Pitt's Kuntu Repertory Theatre Presents The Electronic Negro, Sister Son/ji

Issue Date: 
March 29, 2010

Pitt’s Kuntu Repertory Theatre continues its 2009-10 season with two one-act plays—The Electronic Negro and Sister Son/ji—that will run April 1-17 in the Seventh-Floor Auditorium of Alumni Hall. Both productions will be directed by Vernell A. Lillie, Kuntu founder and producing artistic director and a Pitt professor emeritus of Africana Studies.

Kuntu is presenting productions this season by playwrights who influenced the late Rob Penny, Kuntu’s playwright-in-residence for many years and a Pitt professor of Africana Studies.

The Electronic Negro, by Ed Bullins, is set in a writing class at a junior college in Southern California. The lead character is a pretentious older student who monopolizes the classroom discussion. In this play, Bullins lampoons the pseudo-objective rhetoric of the social sciences and the conventional, unexamined rhetoric of the humanities, neither of which deals well with being Black in America. New York actor Anton Floyd plays the part of the student; Chad Smith (A&S ’08) plays the role of the teacher; and longtime Kuntu community actor Barbara Alexander plays another student.

Sister Son/ji, by Sonia Sanchez, is regarded as one of the most significant portrayals of the Black Power Movement of the 1960s. In it, the lead character explores different phases of her life, including a painful experience at a White college, where the instructor refused to learn her name; her activism and work toward freeing Blacks from injustice; her personal struggle to keep her home life intact; and, as she reaches her 50s, her wondering whether young Blacks will pick up the fight and dare to demand a new day. The role of Sister Son/ji will be shared by Salome Mergia, a graduating Pitt senior (CBA ’10) and Tonita Davidson, who was seen in Kuntu’s production of Raisin that ran from Jan. 21 through Feb. 6, 2010.

Performances are Thursdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 4 p.m. Matinees are scheduled for 1 p.m. April 10 and 11 a.m. April 15.

Tickets are available at the William Pitt Union box office; through ProArts at 412-394-3353 or www.proartstickets.org; or at Dorsey’s Record Shop, 7614 Frankstown Ave., Homewood.