School Of Theatre’s ‘Blood At The Root’ Tackles Complexity Of Identity

Penn State’s School of Theatre is set to return to the stage with “Blood at the Root” on March 25 at the Pavilion Theatre.

Based on the real-life Jena Six, “Blood at the Root” follows six high school students whose high school is jolted when three nooses are left hanging on a well-known tree. In the aftermath, fights break out, both verbal and physical, while a once-tight-knit community begins to crumble.

As they face the unfolding events, characters are forced to grapple with their thoughts and feelings surrounding racism, individuality, nuance, identity, and the tension between objective fact and subjective experience.

“It all got roots,” one character says. “Way somebody choose not to sit next to somebody in the lunchroom — got roots. Way somebody got problems with the flag somebody else wear on they t-shirt — got roots. Way some people talk the way they talk or hang out with or who they love, or who they hate — all got roots.”

“Blood at the Root” originally made its world premiere at Penn State in 2014, and it’s directed by university professor Steve Broadnax III. Broadnax recently directed the play “Thoughts of a Colored Man” in its Broadway debut in October 2021.

The show runs for approximately 90 minutes without an intermission. Performances begin at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, March 25, but a Saturday matinee will also be performed at 2:30 p.m. on March 26. The final show will play on Saturday, April 2.

Priced at $25 for adults and $12.50 for students, tickets can be reserved online through Centre Stage’s website.

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About the Author

Sam Fremin

Sam is a senior from Ashburn, Virginia, majoring in journalism and political science & minoring in German and creative writing. He is a Dallas Cowboys fan who relishes the misery of Eagles fans. All hate messages can be sent to [email protected] or @SamFremin on Twitter.

He may or may not read every single comment he gets.

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