School of Communication


By Lydia Diamond
Based on the novel by Toni Morrison
Directed by Rives Collins

Jan. 27 - Feb. 5, 2012
8 p.m. Thu.-Sat.
2 p.m. Sun.

  • Summary
  • Theater
  • Meet the Cast
  • Post-Show

Adapted from Toni Morrison’s acclaimed debut novel by award-winning Northwestern alumna Lydia Diamond, The Bluest Eye asks the universal question, what is beauty?  Young Pecola has always yearned for the blue eyes that she believes will make her beautiful and ease her hardships in school, her neighborhood and even her own home.  Commissioned in 2005 through the Steppenwolf for Young Adults and the New Plays Initiative and directed by Northwestern faculty member and American Alliance for Theatre in Education President Rives Collins, The Bluest Eye is a powerful and poignant tale of the struggle to understand and embrace our own identities.

Behind-the-scenes interview with Rives Collins [pdf]


Josephine Louis Theater
20 Arts Circle Drive, Evanston (directions)

Rebecca Abara (“Mrs. Breedlove”)
Christabel Agyemang-Donkor (“Pecola”)
  Kenya Hall (“Claudia”)
  Kyra Jones (“Maureen Peel”)
  Jacqueline Maize (“Darlene”)
  Pernell Myers (“Soaphead/Daddy”)
Stone Pickney (“Cholly”)
  La Donna Smith (“Mama”)
Drew Tildon (“Freida”)


All performance of The Bluest Eye will include a post-show discussion led by acclaimed guest artists or award-winning Northwestern faculty and staff.  Members of the cast and creative team will participate in all discussions.  A schedule of post-show discussion leaders is included below.

Friday, Jan 27—Gloria Bond Clunie
Gloria Bond Clunie is a playwright, director and creative drama specialist. Produced works include NORTH STAR; DRIP; QUARK; SWEET WATER TASTE; SHOES; SECRETS; the musical SING, MALINDY, SING!; DREAMS; and an adaptation of Patricia McKissack’s award-winning book MIRANDY AND BROTHER WIND. Clunie is proud to be an original member of the Playwriting Ensemble at Victory Gardens Theater and founding Artistic Director of Fleetwood-Jourdain Theatre in Evanston where she directed more than 25 productions including CEREMONIES IN DARK OLD MEN, HOME, RAISIN and AIN’T MISBEHAVIN’. She received her BS and MFA in theater from Northwestern and currently lives in Evanston.

Saturday, Jan 28—Harvey Young, Jr.
Dr. Harvey Young is an award-winning author and an internationally recognized authority on African American culture and performing arts. He is the author of Embodying Black Experience: Stillness, Critical Memory, and the Black Body, winner of the 2011 Lilla A. Heston Award for Outstanding Scholarship; and coeditor of two books: Performance in the Borderlands (2011) and Reimagining A Raisin in the Sun: Four New Plays (forthcoming 2012). He has published more than three dozen essays/articles/chapters on African American culture. Dr. Young is a Vice President of the Association for Theatre in Higher Education and a past President of the Black Theatre Association.

Sunday Jan 29—E. Patrick Johnson
E. Patrick Johnson has published widely in the areas of race, class and gender, and performance. His first book, Appropriating Blackness: Performance and the Politics of Authenticity, published by Duke University Press in 2003, which dealt with cultural, social, and political battles over origin, ownership, circulation, and performance, won several awards. In addition to his published work, Johnson is also a performing artist. He toured his one-man show, "Strange Fruit", around the country between 1999 and 2004. He is currently touring, "Pouring Tea: Black Gay Men of the South Tell Their Tales," a solo performance based on the narratives in his book Sweet Tea. He is working on an anthology of black queer performance texts and researching queer sexuality and performance in the black church.

Thursday, Feb 2—Lydia Diamond
Lydia Diamond’s plays include:  Stick Fly (’10 Irne Award – Best Play, ’10 LA Critics Circle Awards, ’10 LA Garland Award – Playwriting, ’08 Susan S. Blackburn Finalist, ‘06 Black Theatre Alliance Award – Best Play), Voyeurs de Venus (’06 Joseph Jefferson Award – Best New Work, ‘06 BTAA – Best Writing), The Bluest Eye (’06 Black Arts Alliance Image Award – Best New Play, ‘08 AATE Distinguished Play Award), The Gift Horse (1st place Theadore Ward Prize, Kesselring Prize 2nd Place), Harriet Jacobs, Stage Black, and Lizzie Stranton.  Theatres include:  Broadway’s Cort Theatre, Arena Stage, Chicago Dramatists, Company One, Congo Square, Goodman Theatre, Hartford Stage, Huntington Theatre Co., Kansas City Rep, L.A. Theatre Works, Long Wharf, McCarter Theatre Co., MPAACT, New Vic, Playmakers Rep, Providence Black Rep, Steppenwolf, TrueColors, The Matrix, Lorraine Hansberry Theatre, Underground Railway Theatre, Actors Theatre of Louisville, and The Contemporary American Theatre Festival.  Lydia has been commissioned by: Steppenwolf, McCarter, Huntington, Actor’s Theatre of Louisville/Victory Gardens, Humana, Boston University, and Roundabout. Stick Fly and Harriet Jacobs are published by NU Press, Bluest Eye, Gift Horse, Stage Black  - Dramatic Publishing. Lydia was a 2004/2006 W.E.B. DuBois Institute non-resident Fellow, a 2007 TCG/NEA Playwright in Residence at Steppenwolf, an 06/07 Huntington Playwright Fellow, 2009 NEA/Arena Stage New Play Development Grant Finalist, is a TCG Board Member, and a Resident Playwright at Chicago Dramatists. Lydia is on faculty at Boston University.

Friday, Feb 3—Renee Redd
Renée Redd joined the Women’s Center at Northwestern University in May of 1994. She previously worked as Director of the Office of Women’s Affairs at the University of Illinois at Chicago from 1991 to 1994 and prior to that at UIC worked as a Staff Psychologist at the Counseling Center. Renée finished her doctoral studies in counseling psychology at the University of Iowa in 1989. She obtained her Bachelor of Arts degree majoring in psychology from the University of Iowa in 1981. Renée is a licensed psychologist who has special interests and training in women’s issues, career self-efficacy, sexual harassment, sexual assault, relationship violence and diversity issues. Her therapeutic orientation centers on trauma theory. Renée is an active member of the Campus Coalition on Sexual Violence at Northwestern University.  In 2011, Renée was a finalist for the Northwestern University Employee of the Year award.

Saturday, Feb 4—Charles Kellom
Charles Kellom is currently the Director for African American Student Affairs. Originally from Cincinnati, Ohio, he holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and a Master of Arts degree in English from the University of Dayton. After graduate school, Charles worked in Dayton’s Department of Residence Education as Area Coordinator for a first-year co-educational residence hall. He then assumed the position of Assistant Director for Black/African Heritage Student Affairs at George Mason University, where he also coordinated the Student Transition Empowerment Program (STEP), a five-week summer bridge program for first generation students.

Sunday, Feb 5—Sandra Richards
Dr. Sandra Richards is the professor of African-American Studies, Theatre, and Performance Studies at Northwestern University.  She has published numerous articles, among them "Writing the Absent Potential: Drama, Performance, and the Canon of African American Literature” in Andrew Parker and Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick’s edited volume,  Performance and Performativity, "Yoruba Gods on the American Stage: August Wilson's Joe Turner's Come and Gone, in Research in African Literatures, and "What Is To Be Remembered? Tourism to Ghana's Slave Castle-Dungeons," in Theatre Journal.  She teaches classes on African American Drama, the Harlem Renaissance, and black feminist theory. Her current research examines performances of memory at tourist sites in Africa.


January 2012
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February 2012
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    Opening Night: Post-Show Discussion

    Student Matinee at 10 a.m.

    Performance Date and Post-Show Discussion

Buy TicketsBuy Tickets
$25 general public
$22 seniors, NU faculty/staff, area educators
$10 full-time students
$5 Northwestern full-time students with advance purchase/$10 at Will Call

Student Matinee.  Tickets are $5 for full-time students and may be purchased by calling 847-491-7282.