Normally, this article would run in our newspaper, the Phinney Ridge Review, but the play will have completed its run at Taproot before the next edition comes out in early March. Here's what our Arts Coorespondent, Laura Genoves, has to say about the play "Gee's Bend".
The setting is intimate, the stage is minimalist, and the production of Gee’s Bend is superb. Taproot Theater has once again delivered a story of hope and courage to the stage. Based on the actual small town of Gee’s (pronounced geez) Bend, Alabama, this beautifully written play, by Elyzabeth Gregory Wilder shares the story of three generations of a poor African American family working their land and making the most of what is available to them. The women in the family learn the art of quilting and incorporate scraps of their well-worn clothing into imaginative, yet functional designs. The main character, Sadie, played by Samantha Rund, becomes inspired by listening to a lecture by Martin Luther King in Selma. Sadie and her sister Nella then get their own voter’s registration cards, and Sadie joins a march and protests. Sadie is determined to fight for equality, and Sadie and her husband Macon, are in disagreement as to how to bring equality to Gee’s Bend.
Each scene begins with a short acapella rendition of a traditional African American spiritual, and the brief transitions between scenes allow the audience to absorb the profundity of the story and share the struggles of the Pettway women. As their struggles evolve, we share the triumphs of the women when their quilts are lovingly displayed in a museum as works of art. Many in the audience were brought to tears; director Karen Lund has created a genuinely moving production.
Join the discussion with some of the real quilters of Gee’s Bend, February 18, at 9 p.m. or February 21 after the matinee showing. If you have already seen the play, but want to be involved in the conversation, bring your tickets for admission. There will also be and post-play appearances by the Pacific Northwest African American Quilters (Wednesdays, February 4-25).
At Taproot Theatre – January 28-February 28