Theatre Wesleyan puts on the play “Down in Mississippi”

"Down in Mississippi" is a play written by Carlyle Brown. Courtesy Theatre Wesleyan.
“Down in Mississippi” is a play written by Carlyle Brown. Courtesy Theatre Wesleyan.

From September 29 to October 9 Theatre Wesleyan will be performing “Down in Mississippi.” Originally written by Carlyle Brown, this performance is directed by Visiting Assistant Professor of Theatre Karen Potter.  

The production will take place at the Thad Smotherman Theatre/Law Sone Fine Arts Center, 1205 Binkley Street. The performances will take place at 7:30 p.m. on September 30 and October 1, 7 and 8 and at 2:00 p.m. on October 8 and 9.  

Attendees should be warned the show does contain adult content and graphic language, including racial epithets used in context.  

The play takes place in 1964 Mississippi during the Freedom Summer campaign. Young civil rights activists journeyed to Mississippi to join the movement and register black people to vote in a place where they were constitutionally denied the right.  

Designed by student Mya Cockrell, the set is simple yet effective. It comprises of three pieces, a desk, a bench and a chair that are moved seamlessly throughout the show by the cast themselves.  

Set changes are effortless and accompanied by a musical number. These are performed by musician and first-year theatre major Hunter Kleinshmidt, and singer and first-year theatre minor Madison McKinzie. The movement of pieces goes almost unnoticed because her (as McKinzie’s) powerful voice commands the audience’s attention.   

Mention must be made of the clever use of lighting in the show. Red, blue and white lights were used predominantly throughout the production with great symbolism to America and the theme of the land of the free.  

Another great aid is the graphics that are played on screens alongside the show. These do not take away from the production but rather add to the thematic telling of the story. The graphics help to give context to scenes and aid the viewers imagination.  

Finally, congratulations must be given to cast members junior theatre arts major Henry Bates who plays Jimmy, freshman theatre major Hayden Kirkbridge who plays John and sophomore theatre major Peri Zachmeyer who plays Ellen.  

All three of them, as well as, Madison McKinzie who transitions into the role of Fannie Lou Hammer gave thrilling performances.  

Those looking to attend the production must note that it runs for 75 minutes without intermission. Tickets can be purchased by visiting the Theatre Wesleyan Box Office. 

Texas Wesleyan students may receive one complimentary ticket by presenting their student ID thanks to the Student Government Association.  

For more information about the production and ticket reservation contact the Box Office at 817 531-4211.