WASHINGTON, PA (May 2, 2017) – Washington & Jefferson College (W&J) senior Ty Greenwood ’17 will make his writing and directorial debut at Olin Fine Arts Center this week when his new play, This Kind of HATE opens May 3.
The play, which Greenwood wrote for his senior capstone and is producing for his Honors Project, examines race relations, instances of police brutality against African-American males, and how these issues are portrayed in the media. The play is a year in the making, but is influenced by a lifetime of experiences and conversations Greenwood has encountered, discussed, or seen on the news.
“For me, a lot of [the play] has to do with my identity being a black man here in America. I can’t help but think how these recent events [of police brutality] affect me. It does cause a certain fear. The play is a narrative that shows, from my perspective, how I’m thinking about the subject matter and how it has impacted my life,” Greenwood said.
This Kind of HATE opens May 3 at 5:30 p.m., and runs May 4-5 at 6 p.m. in Olin Fine Arts Center Room 102. Following the May 4-5 performances, W&J Assistant Director of Inclusive Campus Engagement Quatez Scott will lead an audience discussion with Greenwood and the cast members. Performances are free and open to the public. Due to strong language and mature content, the show is not recommended for audience members younger than age 14.
Greenwood’s experience with the media was also an influence for this play. He served as an apprentice in the television news department at KDKA in Pittsburgh, Pa. from 2013 until this spring, where he wrote anchor packages and worked on Pittsburgh Today Live. Before working with KDKA, he interned with Pittsburgh Black Media Federation. Last summer, he won an award from The Emma Bowen Foundation: The Emma for Ubuntu, awarded to students who show a sense of community and togetherness in their work.
He put his reporting skills to work while writing This Kind of HATE, interviewing local police officers and their families, and doing research based on his own work with journalists. He hopes the play will inspire conversation on campus and in the community.
“I think I want [audiences] to realize that the kind of things that happen in my play can and do actually happen, but I want it to spark a lot of conversation past the performance,” he said. “I want people to go back to it, not just at the talk-back but later, and talk about how we can change the rhetoric.”
Greenwood’s advisor, Communication Arts Professor Bill Cameron, said he was listening to Greenwood’s radio show on WJNR, the campus radio station, a few years ago, when a segment caught his attention. Greenwood and another student were discussing racial relations on campus. It was engaging radio, Cameron said, but more than that he thought it was insightful social commentary on a mature and sophisticated level.
“This is when it occurred to me that Ty had something extraordinary to offer this campus. The work that he’s done since then—as student, artist, and advocate—has made a significant impact at W&J,” Cameron said. “With This Kind of HATE, Ty is combining artistry and activism to continue the conversation that he started on WNJR a few years back. In my time at W&J, I can think of no other student whose influence has been so keenly felt across the culture of the institution.”
This isn’t the first time Greenwood’s influence has resulted in a stage production at the College. Last year, Greenwood and several other W&J students worked with Cameron as he wrote Intersect, which was staged in April 2016. Intersect explores the lives of characters from diverse backgrounds who find themselves caught up in ongoing struggles to achieve, to get ahead, or to simply belong.
To write the play, Cameron interviewed W&J students from diverse backgrounds about their childhoods, families, and their education at W&J and elsewhere. He encouraged them to tell their stories about ways in which they were both disadvantaged and empowered by their diverse backgrounds. One goal of that play, as with This Kind of HATE, is to continue a conversation about diversity both on campus and in the greater community.
“I think there are people who will disagree with my interpretation of the play’s subject matter, and I welcome that,” Greenwood said. “I want people to disagree and I want people to talk about my experience and their experience, and understand what is true for each of us. I hope people will go in with an open mind and be willing to talk about that. I hope people come to realize a new perspective after they’ve thought about something one way for so long.”
Ty Greenwood is a Communication Arts major with an emphasis in Rhetoric. Following graduation, he will attend Miami University of Ohio, for a Master of Arts in Performance, Theatre, and Practice.
About Washington & Jefferson College
Washington & Jefferson College, located in Washington, Pa., is a selective liberal arts college founded in 1781. Committed to providing each of its students with the highest-quality undergraduate education available, W&J offers a traditional arts and sciences curriculum emphasizing interdisciplinary study and independent study work. For more information about W&J, visit www.washjeff.edu, or call 888-W-AND-JAY.
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