Thomasville on Stage and Company (TOSAC) is hard at work preparing to stage its next production.
Next month, TOSAC will perform “A Raisin in the Sun” — Lorraine Hansberry’s beloved, award-winning play — to coincide with Black History Month.
“A Raisin in the Sun” portrays a few weeks in the life of the Youngers, an African-American family living on the south side of Chicago in the 1950s. When the play opens, the Youngers are about to receive an insurance check for $10,000. This money comes from the deceased Mr. Younger’s life insurance policy. Each adult member of the family has an idea what he or she would like to do with the money, but clash over their competing dreams.
For Melanie Harkness and Qasharah Dean — director and assistant director of “Raisin,” respectively — theater is actually a labor of love.
Harkness said, “I graduated from Valdosta State University with a degree in theater production, so I was used to theater in an academic setting. Moving to Thomasville and joining TOSAC has been a new educational adventure for me. Community theater is its own thing. Egos are non-existent, and you have people involved who are not getting paid or earning academic credits so the amazing effort they put forth is truly for the love of theater. It's a beautiful experience.”
Dean also is quite passionate about theater.
She said, “TOSAC has given me an outlet to express my passion for the theater arts. I was 12 when I first started with TOSAC — and I thought that I wanted to be an actress on stage. I do love to be the center of attention, but as I’ve grown older I’m understanding that my passion is for all aspects of theater. The feeling I get when a play begins with just words on a page which transforms into a visually palpable art form is beyond just passion. It’s almost like magic.”
“A Raisin in the Sun” is the second play of TOSAC’s 2013-14 season — following Agatha Christie’s “And Then There Were None.” Following “Raisin,” TOSAC will bring to the stage Rudyard Kipling’s “The Jungle Book” and Lewis Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland.”
Thomasville On Stage And Company Inc. was established in 1979. Tina Hughes placed an ad in the Times-Enterprise looking for people interested in developing a community theater in Thomasville.
The initial gathering of those interested in doing so —about 30 people — met at Thomas College chapel to share ideas and to dream. One of the people in attendance was Tina Cyphers, a woman as energetic as she was brilliant.
During the second meeting, the group of theater enthusiasts jointly decided to produce their first show — “The Curious Savage.” Almost immediately thereafter, auditions were held, and the cast was formed.
From the convergence of the two Tinas, TOSAC continues to dream and entertain citizens of Thomasville and Thomas County 35 years later.
TOSAC’s mission statement is simple and straightforward: “Thomasville On Stage And Company Inc., is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the enrichment of life for all persons in Thomas County and South Georgia by encouraging active participation in production and performance of live theater and encouraging attendance of the productions. Thomasville On Stage And Company Inc. is committed to, and pleased to, support artistic expression in our community.”
TOSAC’s staging of “A Raisin in the Sun” will be performed Feb. 21 and 22 at 8 p.m., Feb. 23 at 2 p.m., Feb. 28 and March 1 at 8 p.m. and March 2 at 2 p.m.
Thomasville On Stage And Company Inc. is at 117 S. Broad St.
Anyone who needs additional information about play showtimes or reservations, interested in auditioning for a minor role or seeking to volunteer backstage can call 229-226-0863 or visit TOSAC’s website: http://www.tosac.com.