University of Pittsburgh
September 29, 2009

Pitt's Kuntu Repertory Theatre Opens 2009-10 Season Oct. 3

Season dedicated to the writers who influenced playwright Rob Penny

Sharon Blake


Cell: 412-277-6926

PITTSBURGH-Pitt's Kuntu Repertory Theatre launches its season Oct. 3 with two one-act plays-"Dutchman" and "The Slave"-both written by Amiri Baraka and directed by Vernell Lillie, Kuntu founder and artistic director. The two plays, presented on the same bill, will run through Oct. 10 in the Seventh-Floor Auditorium of Alumni Hall, 4227 Fifth Ave., Oakland.

Performances are Thursdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 4 p.m. A matinee is scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 8, at 11 a.m. and Saturday, Oct. 10, at 1 p.m.

Kuntu is dedicating this season to exploring works by playwrights who influenced the late Rob Penny, Kuntu's playwright-in-residence for many years and a Pitt associate professor of Africana studies. Penny passed away in 2003.

"Dutchman" examines the possibilities of interracial relationships through an encounter on a New York subway. The flirtation between the young man and woman evolves into a serious discussion of perceptions and stereotypes that ends in tragedy.

"The Slave" is a fable that looks at the revolution to overthrow the Euro-centered culture of the United States through the relationships of a divorced interracial couple and a new spouse, the ex-husband's former mentor.

Playing the male lead in both "Dutchman" and "The Slave" is Tyrone (Ijasneem) Johnson, a regular Kuntu performer. Pitt senior theater major Ruffin Prentiss makes his Kuntu debut as the husband in "The Slave." The leading female role in both "Dutchman" and "The Slave" is played by Stephanie Griffith, making her Pittsburgh stage debut. Pitt students will be extras in "Dutchman."

Admission is $20 for adults; $14 for Pitt staff and faculty; $13 for senior citizens, students, and children ages 4-18; and $5 for all Pitt students with a valid ID. Oct. 3 is Dollar Night for Pitt students. Groups of 10 or more receive 25 percent off the single ticket price. For more information, call 412-624-7298.