dreams but not the bond they have formed.
In addition to this most recent accomplishment, Richards-Slaughter previously won a New Professional Theater play writing award as well as a Ms Magazine fiction award. An earlier play, A Man’s Wealth, A Woman’s Glory, has received stage readings at the New Professional Theater in New York and at the Sumter Little Theater in Sumter, South Carolina.