When: Thursday, April 20, at 7:30 p.m., Friday, April 21, at 5:00 p.m., and Saturday, April 22, at 2:00 p.m. & 7:30 p.m.
Where: Black Box Theatre, Schwartz Center for the Performing Arts
A thrilling family drama set in Tanzania, Life Sentence (Inhibited) begins when Baba Grace decides to marry off his eldest daughter, Grace, to a wealthy lawyer in a scheme to avoid jail time for tax evasion. Chaos ensues as the family struggles to guard secrets from one another.
Written and directed by Cornell Department of Performing and Media Arts (PMA) major Gloria Majule ’17, the play explores the themes of societal expectations of women, adultery, marriage, arts education, and homophobia. Majule cites A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry, Ruined by Lynn Nottage, and Eclipsed by Danai Gurira as influences, as well as the works of Tennessee Williams and Sam Shepard.
When asked what inspired her to write Life Sentence, Majule said, “I wanted to see more people that looked like me in TV, film, and theater who weren’t slaves or maids." Majule began writing the play her sophomore year, partly to protest the lack of opportunities for people of color in theater, but she says the play evolved into more than that.
Majule said the production process has been both challenging and rewarding, and she is grateful for her cast, designers, and assistant director Adriana Guzman ’18, as well as the PMA Department for the opportunity to produce the show and the assistance given throughout. Majule credits the support of her family and friends, as well as the feedback from her thesis committee, PMA assistant professors Austin Bunn and Aoise Stratford. Majule also thanks “[PMA associate professor] Sara Warner for telling me to write the play in the first place and for her unlimited support throughout.”
Majule hopes the play will shed light on the ways in which women are restricted by society in Tanzania and beyond. “Although the play is an exaggeration in some levels, within the hyperbole there lies truth.”
Performances of Life Sentence will take place on Thursday, April 20, at 7:30 p.m., Friday, April 21, at 5:00 p.m., and Saturday, April 22, at 2:00 p.m. & 7:30 p.m. in the Schwartz Center’s Black Box Theatre. Tickets are available for $5 at schwartztickets.com or at the Schwartz Center box office Tuesday–Saturday, 2:30 p.m.–8:00 p.m. The Schwartz Center for the Performing Arts is located at 430 College Avenue in Ithaca.
Julian Robison '20 is a communications assistant for the Department of Performing and Media Arts.