Berea theatre takes on a 'summer of hate'

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William Shakespeare coined, "All the world's a stage," and tonight in Berea, the phrase may never be more true.

"[This play focuses on] Issues of equality, fairness, and hate crimes," described the play's author, Silas House.

"[These topics come] straight from the headlines to the stage," Director Adanma Onyedike Barton added these are headlines that just happened months ago.

House, who wrote the play "This is My Heart for You," based on many headlines from Kentucky in 2011. He found specific incidences like a gay couple being removed from a public pool in Hazard, an interracial couple being harassed in Berea, and so many more stories that featured hatred and discrimination.

"There were so many hate-fueled things that happened that I did start to think of it as a, "Summer of Hate," said House of his research, adding that the direction of the play is to "take issues that are really hard to talk about and make them digestible."

Barton says this style of play writing is new and inspiring, adding that the audience may not be ready for it.

While the student-actors say they haven't been apart of production quite like this, they say it is a topic they can easily embrace.

"This play has such a good meaning to it, that you just want to make sure that you're giving everything it's due," said Corey Lewis, one of the lead actors in the production.

"I'm really passionate about this topic," chimed in co-star Will Bain, "a lot of the things that have happened here [in the play] have happened in my life.

House, Barton, and the cast hope this play will spark a strong dialogue about equality and fairness.

"The message is clear that if we can all accept each other and try not to judge each other, that we'll all be a lot happier," said House.

"My favorite line from the play is "Acceptance and love are the same thing. You can't have one without the other," added Barton.

The production goes a step further, after the final curtain, the room will be opened up and the audience is invited to openly speak about the topics with the writer, director, and cast.

While House and the others are hoping for a positive reaction, they have asked for security to be on hand for safety.

The play will continue with shows at 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, tickets are available on campus, and the theatre says the tickets are selling fast.

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