Tue. Mar 5th, 2024

Play About African American Sitcoms Coming to Marion High School

By Colin Wood Feb 13, 2024

On Feb. 24 at 7 p.m. the annual black history month play will take place on the main stage at the Walton Performing Arts Center at Marion High School.

Directed by MHS teacher, Bobbie Owensby, the annual play has been going on for over 40 years.

“My students, the students in probably 1979 notice that there were they very limited things that African American students could get involved in at Marion High School at that time. And so, the students came to me and asked. They noticed other performances on stage, but none of our students were involved, and they said, can we do a play,” Owensby said.

This year’s play is entitled “Sitcoms: A Walk in the Past” and features scenes from African American television shows “Amos and Andy,” “Sanford and Son,” “The Cosby’s,” “A Different World,” and “the Carmichaels.”

“We decided we sort of give our audience a little history about blacks on TV. Sitcoms that blacks got involved in,” Owensby said.

While it may seem random, this play is about much more than just sitcoms.

“We’re going to show the progression of how blacks went from being portrayed as being lazy, unemployed, maybe uneducated, and we’re going to end with other shows we’re going to do from Sanford and Son, we’re going to go to a Cosby Show, which you’re showing that that progression. Or transitioning from the earlier things mentioned to the father than a doctor and the mother, so professional people,” Owensby said.

One of the directors, Kimberly A. Queen-Townsend, is a retired teacher who taught 41 years in Marion schools.

“What means to me the most is that we are encouraging our students to learn about the history of
people of color in our in our United States,” Queen-Townsend said.

Actress Jazleen Roby spoke on some of the things that she hopes the audience takes away from watching the play.

“It is not just about black history. It’s not just about black people. It’s about a whole like, it’s about people doing what they wanted to do and how they wanted to be and make history on television considering that you used to, didn’t see a lot of black people on television,” Roby said.

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