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Second SMSU Theatre Production Explores Race, Power and History

Published Thursday, October 29, 2015

SMSU Theatre’s 2015-2016 season continues with the Minnesota premiere of We Are Proud to Present a Presentation about the Herero of Namibia, Formerly Known as South West Africa, From the German Südwestafrika, Between the Years 1884-1915, by Jackie Sibblies Drury.

Performances are November 16-18 and 20-21 at 7:30 pm, and November 22 at 2:00 pm. Though this production is part of the regular SMSU Theatre season, all performances will in the SMSU Black Box Theatre.

Tickets are available at and at the door. SMSU Theatre has reduced ticket prices to make productions accessible to a wider audience; all tickets are now $10. Admission to any performance is free for SMSU students with a valid student ID. Seating is limited.

We are Proud to Present… premiered in Chicago and New York in 2012, and has since been produced around the country and the world, but this will be its first production in Minnesota. This powerful, energetic, and surprisingly funny play takes the audience inside a rehearsal and performance as a group of young actors — three black and three white — strive to tell the story of the first documented genocide of the 20th century, the German genocide of the Herero people in what is now known as Namibia. As the actors work together to create their presentation, their own biases and preconceptions come to light, driving them to confront challenging questions and re-evaluate the way they see the world, history, themselves and each other.

We Are Proud to Present… is directed by Associate Professor of Theatre Nadine Purvis Schmidt of Estelline, S.D., who is also the producer. Assistant Professor of Theatre and SMSU Theatre Arts alumnus Mike Lenz of Cottonwood, Minn. is the scenic, lighting, and sound designer and the technical director. Payton Shively, a junior Theatre Arts major from Council Bluffs, Iowa, is the costume designer and also the publicity manager. Turi Jystad, a senior Theatre Arts and Communication Studies double major from Zumbrota, Minn., is the stage manager. The cast and major crew include:

  • Ben Broze, a freshman Agricultural Education-Communications and Political Science double major from Mankato, Minn., as Actor 3/Another White Man.
  • Seth Lewis, a senior Psychology major from Sioux Falls, S.D., as Actor 4/Another Black Man.
  • Datrice Mulsumo, a freshman Exercise Science major from Champlin, Minn., as Actor 2/Black Man.
  • Illana Peter, a freshman Music Education major from Tyler, Minn., as Actor 5/Sarah.
  • Cole Scheller, a Junior Communication Studies major from Eagan, Minn., as Actor 1/White Man.
  • Danisha Williams, a junior Early Childhood Education major from Chicago, Ill., as Actor 6/Black Woman.
  • Morgan Benson, a freshman Theatre Arts major from Tracy, Minn., is the understudy for Actor 5.
  • Emmanuel Giwa, a sophomore Finance major from Maple Grove, Minn., is the understudy for Actors 2 and 4.
  • Kevin Huizenga, a freshman Theatre Arts and Music double major from Brandon, S.D., is the understudy for Actors 1 and 3.
  • Ellen Padmore, a sophomore Exercise Science major from Brooklyn Center, Minn., is the understudy for Actor 6.
  • Joel Gay, a junior Theatre Arts major from Lake City, Minn., is the props master.
  • Anna Polak, a sophomore Early Childhood Education major from Redwood Falls, Minn., is the assistant stage manager.
  • Stephanie Asfeld, a junior Accounting major from Bertha, Minn., is the house manager.    

For more information, please call the Theatre Office at (507) 537-7103.

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