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In ‘Jump’ A Family Drama Gets A Dash Of Whimsy

Shanelle Nicole Leonard and April Mae Davis to star in 'Jump.'
Courtesy of HuthPhoto
Shanelle Nicole Leonard and April Mae Davis to star in 'Jump.'

The latest play on stage from Playmakers Repertory Company in Chapel Hill is centered on the topics of suicide, grief and depression, yet playwright Charly Evon Simpson still threads theatrical whimsy and humor throughout the production. Simpson draws from her background in social work to create characters who are honest and funny despite the grief they are experiencing, like the protagonist Fay. 

Fay is an African-American woman who encounters a man considering suicide while walking on a bridge. At home, Fay’s family is going through a personal loss of its own, and the two characters strike a bond. As the story evolves, the play flirts with some magical realism: Fay’s surroundings seem to change based on how she is feeling, which allows the audience to get even closer to her internal dialogue.

Simpson joins host Frank Stasio to preview the production. They are also joined by director Whitney White and actors April Mae Davis and Adam Poole. “Jump” is on view from Jan. 23 to Feb. 10 at the Joan H. Gillings Center for Dramatic Art in Chapel Hill. 

Laura Pellicer is a digital reporter with WUNC’s small but intrepid digital news team.
Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.
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