Zora’s Tales is a play written by Deborah Asante, founder of Indianapolis’ Asante Children’s Theatre. As I watched these tales unfold, I began to see why these Asante wanted to bring them to the stage.
Zora was a real person- Zora Neale Hurston, to be exact. Zora was an author, anthropologist, folklorist and one of the most influential African-American writers of the twentieth century. The stage is set as the cast gives a few facts about Zora’s life, and transports the audience back in time to the early 1900s in Eatonville, FL, where Zora grew up. It was the nation’s first incorporated black township.
The show is an ensemble of songs and skits, with each cast member taking on several roles. Some tales are funny, some are heartwarming, and others heart-wrenching. All draw on Zora’s life experiences. I imagine audience member unfamiliar with Ms. Hurston’s work will be inspired as I was, to learn more of her life and the work she created.
There’s one performance left of Zora’s Tales for DivaFest 2016- it’s at 9pm on Saturday, April 9th. Appropriate for middle schoolers and older, this is an excellent introduction to both Zora’s work and Ms. Asante’s as well.
Tickets are available online- Zora’s Tales.