Posts tagged ‘Charles Dumas’

The Penn Stater Daily — Oct. 4, 2013

From news to features, your daily dose of everything Penn State.

The place to be: The Penn State Centre Stage production of No Place To Be Somebody opens tonight at the Pavilion Theatre at University Park. For longtime Penn State theatre professor Charles Dumas, it’s something of a swan song.

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Dumas (left) as “Sweets,” faces off with “Johnny,” played by Herb Newsome ’02g. Photo by Tina Hay

Dumas is retiring in December, and No Place to be Somebody marks his final Penn State show as a director. He also plays a vital supporting role in the production, which is set in seedy, racially conflicted late ’60s New York City. The play won the 1970 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, making Charles Gordone the first African-American playwright to receive the honor. Based on the preview I attended, it’s tense, heavy stuff, especially challenging for audience members too young to appreciate the tone of race relations in late ’60s America. But it’s tight and well-acted, and I imagine Dumas is quite happy with the idea of challenging his audience.

No Place to be Somebody runs tonight through Oct. 10.

Big-screen hero: Speaking of premieres: Murph: The Protector, a feature-length documentary on the life of Michael Murphy ’98, debuts tonight at the State Theatre in downtown State College. Members of the Penn State ROTC (more…)

October 4, 2013 at 10:06 am 1 comment

‘Bearing the Burden’: Students on the Sandusky Scandal

On a sparse stage with only a few folding chairs as props, students in Charles Dumas’ Theatre 208 class set out to tell their sides of the story. In “We Are… A Student Perspective of The Sandusky Scandal,” Thursday at the Pavilion Theatre, students performed monologues, which they wrote, depicting student reactions to the events of the past year. Some scenes enacted portions of the grand jury testimony and public statements from Joe Paterno, Graham Spanier, and Sandusky himself.

Before an audience of students and community members, the actors, none of them theatre majors, talked about the “heartbreak” upon learning Joe Paterno was fired, dealing with the onslaught of opinions on social media, and feeling both “ashamed and empowered by our pride” at public gatherings like the Nov. 11 candlelight vigil.

In one powerful scene, actors wore white masks to portray Sandusky’s victims. The audience was silent as actors read graphic details from victims’ real testimonies as other masked actors tossed a football in the background. Slowly, a masked man in a Penn State windbreaker lead each actor backstage, throwing his arm around their shoulders and patting their backs as they walked.

A major theme in all of the monologues: the media’s unfair portrayal of Penn State students, especially after the Nov. 9 riot, in which a news van was tipped. A few scenes depicted students having to defend themselves after being labeled as supporters of Sandusky and child sexual abuse.

“We had to bear the burden of some of the most heinous acts in human history,” explained one actor. “But it made us become more of a family, and we’re moving closer to closure.”

Mary Murphy, associate editor

December 17, 2012 at 6:17 pm Leave a comment

‘Radio Golf’ to Open Friday

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Just weeks before Pittsburgh-born playwright August Wilson died in 2005, he finished the last of his series of 10 plays called “The Pittsburgh Cycle.” That last play is called Radio Golf, and it’s the next offering in the Penn State Centre Stage season.

A relatively small cast—just five actors—will stage the story of Harmond Wilkes, who wants to redevelop Pittsburgh’s Hill District and who also is campaigning to become the city’s first black mayor. There are complications along the way, and those complications challenge Wilkes to rethink a few things, not the least of which is his ethics.

I checked out the dress rehearsal on Monday night and took some photos, including the one above of Penn State MFA acting candidates Bianca Washington (playing Wilkes’ wife, Mame) and Andy Lucien (playing Wilkes). I not only liked the play, but I also liked that it’s full of Pittsburgh references, making it enjoyable on a couple of different levels.

It also was my first chance to see Penn State theatre professor Charles Dumas on stage. Dumas has been on Law & Order and a bunch of other TV shows; (more…)

August 25, 2011 at 1:27 pm Leave a comment


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