An inside look at Wedding Band, with insights from the director
This October, Penumbra Theatre’s newest production tells the story of interracial love in a small South Carolina town.
Director Lou Bellamy is bringing Alice Childress’ 1973 theatrical love story to the stage at Penumbra Theatre. “Wedding Band” tells the story of a black seamstress and a white baker as they try to navigate their relationship during the Jim Crow era in Charleston, South Carolina. Despite their love being unlawful, they choose to risk their lives for it.
“The play is set in 1918, yet the issues resonate in today’s society,” Bellamy says. Although the story is nearly one-hundred years old it is important for us to revisit what it was like to live in a society that was racially divided by law.
“Identity and its definition is at the base of all of it. Being identified as part of a race or culture often carries with it a host of stereotypes and assumptions,” Bellamy says. Those assumptions and stereotypes stem from centuries old sentiments that still linger throughout our society. While it may appear that we live in a time where you can openly embrace your African American heritage, the experiences and discrimination of those that came before us influence the ways in which we feel comfortable expressing aspects of our racial identities.
“Our history resonates and, in many ways, defines the shape and understanding of the future,” he says. Reflecting on how far we’ve come in our fight for racial equality, allows us to assess the amount of work that is yet to be done. Finding parallels between today and stories like Childress’ make us stop and think about the hidden truths embedded within our current society.
To experience this story of love and identity, see “Wedding Band” at Penumbra Theatre Oct. 17-Nov. 12. Tickets start at $15, and include a post-play discussion for select dates.