On Monday, Jan. 28, UNCG held a short reading event called “New Black Math,” written by Suzan-Lori Parks and performed by The Vanguard Artists of Color in the Taylor Studio in Taylor Theatre.
The production was directed by Nachela Knox and featured De’Ron Robertson, Adrian Allen, Aniah Brown, Brynne Coleman, Jasmine Fuchs, Kelvin Jones, Jasmine Marshall and Jalen Walker as performers.
“New Black Math” is a spoken word piece intended to give a voice to black people everywhere with the pivotal question, “What is a black play?” The actors answer this question numerous times by stating, “A black play makes do if it got to,” and “A black play ain’t for you.”
During the event, two lines that seemed to capture the audience’s interests were, “A black play gotta get out to vote,” and “A black play is a leader, but seldom an elected official.” This play is not meant for any specific group. As De’Ron Robertson said, “This is just a play.” He continued to say, “Oh yes definitely, I think it’s a very powerful piece and it’s not very well known, I honestly hadn’t heard of it until De’Ron presented it to me but I think it has such a powerful and relevant message that it could serve as a good piece on stage.”
In an interview with the cofounder of The Vanguard Artists of Color and director, Knox, when bringing up the topic of staging New Black Math as a full production, she said “It was very interesting to talk about. It was just so interesting to work through it and go through it because it is very complex, and to me it means that a black play is just so complex.”
When asking Knox about De’Ron Robertson, an actor and cofounder of the Vanguard Artists of Color, she said, “That’s definitely something that we would like to see in the future because he [De’Ron Robertson] and I are both graduating in December, so we’re hoping that somebody comes along and continues The Vanguard Artists of Color.”
Knox ended the interview explaining that if any students are interested in learning more about or perhaps even joining The Vanguard Artists of Color, their contact email is firstname.lastname@example.org. Students interested in “New Black Math” or Suzan-Lori Parks’ previous work should be sure to check out “Topdog/Underdog” from the Jackson Library.