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University Theatre: "A Lesson Before Dying"

Beginning tonight in the Seney Stovall Chapel on Milledge, University Theatre presents "A Lesson Before Dying," adapted to the stage by Romulus Linney from the acclaimed novel by Ernest J. Gaines and directed by George Contini. Performances will be held Feb. 3-8 at 8 p.m. with a matinee Feb. 8 at 2:30 p.m.:

"A Lesson Before Dying" is set in 1948 Louisiana. Jefferson, a young African-American, is the innocent bystander of a liquor store shootout. He is falsely accused of murder, convicted and sentenced to death after a trial in which his own defense lawyer asserts that he is not intelligent enough to have committed the murder and compares him to "a hog." While Jefferson awaits his execution, he receives visits from Grant Wiggins, a black teacher at the local parish school. The two men develop an unexpected personal connection and deep mutual respect that transforms them both, instilling them with dignity and solidarity in the face of injustice and tragedy.

"In light of recent events in Ferguson, Cleveland and throughout the country, I need to remind myself that Ernest Gaines' ‘A Lesson Before Dying' is a work of fiction," said director George Contini, an associate professor in the department of theatre and film studies.

Wonderfully-timed programming to celebrate African American artistry as part of Black History Month but also to present topical subject matter highly relevant to our society and our times. Art is the portal through which gain a better understanding of the truth, allowing us vicarious perspective on events of which we otherwise play too close of a role to see clearly, much less understand. Great job, University Theatre, our student actors and technicians, and director George Contini. Get your tickets now!

Image: Anthony Nash as Jefferson takes center stage in "A Lesson Before Dying." (Credit: Charles Adron Farris III/UGA)

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