BY VALERIE VICTOR
The Black Spectrum Theatre in Queens, whose mission is to create theatre and film productions to target issues in the African-American community, has announced the opening of a new play “Timeless, The Mystery of the Dark Water.” Black Spectrum provides theatre, film, and performing arts to all of southeastern Queens and under served local communities.
The theatre is also well known for highlighting emerging African-American directors, playwrights, performers, and designers. The new play opens Oct. 23 and show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets for the event are $25. The show will be held at the theatre’s headquarters located on 177th St. and Baisley Blvd. in St. Albans.
“This theatre gives us the opportunity to work on our craft. I’m always grateful to hit the boards here, and I’m glad to see that it’s still around because a lot of theatres like this haven’t lasted,” said actress Lisa Roxanne Walters.
Although many of the previous plays have focused on social issues, the new play has a different approach.
“To me it’s a typical of the more social implication type of piece like other plays I’ve done at Black Spectrum and other productions that are done here,” Walters said. “They’re important and great, but sometimes it wonderful to just hear a story that might make you think about something. Community theatres need to bring that element into the community as well.”
Black Spectrum was established in 1970 said the theatre company’s founder and chief executive Carl Clay. The St. Albans native has presented numerous plays that focus on topics like obesity, the healing zone, history, life and many other topics that spark public debate.
“We use a wide range of wavelengths to communicate with the community, and that’s the Spectrum,” Clay said.
Many of the cast members and production staff are excited about the play’s opening day on Oct. 23rd because this time Clay is also the playwright.
“Even though I am the founder of Black Spectrum, I am still an artist at heart, and I don’t get to do this often,” Clay said. “I love what I do, writing the play, and producing. It’s like my fuel, it’s my battery.”
Clay was inspired to write this play because of research, reading, and an experience he had with people who have past life regression. He has completed over 30 films, 350 plays and concerts, and has written over 15 plays to date.
“Carl Clay is still pumping it out and I think that is most rewarding, to be able to be a part of that,” Walters said.
In organizing the play, the production team faced a few challenges with scheduling, casting, and reworking the set in preparation for opening night.
“There’s always challenges, we are fortunate enough to have a few people helping with this show,” Clay said.
The production team consists of director Bette Howard, the head of music is Onaje Allan Gumbs, and the technical director, sound and visual producer, is Derek Galloway.
“This is our bread and butter, this is what created everything, it’s doing plays. We have concerts in here and we do a lot of different things related to entertainment, but this is what really brought us this far, and that’s theatre,” Galloway said.
People are encouraged to come to see the new play because it is different from most of the plays the theatre has produced.
“This play raises a lot of questions and people can walk away reflecting on their lives and experiences that need more investigation,” Clay said. “I think it’s a different and interesting angle. It will be nurturing, funny, informative and inspiring.”
Clay looks forward to a full house and a great audience.
“When I see people enjoy the show, that is my reward,” he added.
Also published in the Times Ledger Newspaper.