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Say It Ain’t So, Joe Turner

Few artists have exposed the scars of slavery and revealed the hopes of African-Americans living in Northern cities quite like August Wilson. Now South Floridians can get a front seat to one of the playwright’s works. The M Ensemble, the only surviving black theater troupe in Florida, is tackling one of his lesser-known but more complex pieces, Joe Turner's Come and Gone. The play, set in a boarding house in 1911, is part of Wilson’s Pittsburgh Chronicles, a series of 10 works that recount black life in the industrial city.

The plot revolves around protagonist Herald Loomis, who worked several years on slave owner Joe Turner's chain gang doing hard labor, a backbreaking life that has created understandable issues for him. At age 32, Loomis is struggling to raise his daughter while searching for his wife, who was taken away for slave labor. The M Ensemble was founded in 1971 at the University of Miami. After roaming the city and occasionally settling in locations such as Liberty City, the troupe has a permanent home at The M Ensemble Studio, where you can catch performances of Wilson’s 11-character play now through December 21. Sunday’s matinee showtime is 3 p.m.
Nov. 20-Dec. 21, 2008


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