Director Tazewell Thompson is staging Emily Mann's Having Our Say: The Delaney Sisters' First 100 Years at Chapel Hill, NC's PlayMakers Repertory Company through Feb. 28. The production is most likely the play's first since Sadie Delaney died Jan. 25, and the staging is aptly dedicated to her and her sister Bessie, who passed away on Sept. 25, 1995. Saidah Arrika Ekulona will play Bessie opposite Brenda Thomas' Sadie.
Having Our Say was inspired by the book of the same name, a surprise bestseller that told of the two African-American spinsters 200 combined years of experience. The story traces their experiences from Reconstruction and the Jim Crow south to the Harlem Renaissance and the Civil Rights era.
Thompson has been the artistic director of Syracuse Stage as well as an artistic associate at Washington's Arena Stage and New York's The Acting Company. Ekulona is quite familiar with her role. She has previously played Bessie at Indiana Repertory Theatre, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park and Crossroads Theatre in New Brunswick, NJ. Thomas is also a Having Our Say veteran, having appeared as Sadie opposite Ekulona at Indiana Rep. She also played the part in Milwaukee, Dallas and Buffalo.
Performances are in the Paul Green Theatre on Country Club Road on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Call PlayMakers Box Office At (919) 962-7529.
--By Robert Simonson