The Kuumba Players, Mary Baldwin’s African-American theatre group, will present Signifyin’, Testifyin’ and Plain Ole Lying in the Fletcher Collins Theatre, Deming Hall, Friday and Saturday, February 22 and 23, at 8 p.m., and Sunday, February 24 at 3 p.m. Tickets are $5 for adults, $2 for Mary Baldwin students with ID, and free for children under 12.
Junior Tonquise “TQ” Jabari leads the 18-member group in a play about story telling and African-American culture. The first segment, Signifyin’, is based on folklore. Jabari said that she got the text from talking to her grandmother and from African-American folktales. The second part, Testifyin’, is about gossiping and making light of situations in life, in school, and in the black church. The final portion features dance and song.
“The play uses folk tales that have been passed down from Africa, the South, and the Caribbean,” Jabari said. “Although the play is entertaining, the purpose is to introduce children, especially, to the rich history of story telling and African-American history. There is a lot of audience interaction.”
Started by Jabari in 1999 as an African-American theatre outlet, the Kuumba Players are in their third year. The troupe’s name, Kuumba, means creativity in Swahili. Previous plays written and directed by Jabari and performed by the Kuumba Players include Kaleidoscope and Keepin’ the Kitchen Close.