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'Talk About Race'

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REP's world premiere of original production features music, humor, history

Six actors rehearsing online

During an online session, writer-director Hassan El-Amin (top left) speaks to actors Elizabeth Heflin (top center) and Rene Thornton Jr. (top right), both REP company members, and (bottom row, from left) guest actor Toni Martin, REP member Stephen Pelinski and UD student Briana Henry.

Race is often a difficult subject for people to talk about, but University of Delaware actor, writer and director Hassan El-Amin thinks that using music and humor can help ease the way to productive discussions.

He showcases that approach in Talk About Race, an original audio production he wrote and directed, which UD’s Resident Ensemble Players (REP) will perform in February for its world premiere. The production will stream online, at no cost, from Friday, Feb. 5, to Sunday, Feb. 28, coinciding with Black History Month.

“People are in their own corners, their own world” when it comes to the subject of race, said El-Amin, who is a REP company member and a UD alumnus. “I think music and humor is a way to get in. This production is part sketch comedy, part satire, part history and part music.”

The show is designed to be fast-moving, engaging and thought-provoking as it takes an unflinching look at current racial relations in America and provokes a range of emotions from amusement to outrage. It offers a mix of vignettes, sketch comedy, obscure American history, rousing contemporary and historical speeches and original musical numbers.

To El-Amin, the music is especially important.

“Music allows for another way of hearing because it dictates feeling,” he said. “Music can control your emotions, and I look for that to happen.”

Talk About Race is the first production this semester in the REP’s 2020-21 season and continues the imaginative audio performances the company has been offering to adapt to the restrictions of the COVID pandemic. It also premieres at a time of pronounced racial tensions in America.

"We want to examine this heavy subject in a way that actually makes a difference," El-Amin said.

Talk About Race will be available for streaming through the REP’s website.

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About the REP

The REP is a professional theatre company at the University of Delaware. Its productions are supported in part by a grant from the Delaware Division of the Arts in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts.

The spring semester of the REP’s 2020-21 audio season kicks off with Talk About Race and continues with Arsenic and Old Lace, which will begin streaming on Feb. 26, and The Poirot Mysteries, a pair of productions adapted from Agatha Christie stories, which will begin streaming on March 26 and April 23.

Article by College of Arts and Sciences communications staff

Published Jan. 28, 2021

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The REP, UD's professional theatre company, will stream the world premiere of an original audio production, "Talk About Race," throughout February, tackling a difficult subject with music and humor.
1/28/2021
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