New adaptation of ‘Native Son’ takes center stage

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New adaptation of ‘Native Son’ takes center stage

A new stage adaptation of the 1940 Richard Wright novel “Native Son” will run Oct. 27 through Nov. 4 at the Dennis and Cheryl Woods Theatre at Fresno State. The adaptation of “Native Son,” written by Nambi E. Kelley and directed by Thomas-Whit Ellis, is the second show of University Theatre’s 2017-2018 season.

“Native Son” is billed as one of the most thematically crucial and formatively complex American novels of the first half of the 20th century. It sold 250,000 copies within three weeks of its publication. Wright was an influential African American writer who literary critics believe helped change race relations in the United States during the mid-20th century.

The story takes place in the South Side of Chicago in the 1930s — a time and place where opportunity is elusive for people like Bigger Thomas. After landing a job in the home of a wealthy family, Bigger unwittingly unleashes a series of events that violently and irrevocably seal his fate. Using W.E.B. DuBois’ theory of double consciousness as a grounding point, this adaptation of “Native Son” focuses on the landscape inside the mind of Bigger Thomas, bringing the power of Wright’s novel to life for a new generation.

Following the Oct. 31 performance, there will be a talkback with the cast and guest speakers.

The cast includes Torry Allen, Arium Andrews, Gregg Dion, Ben Garcia, Jimmy Haynie, Desiree Houston, Teya Juarez, Emily Kearns, Alexis Myles, Chlorissa Prothro, Joshua Slack and Jalen Stewart.

Tickets are $17 for adults; $15 for Fresno State faculty, staff, alumni and military; and $10 for students. Group rates are available for groups of 20 or more. Box office hours are noon to 4 p.m. on weekdays and one hour before each performance.

Parking is free for shows on Friday through Sunday night. For shows on Tuesday through Thursday night, parking permits are required and can be purchased at dispensers in parking lots on campus.

For more information, contact the box office at 559.278.2216 or