There’s a little bit magic in all of us.
That’s the theme of “Magic,” being offered within the Mnemonic Theatre Pageant at Muhlenberg Faculty.
“Magic,” written and directed by Kiyaana Cox Jones, is meant to encourage ladies of colour to acknowledge their energy and sweetness. The play is offered free on-line, March 18-21.
“Magic” is the primary of seven productions by Could within the theater competition.
The identify of the competition, mnemonic, refers to a sample of letters, concepts or associations that assists in remembering one thing.
Cox Jones, a 2008 Howard College graduate, was born and raised in Newark, N.J., and was Assistant Director of Multicultural Life for 3 years at Muhlenberg, instructing programs in variety and equitable studying.
In February, Cox Jones moved to Carrollton, Va., to fill an inaugural place much like that at Muhlenberg within the Isle of Wight Faculty District. She just lately premiered the district’s first Black Historical past Program.
“I made a decision to show grades Okay-12 as a result of I spotted that I wished to catch [students] once they have been youthful to begin having the conversations about variety, fairness and inclusion,” says Cox Jones in a cellphone interview.
In “Magic,” the primary character, whose identify is Magic, is a younger feminine on a journey to search out her “it.”
“It’s a manufacturing that empowers ladies. Their ‘it’ is just their magic,” says Cox Jones. “It reminds little women that appear to be me to embrace their magic.”
Cox Jones believes that society tells ladies of colour they aren’t lovely sufficient, or are too darkish or too mild, or that their hair is fallacious. Or they’re accused of being offended black ladies.
“However in actuality, they’re so extraordinary,” Cox Jones says.
Within the play, the primary character has a traumatic expertise which causes her magic to go dormant. Her ancestors come to life to assist Magic reclaim it. The reminiscences of the ancestors have fun black feminine storytellers, artists and performers.
There’s one character, Physician Enchantment, a therapist, who’s not an individual of colour. “She is white. I used to be intentional in doing that as a result of I wished a task of an ally,” says Cox Jones.
As a substitute of mentioning what’s fallacious with Magic, the therapist talks about her qualities. She uplifts and helps Magic, thus encouraging her on her journey. “There is no such thing as a prognosis, solely promotion and motivation,” Cox Jones says.
Cox Jones is a scholar at Bethlehem’s Worldwide Institute for Restorative Practices Graduate Faculty. Restorative Practices is an rising social science about easy methods to strengthen relationships between people. The strategy serves as reconciliation between victims and offenders, with the objective to enhance human conduct, scale back violence and strengthen civil society.
“I made a decision to take what I used to be studying there and implement it into my theater undertaking,” says Cox Jones. “Theater turns into a conduit of therapeutic. By the method, the actors go on a therapeutic journey to think about locations the place they haven’t been restored. And this subject is being a black girl and what does that imply and what sort of hurt have you ever skilled?
“How will you use this course of to handle the hurt? [The actors] use the script and the efficiency as a therapeutic conduit for another person watching it.”
The play, although written just lately, was formulated by Cox Jones years in the past. She jotted the thought on a sticky notice and affixed it to a wall, intending to jot down about it in the future.
“I used to be impressed by the Black Lady Magic motion [popularized by CaShawn Thompson in 2013] as a result of I’m a dark-skinned woman who didn’t all the time assume I used to be fairly. I needed to discover my magnificence. My mom was very influential in that.”
Cox Jones says “Magic” is in reminiscence of her mom, JeNette Harris, and serves as a declaration of affection for her daughter, Savannah-Grace, and her sister, Amiracle Harris.
Her household has impressed her in some ways. “I’ve 4 sons, and two years in the past, had my first daughter.”
She has two siblings, certainly one of whom she and her husband have custody, Amiracle Harris.
Final yr, Cox Jones’ mom died. “My coronary heart was damaged. I didn’t have a want to jot down or do something. Then somebody mentioned to me, ‘I believe your mom spent the final two years together with your daughter, making ready her to consolation you when you mourn.’
“I spotted writing was one other type of my therapeutic. So I used this to create what can be a love letter from my mom to me, my daughter, and my sister.”
It advanced into “Magic,” an inspirational love letter to each little woman of colour.
The 90-minute efficiency has a solid of 14. Krystal Corridor, a senior theater main at Muhlenberg Faculty, is taking part in the title character of Magic.
Two performers are highschool college students: Imani Smith, a senior at Phillipsburg Excessive Faculty, and Victoria Gardner, sophomore at Lehigh Valley Constitution Excessive Faculty for the Arts.
“I wished to bridge the hole between our highschool college students and our school college students in order that they’d be capable of encourage one another,” says Cox Jones.
Some solid members stay off-campus or in several states. Zoom was used for recording, sound cues, spotlights and different manufacturing particulars. Every actor had inexperienced screens and lighting delivered to their properties. There have been digital costume fittings and digital costume parades to make sure wardrobe accuracy.
The costume designer is Muhlenberg resident designer Alexis Gurst. “She has performed a tremendous job,” says Cox Jones.
“Magic” contains two dance numbers. One is a mix of hip-hop, African dance, jazz and fashionable, in a montage of feminine empowerment songs spanning from the Nineteen Nineties to right this moment.
The second dance contains neo-soul songs centered round Maya Angelou’s poem, “Phenomenal Lady,” and Nina Simone’s tune, “4 Ladies.” The choreographer is Randall Anthony Smith, Professor of Dance at Muhlenberg Faculty.
The piece makes use of multi-media components, together with clips from information tales and the actors’ personal movies reflecting on the method.
Cox Jones credit Muhlenberg theater division manufacturing supervisor, Jessica Bien.
“Jess can be thought of an ally,” says Cox Jones. “Exterior of college, we’re actually nice mates. We’ve had very brave discussions about race.”
When requested what audiences can count on after viewing “Magic,” Cox Jones says, “They might stroll away with an consciousness about how necessary it’s to uplift and have fun ladies of colour.”
“Magic,” 7 p.m. March 19; 3 p.m. March 20 and 21. Free. Register 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Monday – Friday: www.muhlenberg.edu/seeashow; 484-664-3333. Data on the seven productions within the competition: www.muhlenberg.edu/seeashow
CONTRIBUTED PHOTO “Magic” playwright-director Kiyaana Cox Jones utilized Zoom to rehearse her play for Muhlenberg Faculty. The play is obtainable on-line March 19, 20 and 21.
CONTRIBUTED PHOTO Playwright-director Kiyaana Cox Jones