Pitt’s Kuntu Repertory Theatre Kicks Off 2008-09 Season

Issue Date: 
October 13, 2008


The University of Pittsburgh’s Kuntu Repertory Theatre launches its 2008-09 season with Rob Penny’s Diane’s Heart Dries Out Still More Oct. 16 through
Nov. 1.

Diane’s Heart Dries Out Still More tells the story of Diane and Austin Williams, newlyweds filled with dreams of happiness, and their struggles to find their way in a world of many temptations. By resisting the lures of sexual infidelity and substance abuse, Diane and Austin are able to recommit to their marriage and create a future for themselves.

The cast includes Lichelle Sade as Diane Williams and Ijasneem (Tyrone Johnson) as Austin Williams. Other cast members include Deborah Banks, Stephanie Akers, Daniel Wright, Les Howard, Shawn Agyeman, Yasheena Moultrie, Jamisa Spalding, Lamont Chatman, and Jameira Moore.

All performances are in the Seventh-Floor Auditorium of Alumni Hall. Preview performances will run Oct. 16 and 17, with $1 admission for Pitt students with valid student identification. Opening night is Oct. 18, and performances are Thursday through Saturday at 8 p.m., with matinees at 4 p.m. Sundays, 1 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 25, and 11 a.m., Thursday, Oct. 30. For more information, call 412-624-7298.

Kuntu Repertory Theatre’s 2008-09 season is dedicated to the works of Kuntu’s late playwright-in-residence Rob Penny and his exploration of the rich African American life in Pittsburgh. Penny began teaching at Pitt in 1969 and was chair of the Department of Africana Studies from 1978 through 1984. He and the late playwright August Wilson cofounded Black Horizon Theatre in 1967 and Kuntu Writer’s Workshop in 1976. The workshop continues under the leadership of Chawley Williams. In 1974, Vernell A. Lillie, professor emeritus in Africana Studies and artistic director of Kuntu Repertory Theatre, founded Kuntu as a way of showcasing the talents of Penny, Wilson, and other playwrights dealing with social issues.

Lillie says she is thrilled to devote an entire season to Penny’s plays.

“As a playwright, poet, novelist, short story writer, and literary critic, Penny carved out a vision of Black life that often is ignored and denied,” said Lillie, who is director of the production. “He sought not to replicate the men, women, and children on the streets of Pittsburgh, but to examine the unique forces, the strength, and the determination that allowed each to live, love, and grow in a complex society that can deny the need for humanity for all.”

Admission is $20 with discounts available for seniors, students, groups, and Pitt faculty and staff. Tickets are available at the William Pitt Union box office; Dorsey’s Record Shop, 7614 Frankstown Ave., Homewood; and Pro Arts Tickets, 412-394-3353 or proartstickets.org.