Bare Theatre recreates slaves’ experiences for area residents

June 14, 2013 by  

To give people a greater idea of what slavery was like and to depict how big a part it played in the country’s history, a new staging of ‘Let Them Be Heard’, by Bare Theatre of Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina is viewable over the next couple of days

In the 1930s, Works Project Administration (WPA) writers interviewed former slaves to hear about their lives. These first-person accounts are called “slave narratives”, and give people who have no understanding of the “curious institution” a window into the practice. Todd Buker, artistic director of Bare Theatre, took seven of these stories and crafted them into a performance piece.

The non-traditional staging takes place in Horton Grove, a part of Stagville and a historic site. Stagville at one time was the largest plantation in the state of North Carolina, and in fact was one of the biggest in the nation, covering 47 square miles. Audience members will be treated to a series of monologues delivered by actors who impersonate the slaves, telling about their lives using the words of the slave narratives for their texts. Some of the actors are located in the old plantation buildings, while at least one performance occurs as people walk along a road and interact with the performer.

Theater personnel could work with brochure printers to create a piece for audience members that explains the slave narratives and their importance. The performance will be given six times, both tonight and tomorrow night, at 7:00 pm, 8:00 pm, and 9:00 pm.