University of Pittsburgh
March 13, 2007

Pitt's Kuntu Repertory Theatre to Present "Relativity" March 22-April 7

Panel discussion on the play's ethical issues precedes the March 29 performance

Sharon Blake


Cell: 412-277-6926

PITTSBURGH-Relativity-the story of a mother-daughter conflict over genetic research and social issues-will be performed by the University of Pittsburgh's Kuntu Repertory Theatre from March 22 to April 7 in the Seventh-Floor Auditorium of Alumni Hall, 4227 Fifth Ave., Oakland.

Performances are at 8 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays and 4 p.m. Sundays. Matinees are scheduled for 1 p.m. March 31 and 11 a.m. April 5. The March 29 performance will be preceded by a panel discussion with representatives of Pitt's Center for Minority Health and Graduate School of Public Health. A discussion on the play's ethical issues begins at

7 p.m.; curtain for this performance is at 8:30 p.m.

Relativity was the mainstage production at the 2006 Ensemble Studio Theatre/Sloan First Light Festival. Playwright Cassandra Medley and director Talvin Wilks-who also will direct the Kuntu production-both won an AUDELCO-August Wilson Award. The play is a thought-provoking drama that explores the dilemma faced by a young Black genetic researcher when her activist mother wants her to support a theory that Blacks are genetically superior to Whites. The mother heads an organization called the Philadelphia Melanin Foundation, whose members believe that people with more melanin in their skin are more highly advanced than others. The mother-daughter relationship is tested, as issues of race, identification, pride, and passion unfold.

Medley's other plays include "Ms. Mae," "Ma Rose," "Walking Women," "Dearborn Heights," "Maiden Lane," and "Noon Day Sun." She also is the author of several screenplays, including "Almost Famous" and "Sonny." She was a 1989 finalist for the Susan Smith Blackburn Award in Playwriting and won the 1990 National Endowment for the Arts Grant in Playwriting, the 1995 New Professional Theatre Award, and the 1995 Marilyn Simpson Award.

Wilks has cowritten seven productions in Ping Chong's ongoing series of "Undesirable Elements" and three collaborations with the Bebe Miller Company- "Going to the Wall," the Bessie Award-winning "Verge," and "Landing/Place." He served as interim artistic director for New World Theater at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and was a member of its theater arts faculty from 2002 to 2004.

This Kuntu season is being presented in partnership with Pitt's Center for Minority Health, part of the Graduate School of Public Health. _For ticket and group sales information, call 412-624-7298.