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April 3, 2018

SVSU play examines issues of race and social class

The Saginaw Valley State University Department of Theatre will stage a play exploring themes of race and class in the Malcolm Field Theatre of Performing Arts Wednesday to Sunday, April 11-15.
 
Written by Detroit-born Lydia R. Diamond, The New York Times described “Stick Fly” as a “juicy family drama” that follows an affluent black family, the LeVays, as they vacation in Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts. The two LeVay sons, Flip and Kent, bring their respective romantic partners home to meet their parents, but clashing personalities and ideologies cause tensions to bubble over, and secrets are revealed.
 
Flip's white girlfriend Kimber – portrayed by Tristian Evanoff, a theatre major from Bay City – comes from an affluent family and finds herself fitting into the upper-crust lifestyle of the LeVays moreso than Kent's lower-middle class fiancé, Taylor, who is black.
 
Played by Indigo Dudley, a music major from Saginaw, Taylor is an entomologist by profession and was abandoned by her father at a very young age. Her less-than-affluent childhood causes her to struggle with the casual wealth that is on display in the LeVay household.
 
“Taylor is a very passionate character,” Dudley said. “She is very pro-black and clashes with Kimber a lot because of her strong views on racism and equality.”
 
Through the lens of a relatable family, “Stick Fly” aims to examine issues revolving around race and class. However, the familial tensions in the LeVay family are relatable to anyone, said Tommy Wedge, who directs the play.
 
“In essence, this play is mainly about relationships,” said Wedge, an SVSU adjunct instructor of theatre.
 
“No matter what background you come from, you'll find something in the LeVay family that you can relate to. They deal with issues we all deal with.”
 
Both Wedge and Dudley say "Stick Fly" starts the conversation about these difficult topics, but the play leaves it up to the audience to decide which side they stand on.
 
“It's interesting that the writer doesn't side towards one person,” Dudley said. “This is just the story of a group of people trying to sort through a situation. Everyone is humanized, and I think that makes it more relatable.”
 
The play includes adult language; it is recommended that patrons be age 16 or older.
 
Join the LeVay family in maneuvering their unsteady waters during SVSU’s production Wednesday to Saturday, April 11-14 at 7:30 p.m., and on Sunday, April 15 at 3 p.m. Tickets are $13 for the general public and $10 for students or attendees 60 and older.
 
For more information, visit http://www.svsu.edu/theatre/showschedule/.