Little Theatre of Norfolk Presents #WhileBlack by Award-Winning Virginia Playwright Kayla Scott
Updated: Dec 5, 2020
Words and images courtesy of the Little Theatre of Norfolk.
Little Theatre of Norfolk kicks off their Season 94 educational workshop series with a virtual performance of #WhileBlack from a young Virginia talent, Kayla Scott. The Charlottesville, Monticello High School graduate won a statewide competition for her work which she wrote two years ago at only 17 years old. Even at a young age, Scott wanted to turn her personal experience dealing with racial profiling and gentrification into something positive to help bring the community together and encourage change.
Scott says as a young black female living in a predominately white environment, and suffering a severe skin condition, she felt judged almost her entire life. She found theatre was a way to escape reality, and writing the play enable her to speak her truth without judgement. “#WhileBlack is my heart, all of my tears and pain poured into a form of artwork,” she explains. “I, like many other people of color, live the story #WhileBlack, on a daily basis. What I want people to understand is that we are more than just the complexion of our skin and the texture of our hair. We are intelligent, dedicated, go-getters, and more. We are so much more than what you may see on the outside.”
The play focuses on three black teens who experience racial profiling within an upscale café shop. Towards the end, a secret is revealed about the true identity of one of the black teens. “This play is to inform and educate people to see past the first layer and begin to see what’s truly inside, said Scott. “Also, this play is to explain how careless, ignorant actions, such as making false police reports, can be deadly for a person of color.”
Chesapeake resident Brielle Farrow plays one of the teens, Heather. She says, “This topic may be difficult for some, but it is necessary to be discussed in bringing forth the message that indeed, black lives matter.”
This will be only the fifth time #WhileBlack has been performed in Virginia. Scott’s goal is to have groups perform it across the United States and internationally because racial inequality and gentrification does not just occur in Virginia. “The true purpose of #WhileBlack is to spark a conversation, leading to a change,” said Scott. “If you are willing to watch this play, you have to come with an open mindset. This play is real, authentic, and it’s the truth of what people of color experience. It may hit a nerve with some, however, when nerve is struck, a conversation is sparked.” Little Theatre of Norfolk will facilitate such discussion in a talkback with Scott immediately following the performance.
The #WhileBlack performance and talkback is only on Saturday, October 24 from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. It is offered free with registration available at ltnonline.org. Registrants will receive a Zoom link to watch both the show and the talkback. The program is presented by the Little Theatre of Norfolk education committee in partnership with Booker T. Washington High School.
About Little Theatre of Norfolk
Little Theatre of Norfolk is a volunteer led, non-profit community theatre, continually operating since 1926. It is located at 801 Claremont Avenue in the Chelsea neighborhood of Norfolk. Free parking is available in the lots behind the building and across the street. Information about upcoming performances, auditions, workshops, and volunteer opportunities can be found at www.ltnonline.org.