University to hold one-woman play one night only

yamaro@mercedsunstar.comFebruary 7, 2013 

— A one-woman play coming to UC Merced explores the troubling issue of physical and sexual abuse.

The play tells the stories of six boys and men who have seen, suffered or committed such abuse, according to a news release.

Dael Orlandersmith wrote the play and will perform it. She's an actress, poet and playwright born and raised in New York.

Gail Benedict, producing manager of Arts UC Merced Presents, said "Black n Blue Boys" will only be a one-night show. The play has only been performed in two other places: Berkeley and Chicago, Benedict said.

Orlandersmith was surrounded by poverty and the issues that go with it as a black girl growing up New York, Benedict said. "The play is about the experience that surrounded her," she said.

Benedict said that during the play, the six different boys speak through Orlandersmith about their experiences. The actress later presents them as men.

The play is not suitable for children under 16 years of age because of the topic and language, Benedict said.

After the play, there will be a panel discussion with UC Merced faculty members and Orlandersmith.

The play explores dark themes, Benedict said, and that is why some of those participating in the panel discussion will be sociologists and psychologists. However, the play also "leaves you with some hope," she said.

"Part of Arts UC Merced Present's mission is to not just entertain people, but to educate them, enhance their lives, enlighten people," Benedict said. "This one definitely fulfills the mission of our program."

The university is reaching out to organizations in the community that deal with children or issues of violence or sexual violence, she said. "We are trying to get the word out to them," she said.

She said this is an amazing opportunity for people in the area to come and watch the play.

UC Merced was able to convince Orlandersmith to come to the campus through a UC Merced arts professor, Benedict said. The university is paying a minimal price for her appearance on campus and is covering her travel expenses.

Reporter Yesenia Amaro can be reached at (209) 385-2482, or

Black n Blue Boys

WHEN: Feb. 23 at 7:30 p.m.

WHERE: UC Merced's Lakireddy Auditorium

TICKETS: $15 adults, $10 students

CALL: (209) 228-4566

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