Photo by Troy Brooks

At [email protected] until February 13, the Outcast Theater Collective play, PASSOVER, written by Antoinette Chinonye Nwandu.

Director Erica Sutherlin explained the significance of the play’s title.

“Passover has religious connotations. It showcases the energy behind the Book of Exodus moving out of Egypt and into the Promised Land. death. Passover represents getting off the block and finally taking that step towards a brighter future.”

PASSOVER follows Moses and Kitch, two young black men who hang around a street corner and fear that they will be murdered by the police.

Erica’s first reaction upon reading the script was “wow”.

“It took me back to a place in my teenage years, sitting on the block talking to guys on the street about just about everything – hopes and dreams, the universe – how brilliant those conversations were, but in At the same time, there was a deep sense of sadness. That was my immediate reaction to reading the script. It brought me back to that place.

In PASSOVER, Tron Montgomery plays Moses, while Lance Felton and Joshua Dupree play Kitch. Michael Menszycki embodies both Monsieur and Ossifer.

“I’m on a personal crusade in St. Pete to find and train as many black male actors as possible because we have a shortage here. I wanted to give as many people an opportunity as possible,” she said. . “To see them all resonate with what was inside of them that they didn’t know was inside of them was a beautiful moment.”

Aesthetically, Erica creates a simple setting: a lamppost, a tire and a shopping cart, putting the power of the actors’ words at the centre. Its goal is to bring out the truths of the actors about their relationship with the characters they play.

“The script can be heavy if you handle it heavy, but it really has a lot of light and humorous comedic moments. I wanted to make sure that the balance was there, that we didn’t spend too much time in the heaviness because the people stop listening,” she said. “As a director, it’s not often you get a play that transforms you, so magically in a very special way. This is the second time I’ve had this experience in my career. She (the playwright) did something for me that I share a part of myself that I don’t share with the world It’s like this secret that only guys I’ve sat with in the block and who had this conversation and this energetic exchange – they are the only ones who understand – this piece allowed me to go back inside this world to be an objective spectator I was in the conversation the last time; now I I’m on the outside as a viewer. It’s such beautiful art. The language is something familiar. The conversations aren’t alien. It’s theater that transforms you written for brown bodies.”

Discussions will take place at the St. Petersburg Theater with “Deconstructing the Block and the Black Male” on February 6 and “Slur and Slang in Pop Culture” on February 13. The [email protected], 620 First Ave. S, St. Petersburg. Learn more about https://www.outcasttheatre.org and Buy tickets at thestudioat620.org/events/pass-over-by-antoinette-nwandu.

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