By Robbie Owens

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The buildings may be dark, but local artists continue to find ways to express their craft and connect our communities.

“I started getting inspiration to write this piece called ‘the black album: What It Means To Be Black In 2020’,” says Dallas theatre veteran, Regina Taylor, writing and directing the original work partnering with the SMU Meadows School of the Arts.

“Certainly, it hits me as I am seeing things come full circle, things I never thought I’d see again in my lifetime, coming back again, with a palpable feeling of fear, but at the same time seeing how things are being played out. How indomitable our spirits are that certainly we can survive. Not only survive, but thrive.”

Regina Taylor (CBS 11)

As part of the partnership, Taylor, also an award winning actress, will bring a three part series to the ‘virtual stage’. The final performance of the first installment “Resistance” begins at 8:00 p.m. on Thursday, Oct 29.

The performance is live and can be found online.

It’s free, but registration is required.

“We are storytellers– we are challenged to take in circumstances that surround, and filter it through our lens, and make sure people know that they are not alone on these journeys.”

So even in the midst of anxious times– the soul of the artist aches to speak. And Taylor stresses that those voices, are especially needed, now.

“When quarantine started and George Floyd and all these things being put on the news… I was feeling so discouraged that I felt like, there’s nothing I could do,” says SMU Meadows Sophomore Tharmella Nyahoza, who appears in the performance.

“It’s been tough,” says Victoria Cruz, a second year SMU Meadows graduate student. “It has been really tough for a craft that requires people, for the most part, you know.”

So beyond being star struck at the opportunity to work with Taylor, both students say they were eager to put their voices to work even virtually in “the black album 2020.”

“I wrote it because I wanted to inspire conversation,” says Taylor. “The necessary conversations that I think we should be having across the board.”

Taylor agrees that art has always served to nudge the nation’s conscience toward difficult conversations. “Yes, we can hear it through art. We can hear it in a different way and it’s not one voice that we speak in. How we bridge those voices and find common ground.”

The play, actors say, isn’t mean to exclude, but rather to showcase the shared humanity.

“I think that black is just the surface, you know, and that if you just look past that one thing that you’ll see yourself,” says Cruz. “This is how we feel. This is what we’re going through, and we’re offering it up to you to show our vulnerability–to show that we hurt too, that we laugh too, that we have pain and joy, you know, and that’s what kind of needs to bring us together not pull us apart.”

Nyahoza as well stressing that art should be a bridge.

“I want them to be able to go home and have conversations with their families, conversations with their friends, and peers about what they saw and what they want to do about that and what are they feeling,” says Nyahoza. “And what are they going to do about how they feel.”

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