Thursday, February 12, 2015

Arts Insider Pick of the Week: EENIE MEANIE

Native Kentuckian Teresa Willis brings her acclaimed autobiographical show to Louisville for 12 performances. This solo performance piece is a white woman's touching and comedic look at conditioned racism within the well-meaning heart that is often deeply affecting for the audience.

EENIE MEANIE opens in Valley Station, Kentucky in 1965 as the 5-year-old Teresa is enchanted by the first black person she's ever encountered - a piano tuner. Her activist childhood during the civil rights movement shifts into stormy adolescence amid the politics and violence of forced busing in Louisville.  Interracial romance, the LA riots, police brutality and her own same-sex relationship illustrate her shifting attitudes toward race as she matures.  One vignette describes a biracial graduation in Cincinnati and the resultant conflict between cultures  and between Teresa and her aging parents. EENIE MEANIE also includes images and music from 40 years of American culture including Martin Luther King Jr's assassination, school integration, and the Rodney King verdict.
 "Though I've written only from my experience, people from all demographics have found themselves in this show." says Willis. Q & A sessions after performances are lively and often emotional.  "People cry sometimes. Racism is painful. We talk a lot about the anger, but there's always pain underneath.”
EENIE MEANIE, has garnered positive reviews from sold-out performances at home and abroad:

"...a bravura exploration of race relations presented with aplomb: funny, fast-moving, sharp, enlightening, and so specific it's universal."
Backstage East (New York, NY)

"Neither hero nor victim, her honest and at times hilariously shameless journey investigates many nuanced perspectives on racism, fear, guilt, love and solidarity..."
LA Theatre Review

"...a heart-warming and extremely relevant experience."
 The Daily Edition, Three Weeks (Edinburgh, Scotland)

"A self -described "civil rights kid," Willis is entirely candid about her own changing attitudes and presents them in a virtuoso performance of forthright skill that engages the audience in recognizing hard truths."
Keith Waits / Arts Louisville

When: February 13-March 1, various performances
Where: Bunbury Theatre Company in the Henry Clay Building, 604 S. Third St.
Tickets: General Admission $22, Seniors (ages 62 and over) $19, Student (under age 25) $10
Contact: 502.585.5306

-Gioia Patton

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