UPDATED 2/11/2021 (Audition Dates Have Changed)

by John Kaiser III – Navarro County Gazette

The Warehouse Living Arts Center will be putting on a Reader’s Theatre workshop of local playwright Pam C. Dudley’s historical piece Breakfast in March and are looking for actors, or even those who never have but would like to give it a shot. Being a “Reader’s Theatre” actors will be reading from the script on stage, so there is no need to commit it all to memory.

Breakfast is an intergenerational historical drama, set in Corsicana, Texas on the first day of school integration in 1970. With 17-year old Cora at the center, a series of interconnected, two person, one-act plays serve up the grits and grit of this small town coming of age story, inspired by events in rural Texas towns.

Auditions will be held 6:30 p.m., Mar. 15 and 16 on the main stage at the Warehouse Living Arts Center. If you would like to audition, but cannot make one of these two nights, please contact the WLAC and they will work something out. Also, please share this article with anyone you might think be interested in working on this project. Being a “Reader’s Theatre” production, actors will have their scripts in their hands during the performance, and are not expected to memorize their roles wit such a short turn around.

Rehearsals will be Thursday and Friday nights (Mar. 25 & 26) with performances 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Mar. 27, and a 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Mar. 28 matinee. A Q&A discussion with Pam Dudley will follow the Sunday Matinee for those who wish to stay and talk about the piece.

For a list of all the characters that need to be cast, please visit the Warehouse Living Arts Center’s website at www.theWLAC.com.

When asked what inspired her to write Breakfast, Dudley said: “I’ve been fascinated by backstory my whole life.  As a child, I sat in the mall and created stories around the shoppers walking by.  I weaved tales of where they’d come from, what they were saying to each other, and where they were going.  

As a therapist, I learned the value of knowing someone’s story to help explain why they think and act the way they do.  I have studied stories of integration in rural Texas for the last nine years. I have spent hundreds of hours talking to my family, their classmates, and Corsicana residents. It has helped me understand why people fight when they fight and why they chose not to fight.  

When I meet people who hurt others or hurt themselves, I always wonder, what happened to you?  I asked that same question when I arrived in Corsicana and learned that the town refused to integrate for many years.  Several Corsicana residents shared their stories about their experience on the first day of integrated school.  I was fascinated to learn that some white students were assigned to go to the school that was previously all black. 

With Corsicana being a small town, I began to see so many story connections.  Though each person’s story was unique, it seemed to be a link on a longer chain.  I wrote Breakfast as a series of interlocking links on a chain.  The nine individual two-person short plays can stand alone as 10-minute plays, or be presented together to tell the complete interlinking story.”

Corsicana integrated in 1970. Many of those students and teachers are no longer living to tell the story. Breakfast is not anyone’s story in particular. It is a fictional story inspired by the courage and pain of those who lived it. I wrote Breakfast in hopes that it would help others to look in the mirror, as it did me.”

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