A young African girl living in the 1800s is taken into slavery after her village is destroyed. Brought to America, she becomes the companion of the slave owner’s wife. Violence follows and the girl and the wife run away after the girl kills the abusive plantation master.
In Daughters of the Moon by playwright Reginald Edmund, matters of race, gender, politics and history all combine for a thrilling, thoughtful plot.
Timothy Eric, who serves as the director of Fifth Ward's historic The DeLUXE Theater (now leased and managed by Texas Southern University), is directing this play after earlier directing a reading of it at the MATCH. He says they thought it was the perfect premiere for them to do as a fund-raiser for theater student scholarships.
“It’s a really neat allegory of our time here together in this country, in this history of the African slave trade. The two have a tenuous relationship because of the obvious," Eric says. "The little girl never speaks while she’s in the house until they’re out in the woods together she learns that she can indeed speak. The two learn self sacrifice and forgiveness and survival trumps all of it.
“They travel from Biloxi, Mississippi to Ohio because the wife feels compelled to try to get her to freedom because she feels responsible for the situation,” he adds.
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The production, sponsored by the TSU Players Alumni Association, is also designed to couple college students with professional actors. Detria Ward (winner of the Best Actress Houston Theater Award in 2013) plays a pivotal role as an African goddess who leads the two as they run to the North. Costuming is by Toni Whitaker and make-up by Roenia Thompson.
Eric, who is also an actor in Houston (most recently seen at Ensemble, Main Street and Stages Repertory Theatre) also points out that Edmund, a resident playwright of Chicago Dramatists, is originally from Houston. Daughter of the Moon is part of Edmund’s City of the Bayou collection. His play Southbridge won him the Southern Playwrights’ Competition in 2013. He is also managing curating producter of the Black Lives, Black Words International Project, which was inspired by #blacklivesmatter.
The play, Eric says, asks really important questions “about how do you go forward from here? It’s two people trying to figure out how to make do with what is.”
Performances are scheduled for May 18-21 with a preview performance on May 17. 7:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday. The DeLUXE Theater, 3303 Lyons. For information, call 713-581-4846 or visit thedeluxetheater.tix.com. $10 Students and $15 Adult.