African and African Disapora Studies Department
African and African Disapora Studies Department

Going Underground at the Vortex: AADS Professor Lisa B. Thompson's New Play Premieres in Austin

Fri, March 24, 2017
Going Underground at the Vortex: AADS Professor Lisa B. Thompson's New Play Premieres in Austin
On the set of Underground (l-r) Jeffrey "DaShade" Johnson, Lisa B. Thompson, and Marc Pouhé (Photo by Sandy Carson)

Underground, a play by Lisa B. Thompson, will begin its three-week world premiere run this Friday, March 24th. This hot-button, heavyweight drama, unlike many of Thompson’s other work, reunites Kyle and Mason, a pair of old college buddies who have gone from radicals in their youth to successful professionals approaching middle age. When Kyle shows up at Mason's door, the two have a chance to catch up, reminisce and, as the evening goes on, engage one another in a battle of intellects over the best road to black liberation. As their argument becomes increasingly passionate and more personal, news reports reveal a police search for the leader of a black radical political movement. From flashbacks to their first meeting to the final game of chess that could change their lives forever, Mason and Kyle each pose to one another the central question of Underground: how far would you go to protect your people? 

"I usually write comedy, so this is a real departure for me,” [Thompson] says. "I'm somewhere between August Wilson and George Wolfe and Ntozake Shange, probably. Those are my influences. I'm wearing more of the Wilson hat now, doing a straight play and tempering my comedic voice." So what led the author of Single Black FemaleThe Mamalogues, and Dreadtime Stories: One Sista's Hair down this road? The Chronicle caught up with the theatre artist, scholar, and associate professor of African and African Diaspora Studies at the University of Texas in the rare moment when she wasn't busy with rehearsal, research, or her 11-year-old son to ask.

 

To read the full article and interview, click here.

To hear Dr. Thompson's interview with KUT, click here

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