UAlbany’s Black Theater Productions hits big in latest play
By AMBER SPENCER-KNOWLES
Every spring, the University at Albany’s Black Theater Productions presents a play that catches your attention from the plotline to the characters, all the way down to the overall message. This year of course was no different as they introduced their ninth and one-night only production titled “Who Do You Love?”, a ‘90s-themed romantic comedy about two best friends and an inevitable love triangle.
The play begins with two college-aged childhood friends Nia and Dwayne (played by Mimi Ciceron and Corey Reneau) bumping into each other for the first time since high school. As the two get ready to head to their separate dorms, Dwayne’s best friend and roommate Dre (Glyne Straker) becomes infatuated at first sight. Determined to win Nia over, Dre asks Dwayne if he could “put in a good word in” about him. Soon enough however, Dwayne realizes that he too has feelings for Nia. Before long, a love triangle ensues leaving friendships broken and a decision that needs to be made.
“Who Do You Love?” is full of humor and drama that is easy to grasp and has an overall feel-good energy.
“The fly girls set the mood for what just occurred or when something is about to happen,” said Kretel Krah, a UAlbany senior and dancer in the play.
One character, Terrence (McFredy Antoine) helps balance out the drama with his antics and larger than life persona.
“Terrence is more of a class clown. He jokes a lot and he doesn’t take everything so seriously. He brings more light and humor to every scene he’s in,” Antoine said of his role.
As the second act began, we are left with what used to be a friendship between Dwayne and Dre lost because of their collective adoration for Nia. Nia herself is upset at the situation while confiding in her best friend Shontae (Shevana Henry). Instead of giving advice, Shontae criticizes Nia for her actions and the two get into a disagreement of their own, making Nia believe that Shontae is jealous. Although in reality Shontae realizes something about herself that could alter their friendship completely.
Overall, “Who Do You Love?” gives a great message about choosing what’s best and realizing what is most important. The end of the play gave the rundown of it all through a rap over The Notorious B.I.G.’s “Hypnotize,” which of course plays on the ‘90s-feel of the production.
Founded in 2007, Black Theater Productions was created to bring culture to the campus through the art of theatre. Like any theater production, “Who Do You Love?” was a long-time process.
“Normally the script for the play is finished early September if not early October. The play is normally written over the summer by the [executive] board and then we cast either late September or early October,” said Destiny Anderson, senior and president of BTP.
Since production started back in October, actors, dancers and singers practiced for three days a week.
“Casting took about a week’s worth of auditions for acting, singing and dancing. Then we all meet after everyone leaves and we go through who we want for certain practice days, which also takes roughly a week,” Anderson said.
Anderson also added that writing the play took quite some time, as it is not just one person, but nine people writing the script. Even though the play was a success, there was still some room for nervousness.
“I’m a little nervous for the simple fact that BTP is an organization where once you’re in a play, most past members have been in a play at some point, whether it’s acting, singing, or dancing,” Anderson said. “Once you’ve been in a play you can come back to a play for free. So a lot of BTP alum from at least three years back are coming and that makes me nervous. It’s a little nerve-wracking because you never know just how well you’re doing.”
Fortunately, neither Anderson nor the rest of the cast had to worry as everything came together wonderfully.