Theatre Arts kicks off “A Piece of My Heart,” Thursday, a powerful, true drama of six women who went to Vietnam. The play portrays each young woman before, during and after her tour in the war-torn jungle and ends as each leaves a personal token at The Wall in Washington.
The show marks the directorial debut of a mainstage production by Sidney Monroe Williams, an assistant professor in Theater Arts, who joined the department last year.
“This play is unique because it is one of the few plays about the Vietnam War that highlights the experiences of women,” Williams said. “As it stands, we do not know how many women volunteered or served in Vietnam because they were not documented. This play speaks to that erasure to make sure audiences don’t forget how significantly we were all impacted by the 20 years of this war.”
Williams’ specialty is theater that explores intersections of gender, race and class, with particular focus on queer theory and performance.
Before joining UofL, Williams worked with lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and queer youth in Boston, at The Theater Offensive, a theatre company that strives to present the diversity of LGBTQ lives through performance art.
Williams’ says his artistic goals are to “spark dialogue, raise visibility and celebrate marginalized bodies.”
Theatre Arts renowned Repertory Company, which presents plays to area elementary schools, and its unique African American Theatre Program, drew him to UofL. He now teaches classes such as Acting the Black Experience, Tools for a Global Theatre and History of African American Theatre.
Williams said the cast of a “A Piece of My Heart” is comprised of a particularly strong group of undergraduates: Aaliyah Compton, Bridget Kim, Fiona Blackburn, Jordan Tudor, Olivia Herren, Lexi Johnson and Zach Stone.
The show is unique in that it’s set in the memories of the characters, he said.
“This has been an exciting challenge for our production team to create a world of memory, history and relevance to modern times. The set design is dynamic with varying platform levels reshaping the Thrust Theatre; sound effects mixed with haze and fog to simulate warfare; and costumes ranging from the late 50s to mid 70s capturing iconic decades of fashion.”
The show runs 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Feb. 21-23 and Feb. 28-March 2. There is a 3-5 p.m. matinee March 3. Purchase tickets here.
Click here to see more images of the show.