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The Voice of the Black Community

Arts and Entertainment

Beyond the ‘Pipeline’ to prison in taut societal drama
Three Bone Theatre production at Spirit Square
 
Published Sunday, August 11, 2019 7:00 pm
by Ashley Mahoney | The Charlotte Post

THREE BONE THEATRE
Deandre Sanders (Omari) and Alexis Jones (Jasmine) in a scene from Three Bone Theater’s production of “Pipeline.”

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“Pipeline” goes beyond exploring the school to prison track.


The Three Bone Theatre production of Dominique Morisseau’s play tells the story of high school student Omari and his mother Nya. Omari is enrolled in a private school upstate, where he finds risking expulsion for his reaction to being asked to speak for an entire race. Meanwhile, his mother is an inner-city school teacher. Providing her son with opportunities most of her students will never know is her priority.

“I think a lot of people kind of assume that it’s about the school to prison pipeline, and that definitely is a factor, but it’s more about how particularly young men of color can get sort of put on this track that is not created to support them,” said Three Bone Theatre Founding Artistic Director Robin Tynes-Miller. “That ends up having really detrimental consequences for them personally, for their families, for their communities.”

The production runs Aug. 22-24 and 29-31 at 8 p.m. at Duke Energy Theatre at Spirit Square. LeShea Nicole, who plays Nya, returns to Three Bone Theatre, where she previously performed in “Daffodil Girls.”

“We are really excited to have LeShea Nicole back,” said Tynes-Miller. “She is such a powerhouse, and she’s just an incredibly talented actress.”
Deandre Sanders, who portrays her son, Omari, makes his debut with the company. Susan Stein, who previously worked with Three Bone in “By the Water,” portrays Laurie. The following cast members will make their Three Bone debut: Graham Williams (Xavier), Marcus Fitzpatrick (Dun) and Alexis Jones (Jasmine). Sidney Horton will direct.

“We have a bunch of people who have not worked with us before,” Tynes-Miller said.

Sanders and Fitzpatrick attended UNC Charlotte together.

“I found out about the auditions through Marcus Fitzpatrick,” Sanders said. “He told me about the synopsis of the play, and I felt as if I fit right into the role, because I’ve experienced having to deal with certain situations in the institutional aspect, whether it was with another student, or if it was with a teacher. I feel as if it was spot on.”

Initially, Sanders considered taking time off rather than auditioning. He had just finished the 2019 KidsWrite Play Festival in Raleigh.

“I remember I told Marcus that I might take a break for a month,” Sanders said. “He told me I should audition, because it was a great opportunity. I’ll never go against what Marcus says, because he’s one of the wisest people I know. We decided to go to the auditions together.”

Tynes-Miller remembered Sanders and Fitzpatrick from a production at UNCC, “Blues for an Alabama Sky.” Sanders was attracted to the authenticity of the play.

“I really liked the play—it’s in the title, ‘Pipeline,’” Sanders said. “It shows what a lot of black men go through, just from having to go to school in their neighborhood, or even being sent to a different school. It shows the usual pipeline that black men go through. It’s like birth, young teens, maturing, but you can only do so much, because of the environment and the region that you’re in. Either you have to depend on sports, or you might end up getting gang affiliated, and go into the pipeline, which is jail.”

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