Greek mythology, American history and soaring verse come together in the play The Darker Face of the Earth, by former Poet Laureate of the United States, Rita Dove. The limited run of Dove's play, which opened March 8, ends April 1 at the Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis.
Co-produced by the Guthrie Theatre and Penumbra Theatre Company, The Darker Face of the Earth is being helmed by Penumbra artistic director Lou Bellamy.
In The Darker Face of the Earth, the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet also employs verse to recreate the Oedipus tale on a plantation in South Carolina. There, the character Augustus, the son of a black slave, pursues a fight for freedom that propels the drama.
The cast for The Darker Face of the Earth includes Lester Purry as Augustus Newcastle. Perry was seen in Penumbra's Blues for an Alabama Sky, as well as the Guthrie productions of Big White Fog, and Many Colours Make the Thunder-King. His co-star, Karen Landry is familiar to theatre audiences at the Guthrie, South Coast Repertory and the Denver Center Theatre Company. Television audiences know Landry from "Patti Rocks," "The Personals," "Chicago Hope," "Beverly Hills 90210," "Picket Fences," "St. Elsewhere" and "M*A*S*H."
Other cast members include Tonia Jackson, Marie-Francoise Theodore, Abdul Salaam El Razzac, James Austin Williams, Laurie Carlos, Sonja Parks, Isabell Monk, Austene Van Williams-Clark, Ahanti Young, Djola Branner, Wendy Brown, Baraka De Soleil, Stephen Pelinski, Allen Hamilton, Barton Tinapp, Alexander B. Parker, Rex Isom, Jr. And Jason Brooks. The production team for The Darker Face of the Earth is set designer Douglas Stein, costume designer Paul Tazewell, lighting designer Mike Wagen, composer and musical director Cooper Moore, sound designer Scott Edwards, choreographer Marlies Yearby, and dramaturgs Faye Price and Belinda Westmaas Jones.
Tickets run $16 - $39. Tickets are available at the Guthrie Theatre box office at (612) 377-2224 or toll free at (877) 447-8243.
-- By Murdoch McBride