Arts and Entertainment

‘Blood at the Root’ curtain rises at noon Friday

Touring stage production stops at campus

The curtain rises for the stage production “Blood at the Root,” at noon Friday, Feb. 7, in Penn State New Kensington's Forum Theatre.

Commissioned by the Penn State School of Theatre, the play was written by Dominique Morisseau, a playwright and actress, and directed by Steve Broadnax, associate professor of theatre and head of the Graduate Acting program at Penn State University Park. The drama was inspired by the Jena Six, a group of black teenagers convicted in the beating of a white student at Jena High School in Jena, La.

The six were charged with attempted murder for a schoolyard fight after nooses were hung from a large tree in the center of the school courtyard. The tree was referred to by students as the "white tree.”

The conviction of the Jena Six was cited as an example of racial injustice in the United States, due to a belief that the defendants had been charged with too-serious offenses and had been treated unfairly. Morisseau’s play examines the miscarriage of justice, racial double standards, and the crisis in relations between men and women of all classes and, as a result, the shattering state of black family life.

The company will perform at campuses throughout the Penn State system in the spring before the premier March 28 at the Downtown Theatre in State College. The nine-day run will be followed by an international tour in the summer, beginning in June at the Market Theatre in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The play is free to the public. For more information on the New Kensington campus stop, contact the Student Affairs office at 724-334-6063.

For more about the play, visit Facebook,

For more about the opening in State College, visit

Credit: Penn StateCreative Commons

Last Updated February 05, 2014