Theater, Fall Arts Picks

Last Rites by Randy Neale

When: Thursdays-Saturdays, 7:30 p.m., Wednesdays, 7:30 p.m., Sat., Sept. 7, 3 p.m. and Wed., Oct. 2, 7:30 p.m. Continues through Sept. 11 2019

PURE Theatre’s 17th season kicks off with the world premiere of Last Rites, based on the violence of the Detroit Riots in 1967. The play has been described by the Dayton Daily News as a “thought provoking, riveting, multi-media-accented account of race, hostility, communication, and desire for understanding.” In a press release, playwright and director Randy Neale discusses the parallels between Charleston today and Detroit in the 1960s: “In 2015, when I was retiring as a teacher and a coach at Charleston Collegiate school, I was honored to address the graduating class. The school was very diverse and that class was particularly so, basically equal numbers of African-American, Latino, Chinese, and White students. As I was talking to the graduates, I was struck by the same thought that I had every year: that the future that I was talking to them about would be radically different for most of them based on the color of their skin. All of these students were equally bright, engaging, personable, and 100% of them had been accepted to four-year colleges but most of these great kids were heading into adulthood with the odds for a successful life already stacked against them. This thought brought me back to my own high school graduation in Detroit in 1967 and the riots which dominated that summer and changed that city forever.” Have those flames that burned in 1967 ever really been put out?

Price: $10-35

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