‘Separate and Equal’ to Preview in Tuscaloosa Before NYC Premiere

Photo of Seth Panitch
Seth Panitch

Before its big New York City premiere and month-long run at the award-winning 59E59 Theaters Sept. 5, West Alabama residents will get to preview The University of Alabama-created play, “Separate and Equal,” at the Marian Gallaway Theatre Aug. 28-31 at 7 p.m.

Separate and Equal is about a hypothetical basketball game between black and white teens in segregated Birmingham in 1951, which was illegal at the time. It explores what that meeting could have been like and reflects on current race relations.

The play was written by Seth Panitch, professor of acting and head of UA’s acting programs, and Dominic Yeager, UA assistant professor of theatre, who were awarded a $10,000 National Endowment of the Arts grant to produce the play.

Panitch developed it with Lawrence Jackson, a choreographer and UA assistant professor of dance.

“The audience will sit around the stage like they’re at an actual basketball game,” Panitch said. “The actors play a basketball game within the play. The basketball is done through music and dance to be more visceral and expressive.

“I’m using the movement of basketball to express how African Americans and whites have interacted over the past 50 years. So, it’s a play about communication and lack of communication through the lens of segregation.”

Panitch said he received help from the NAACP, professors and the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute in creating the play.

Tickets can be purchased at the box office.