An original production from The Tubman Troupe is hitting the stage in Auburn.
A Gatherin’ Place was created by the theater group, after their staging of playwright Ntozake Shange’s For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow is Enuf back in 2018. The current show is directed by Dr. Juhanna Rogers.
“When we first started the show, it was just kind of our monologues” says founding Troupe member Ashley McLeod. “We each wrote our own stories. Then if developed and Juhanna had put a storyline to it so it’s just about these women telling their stories and Ms. Paulette who once represented Ntozake Shange’s now represents just that woman in every woman’s life that gave her life lessons and good advice.”
Rogers says, “I do think, especially during this climate, there are women and so many of them are feeling silenced and looking for a space for care to just articulate what they’ve been through and how they’ve triumphed or trying to triumph.”
Here’s how the Tubman Troupe describes the production: In life, there are moments and people that show up and change the course of your life forever. The women on Gathering Street understand this notion very well as Ms. Paulette, a longtime resident of the building, provided many of the Black female residents a listening ear and an open heart. Ms. Paulette’s wisdom and encouragement pushes these women to grab hold of their lives even when they seem at their weakest points. When Ms. Paulette passes, these women realize that there was something they did not know about their mysterious neighbor. Come to “A Gatherin’ Place” and see how Ms. Paulette helped these women navigate motherhood, career decisions, love, and self worth.
Another founding member of the Troupe, Cari Clark, says “I think our stories are stories that some people have but they don’t know how to tell them, and a lot of times we’re representing that woman, like when we tell our stories we’re saying it for her.”
“It’s just really powerful and every time we’ve done this show someone has connected to one of our stories and I think it’s more special because it’s our stories.”Ashley McLeod
McLeod adds, “It’s for everybody because I think everybody has some of that story in them, men included. It’s just that I feel like black women never tell their story or get to tell their story fully and unapologetically and feel safe about it. So, I just think, you know, it is for men but we’re telling these stories for our women of color who feel like they can’t speak their stories.”
You can see A Gatherin’ Place at Auburn Public Theater on Friday, September 27th. The show starts at 7pm.