‘Black Girl’ explores dreams, relationships

Tim Magaw

(From left) Freshman Brittany Mayti, freshman ReShawna Gregory, sophomore Cara White, and freshman Quiera Lige act out a scene. ELIZABETH MYERS | DAILY KENT STATER

Credit: Steve Schirra

She just wants to be a ballerina.

Billie Jean, the lead character in “Black Girl,” is a young girl struggling with dreams her family is trying to destroy in the African Community Theatre’s production of the play by J.E. Franklin’s “Black Girl” that opens tomorrow.

R‚Shawna Gregory, who plays Billie Jean, said she relates to the character’s experiences.

“In the end, she realizes she has to do what’s best for her, regardless of what her family thinks,” the freshman theater major said.

She said Billie Jean is the black sheep of her family, an experience she relates to because in the last few years, her family had different views on what she should do with her life.

“I felt different than everyone else,” Gregory said.

Raemicah Rivers said it was difficult to play her role as Norma Faye, one of Billie Jean’s menacing half-sisters.

“To me, it’s hard,” the freshman justice studies major said. “I’m nowhere near that. It’s kind of fun to play the character because she’s obnoxious.”

Freshman nursing major Kyla Haywood plays Netta, a friend who, unlike her half-sisters, encourages Billie Jean to pursue her dreams. Haywood said she relates to Netta because she also wants something out of life.

“If I see people struggling, I want to help, like Netta,” she said.

Rivers said the play’s message is relevant to all.

“Basically, ‘Black Girl’ is a play that opens people’s eyes,” she said. “It shows things back in the day and how things aren’t much different now.”

Freshman pre-med major Tiaona Loman, who plays Billie Jean’s other half-sister Ruth Ann, said the play is about family support, sisterhood and personal goals.

“It deals with real life issues,” Loman said. “It’s like a generational cycle and one person trying to bring someone down … and we still see that today.”

“I think it’s a play with a lesson,” said sophomore marketing major Brittany Mayti, who also plays Netta. “Everyone that comes will cry, laugh or learn something.”

Contact ethnic affairs reporter Tim Magaw at [email protected]

J.E. FRANKLIN’S ‘BLACK GIRL’

&bull Performance times:

8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, Nov. 10-11 and Nov. 17-18

3 p.m. Sundays, Nov. 12 and Nov. 19

• Tickets:

$10 for general public, $7 for students and senior citizens

For tickets, call (330) 672-2300

• Locations:

African Community Theatre, second floor Oscar Ritchie Hall