Quincy is in a school, and he comes from Americus, Georgia. He’s away from his family, a freshman in college. He talks about how he feels isolated as he begins to realize he is a stranger to himself and those who know him best. He is in the process of understanding things. It doesn’t come easily, as in real life.
Another character is a pretty flamboyantly openly gay man in the choir that no one talks about. Everyone knows it. It’s kind of a “don’t ask, don’t tell” kind of thing—okay as long as it’s not mentioned or discussed. Quincy talks to the audience about this guy who tells him that if he ever needs to talk to someone, he is there.
Quincy wonders how the other guy knows and wonders if maybe [what he is going through] is just a phase, or maybe if he prays enough it will go away. He is trying to find out what options he has. Does he ignore it? Does he hide who he is? That is what a lot of people have to face.
What is the other show in repertory?
“Lillian Likes It,” written by Joshua Mikel and directed by Shannon Eubanks. It’s about people communicating on the Internet, about how people spend more time talking online than in person. It starts as a social comedy/ satire but gets more complicated and serious.
Your history includes a lot of LGBT themes in the work. ‘The 17th Annual Essential Theatre Festival’
July 24–August 23 The Essential Theatre at West End Performing Arts Center 945 Ralph David Abernathy Blvd, Atlanta, GA 30310 www.essentialtheatre.com
That is not part of an agenda. It’s because they are good plays. We are happy to do them. We’ve never not done a play because of what it’s about. Our main focus is to encourage and support playwrights.
Lemond Hayes (Darryl), Cheryl Evette Booker (Sister Marlow), Lydia Frempong (Juanita), Sundiata Rush (back, Reverend), Sharan C. Mansfield (front, Mama Gwen), Jimmica Collins (Siblie), James Gerard Smith (Quincy) (l-r) star in ‘The Old Ship of Zion.’ (Photo by Safaa Sammander)