‘Lesson’ continues at Troy

Published 9:10 pm Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Troy University Theater production of “A Lesson Before Dying” will begin its second week of performances tonight at the Trojan Center Theater and will run through Friday. Performances are at 7:30 nightly. Tickets are $5 each and are available at the door.

Adena Moree, Troy University director of theater, said attendance for the Ernest J. Gaines’ play has been good, but weighted heavily by university students.

“The community response has not really been good,” she said. “I don’t know if the play is too difficult or too sad, but ‘A Lesson Before Dying’ is such a significant novel that I would think people from the community would really appreciate the stage production.”

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The plot centers around Grant Wiggins, who was teaching on a plantation in Louisiana when a slow-witted man, Jefferson, was convicted of murder and sentenced to death. Jefferson claimed he was innocent of the crime but the jury brought back a guilty verdict.

“Jefferson’s grandmother wanted Jefferson to die like a man so she asked Grant to help him die like a man,” Moree said. “I think that there would be a lot of interest in the play since it deals with racial issues from our past and, maybe our present.”

The play was performed on Nov. 13, 14 and 15 with a talk-back on Friday. Moree said there was a lot of audience interest in how the actors in the play were affected by the racial issues and how they perceived what went on in the play.

“They were also very interested in what goes on backstage and the roles of the director and the actors,” Moree said. “The audience had a lot of questions and comments that led to interesting discussions.”

There will be a talk-back at 4 p.m. today at the Trojan Center Theater and it will be open to the public.

“The purpose of the talk-backs are to give the audience opportunities to learn more about the theater and about what the actors are doing and the contributions that the set and costume designers make to a production.”

A group of juniors and seniors from Goshen High School will attend “A Lesson Before Dying” at the Trojan Center Theater on Thursday.

“It’s always good to see young people at the theater,” Moree said. “The theater is an educational tool for all who attend.”