North Carolina Central University Department of Theater will present the stage adaptation of Toni Morrison’s novel “The Bluest Eye” at 8 p.m. April 11, 12, 18 and 19, and at 2 p.m. April 13 and 20 in the University Theater.
Set in Lorain, Ohio, in the 1940s, the play tells the tragic story of 11-year-old abused and lonely Pecola Breedlove, a young, black girl, who longs for blue eyes.
“‘The Bluest Eye’ forces us to confront our own ideas of what counts as beautiful through the incomprehensible, lower depth of existence experienced by a malnourished soul,” said Dr. Stephanie “Asabi” Howard, director and assistant professor in the department of theater. “One is quickly snatched into Pecola’s mental and spiritual struggle resulting from the effects of racism and discrimination, molestation from her father and detachment from her mother.”
Howard believes Pecola, like any other child, is a direct reflection of her family and social environment. “Pecola’s desire for blue eyes is symbolic of self-worth, love, acceptance and happiness,” Howard said. “This play makes us take a hard look at the world we create.”
The director describes the play as a reminder of life’s potential cruelty, but says it also contains hope for better days ahead.
“I must admit that after every reading of the play, I am filled with despondency, Howard said. “But, redemptively, I am also soon replete with an inspiration and determination to find my role in preventing such atrocities and fallacies from reaching our community of African-American children.”
Written in 1970, the novel was Morrison’s first and because of its unflinching portrayal of incest, prostitution, domestic violence, child molestation and racism has often been banned from libraries and schools across the United States. The book is about the “taking it in” of childhood influences and impressions that shape the world and teach children who they are.
NCCU students lending their talents to the production include:
Additional cast members include: Toni Oliver, Lekeeda Barbara, Diarra Fields, Kelvin Carter, Malcolm Green and Tiara Jones.
Tickets for the production are $10 general admission and $5 for students and seniors. Because of mature subject matter, children under five will not be admitted. For ticket information, call 919-530-5170. For general information, call 919-530-6242.