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“The Color Purple” coming to PAISD

By Lorenzo Salinas

l.v.salinas@panews.com

 

“The Color Purple” is coming to Port Arthur Independent School District, courtesy of the folks at Port Arthur Memorial High School.

The epistolary novel by Alice Walker has been adapted into a movie and play, with both conveying varying degrees of the book’s weighty subject matter.

Theater arts director Henrietta Haynes said the school’s play would touch upon themes that affect everyone, not just women but men, too.

“I just love the show. It has heavy meaning and depicts domestic violence, but I don’t want to focus on that — I want to make people aware of the problem,” Haynes said.

“My hope is that if there’s a problem in your family, watching this will make you want to seek help.”

In an effort to reach out to its audience, Haynes said the show would have counselors and individuals on staff who could help audience members through counseling sessions or just obtaining more information through pamphlets.

“The Color Purple” has mature themes within its narrative such as racial discrimination, violence and sexual abuse. Haynes said the school’s production would allude to such weighty material but not graphically depict it.

“I plan to touch upon it but not go there,” she said. “We will only suggest it because there are kids involved.”

Haynes said the crew would “keep it clean” while at the same time giving audience members something to ruminate upon.

Turnout for auditions has been very well attended, to the point where Haynes and theater staff had to extend tryouts by an extra week.

“We ended up extending auditions… because we had so many people,” Haynes said. “We had about 70-something people try out.”

Haynes credited the Port Arthur school district for supporting them both financially and otherwise. In addition, she thanked choir director Lonnie Reed and the entire fine arts department for their continued support.

“The Color Purple” is scheduled to run at 7 p.m. on the weekends of Dec. 7 and 8 and Dec. 14 and 15. More information will be made available the closer the start date comes.