JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - The Foundation of Arts is hosting its very first production featuring an African American cast. A Raisin in the Sun will run until Monday, Sept. 11.
Director Sametta Parker told Region 8 News that though shows featuring African American casts have come to the Forum in the past, this will be their first production.
"The Color Purple was here very recently but this is the first time we've put together and run it from our Foundation. The response has been amazing," Parker said. "It's like 'Oh my gosh, it's about time and I can't wait to see it.' Definitely the members of the Foundation are over the moon about this show. It's been very exciting. It's a long time coming."
Parker said the show brings things full circle with the Foundation of Arts.
"I've met people since I've lived here in Jonesboro who say 'Oh yeah, I remember when it was a movie theater,'" Parker said. "Older folks who can remember when it was segregated and blacks had to sit in the balcony and could only use certain drinking fountains. To be able to come today and people can come in and take part in all levels from the audience from the stage is amazing and it's really exciting."
Parker said she's loved the play since she was a teen, but it's a bit overwhelming to sit in the director's chair.
"Working with adults and our adorable little young man who plays Travis has been a totally different experience. It's been a labor of love," Parker said. "People want it to be just perfect."
Parker said while she's telling the story her way, she's still paying homage to Lorraine Hasnberry's story.
She encourages everyone to come and watch the play.
"Everybody needs to know this story because although it's a story about an African American family during America's time of segregation, just really on the cusp of civil rights, everything we're going through today resonates in that story," Parker said. "This is a story regardless if you're black, white, Hispanic, an immigrant, a Muslim, you could put any of those different groups of people in that story and it's still the same story. It's about what we want for our families and what we want for our future and how we want to present ourselves."
Region 8 News' own Symphonie Privett is also one of the cast members.
A Raisin in the Sun will be performed Friday, Sept. 8 through Monday, Sept. 11. All performances start at 7:30 p.m. with the exception of Sunday's matinee performance at 2 p.m.
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