Free MLK-Week Show Opens Winter Theatre Events

Students acting in theatre events
Kalamazoo College’s Festival Playhouse produced “Well-Intentioned
White People” last term. This winter, its theatre events include
two one-person productions and a satirical vignette about
Black cultural issues.

Make plans now to attend three theatre events during the winter term at Kalamazoo College, including two one-person productions and a satirical vignette about Black cultural issues. 

First, the Festival Playhouse will produce The Conviction of Lady Lorraine, written and performed by Dwandra Nickole Lampkin, and offer it free to the community as a part of K’s Martin Luther King Jr. week celebrations. Support for this production is provided by the Arts Fund of Kalamazoo County, a program of the Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo.

Directed by Dee Dee Batteast, the January 14 and 15 play is set in Memphis near the Lorraine Motel where King was assassinated. A writer, played by Lampkin, has a brief but powerful encounter with a homeless woman, Lady Lorraine. The writer finds herself transformed by Lady Lorraine’s 20-year quest to right a social wrong. One year later, the writer returns to Memphis, hoping that Lady Lorraine will share her full story of conviction. The writer quickly finds herself asking new questions about many things, and finding that Lady Lorraine is not the only one on a quest for recognition. 

Lampkin serves as an associate professor of theatre at Western Michigan University. Her career spans two decades with television credits that include Law & OrderLaw & Order SVUThird Watch and Wonderland. She has performed at the Tony-Award winning Denver Center Theatre, the Huntington Theatre in Boston, the Human Race Theatre Company in Dayton and the Indiana Repertory Theatre in Indianapolis. 

Tickets for The Conviction of Lady Lorraine, which is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. in the Playhouse at 129 Thompson St. both days, are available online. Please note that currently both proof of vaccination and masks are required for admittance to the theatre.   

Then, from February 10–13, Matthew Swarthout ’22 will undertake Sir Ian McKellen’s one-person show, Acting Shakespeare in this year’s Senior Performance Series. The show will encompass both Swarthout’s and McKellen’s insights into Shakespeare’s plays, featuring monologues and scenes from Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer Night’s dream, Hamlet, Macbeth and more. Watch the Festival Playhouse website for ticket information for the show at the Dungeon Theatre, 139 Thompson St.  

Finally, from February 24–27, a quick-witted comedy will follow in the Festival Playhouse’s 58th season themed “Black is Beautiful: An Ode to Black Life, Love and Strength.” BLACKS+PHATS will examine themes such as beauty ideals, relationship dynamics and levels of attraction while searching for enlightenment in stereotypes. Current K students are eligible to audition. Watch the Festival Playhouse website for ticket information. The show will take place in the Festival Playhouse at 129 Thompson St. 

Please observe the Festival Playhouse’s COVID-19 safety plan when enjoying productions this term. The plan follows current guidelines from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Michigan State Department of Health and Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Actors Equity Association (AEA). Find more information online about the safety plan and upcoming shows.