HU Department of Theatre Arts Announces Its 2018-2019 Opening Season Production

Washington, D.C. (October 2, 2018) –  The Howard University Department of Theatre Arts is kicking off its new season with a soul stirring production entitled “Jonkonnu.”  The play features Howard University students and is a must see.  WHUR Digital Reporter Candice Adkins got a sneak peak of the play, starring HU student Rukia Henry-Fields @ru_kaykay who plays Winsome and Levi Bussey @Levirozice who plays Cuffy.

About “Jonkono:” It is the day before Boxing Day, a holiday that coincides with Christmas, which gave slaves three days off from work to rest and in this case to celebrate in the form of a festival, “Jonkonnu.” There is a renegade set of runaways led by Cuffy, who have landed in the “Bush. The story is set at Rose Plantation, in a country that is a composite sketch of the Bahamas and Jamaica. It is owned by Rodgers, whose family was made rich because of cane and slavery. Cuffy has gone back to get Winsome the woman he loves. The problem is Rodgers stands to lose more than just his property, but his prized position.

“Jonkonnu” is costume, mask, bodies, feet, hands, hips, and shoulders. It is the heart beating fast, and steady because in it, there is no fear, just readiness. “Jonkonnu” is the celebration, legacy, and tribute to Africa, the middle passage, our ancestors, and the resilience of African slaves. It is how things were kept and remembered. It’s how these things can be stored away, like fat, to keep the soul, and body alive, in even the leanest and meanest of times. It is in their movements, the way they navigate water, and mark territory. It is in the way they dance, side, step step, front, quick quick, back, quick quick, side, step step… feeling the entire length and movement of the body.

  • Your body is turned almost, full, facing “Jonkonnu” as it moves, and you begin to see the different tribes, thrown together in the hull of the ship, and on land that was not theirs. You see how the language of the ancestors was the only language that they could all speak. Begin to see memory moving, head, torso and hips. Hear the low growl underneath, way underneath ground, in rows, where even in death the line was maintained. Underneath the rattle of dusty old chains you begin to hear…..

Performances take place in the Al Freeman Jr. Environmental Theatre Space at 8pm October 3rd-5th and October 10th-12th.  Additional performances are October 6th and October 13th at 2:30pm and 7:30pm.  For ticket information,checkout their social media @HUTHEATREARTS

Renee Nash

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Renee Nash, Director of Information and Public Affairs for WHUR, is a well-respected journalist who has covered a range of issues from local and national politics, to healthcare reform and civil rights. She has also spearheaded numerous award-winning projects including radiothons, town hall meetings and food and clothing drives. Over her 25-year career at WHUR, she has been a writer, reporter, producer and anchor. Renee serves on the boards of many organizations including the Edith P. Wright Breast Cancer Foundation and Sisters of Hope. She is the proud mom of Dominique and Delante.

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