• Cristee Cook

NAT by Keith Price Offers a Poetic Perspective on Slavery and Freedom in SOUL-O-SHORTS

by Cristee Cook

Continuing their 25th anniversary season, Dallas’ Soul Rep Theatre is presenting SOUL-O-SHORTS, a filmed play series featuring 6, world premier, short solo performances. The project was created by a dynamic team of local playwrights, directors, dancers, and cinematographers, and explores the beauty and struggle of Black men, the gift of children and their imaginations, and even stories about notable historical figures: namely, James Baldwin, Zora Neale Hurston, Hattie McDaniel, and Nat Turner.

Dallas Art Beat will be featuring a short article highlighting the inspiration and process behind each piece in SOUL-O-SHORTS. This time, we spoke with Director Anyika McMillan-Herod about the poetic story NAT by Keith Price.

In NAT, actor Douglas Carter handles the poetic and emotional story of Nat Turner’s 1831 slave rebellion with eloquence and strength. The stormy setting and original music by Jamil Byron and Sheldon Wright complete the powerful piece. The story offers Turner’s perspective on life as a slave, how and why the uprising happened, and Turner’s hope for a future that is free of slavery. Price's emotional language brings a pertinent resonance to the historical event.

NAT Playwright Keith Price | Photo courtesy of Soul Rep Theatre Company

McMillan-Herod shared that she was inspired and excited to direct NAT because “I am a huge fan of Keith Price's work. He has long been Soul Rep's resident poet and ‘Shakespeare.’ His work is both raw and regal; profound and playful. I adore his use of language. When we decided to produce these solo shows and learned the topics of each, I jumped at the opportunity to direct NAT. Keith's artistry colors Nat Turner's story in such a powerful way and Douglas is always ready to stretch as an actor. Tackling this piece expanded all of us personally and professionally.”

On the relevance of the story for a 2021 virtual audience, she said: “Nat Turner's voice in a time when we are still reminding fellow citizens that Black Lives Matter is both haunting and relevant. To tell his story in this style - with Keith's language and Douglas' vulnerability and power - resonates.”


SOUL-O-SHORTS -- Written, Directed, and Performed by Soul Rep Theatre company members is streaming through May 31, 2021. For tickets, visit: https://www.showtix4u.com/event-details/51010.

View the trailer on Soul Rep Theatre's YouTube channel.

Follow Dallas Art Beat's interview series to learn more about all of the SOUL-O-SHORTS here: https://www.dallasartbeat.com/all-news/categories/series

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