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UofL Theatre presents premiere of 'How Orisanmi Chose His Head'

by UofL Today last modified Apr 08, 2011 09:55 AM

“How Orisanmi Chose His Head,” a play written and directed by Nefertiti Burton, transforms actors into spiritual characters in the upcoming University of Louisville’s Department of Theatre Arts African American Theatre premiere.

The play will be performed April 13–15 and 17 at 8 p.m. with matinees at 11 a.m. April 16 and 3 p.m. April 17. All performances are at the Thrust Theatre, 2314 S. Floyd St.

Burton, theater professor and associate dean of International, Outreach and Diversity Programs for the College of Arts and Sciences, based the story on a Yoruba sacred poem about how newborns receive their names and the courses of their lives are determined.

The story is about young spirits on a journey to be born on Earth as humans, Burton said.

“They must make the right decisions along the way that will later shape their character and quality of life,” Burton explained.

In 2001 Burton adapted the story for a repertory company at UofL to perform in public schools. A full production, however, has been a long-time dream.

“I wanted to bring the rich colors and sounds of Yoruba culture to the stage,” Burton said.

The West African culture is known for its distinctive traditions involving drumming and dance, she said. Those will be part of the play.

“Harlina Churn-Diallo, artistic director of Imani Dance and Drum Company in Louisville, choreographed the dancers, and the spectacular costumes, chanting and professional drumming will make this a fun, lively hour of theater for audiences of all ages,” Burton said.

Audience members also can take part in a talk-back after each performance to discuss the values the play represents.

Prices for the show include a special rate of $18 for up to five seats for families who have a “K-Card” from The Kentucky Center (special requires at least one parent in attendance and children age 12 or under). Regular show tickets are $12 for the general public, $10 for faculty and staff and $8 for students and senior citizens.

For tickets and information, call 502-852-6814 or visit http://louisville.edu/theatrearts/

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