Augusta Mini Theatre is a community arts and life skills school located in Augusta, Ga. They are gearing up for its next production dedicated to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. This showcase is an annual production, but this year will highlight the work of James Brown., the late great music legend who called Augusta home. Here is what the playwright and owner of the Augusta Mini Theatre as well as two of his students had to say about the production (Karlton Clay, WJBF):
Now, you have a new production coming up called “The Man, The Message, The Music.” Can you tell us what this production is about?
Symphnie: I play the role of Johnetha, and I’m basically a friend of James Brown. And we gather at the Third World nightclub to remember him.
Monae: And I’m also a friend and supporter of James Brown. Johnetha, another character named Flash, and I go to the Third World nightclub to talk about him and remember him.
Mr. Butler, what is the importance of this production?
You heard one name there, and there’s a guy named Flash, which is named after Flash Gordon. Flash and I were very good friends, and I’m paying tribute to his name by having his name in the play. Also, Flash Gordon was a very close friend of James Brown anyway. The main thing is to pay tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr. It’s our Martin Luther King, Jr. show. Martin Luther King, Jr. stood for everybody to be treated equally and fairly and to be given a fair shot. And James Brown was the same. He said, “I don’t want anybody to give me nothing. Open up the door, and I’ll get it myself.” The teaching is in that; the same as Martin Luther King, Jr. We even say in this play that James Brown should’ve gotten the Nobel Peace Prize, and we talk about why because of the life he had coming up in Augusta and South Carolina from shining shoes to collecting coal from the railroad tracks just to raise enough money to pay $7 a month for the rent for the shack they had as a kid. That was rough. Can you imagine at 7 years old having to go out there even today with it raining to shine shoes?
So, why should people come and see “The Man, The Message, The Music?”
Monae: I think they should come see it because we’re paying tribute to James Brown, which I know before this show, I really didn’t know a lot about him. And just learning about him, I‘ve learned so much about life. So, I think they should come see it because of that. And it’s also very entertaining. It’s a good outing event for the family.
Symphine: Right, and we about to put on a show!
Mr. Butler: And when she says show, the first part of the play is the history of his life and what he went through. The next part is that the cast will be dancing as James Brown. They’re all James Browns. They’re five characters. And we have the original outfits that we received from James Brown’s entourage. They are really going to be dancing. In rehearsal, they’re like dead. (Laughs) And I push them hard like James Brown would’ve. And I told Symphine the other day, “James Brown the other day because you’re slacking.” But anyway, it’s a lot of fun! (Laughs)
“The Man, The Message, The Music” Show Times:
IJanuary 13th at 8 P.M.
January 14th-16th and 21st and 22nd at 3 PM.
In Person: 2548 Deans Bridge Road in Augusta, Ga 30906
Phone: (706) 722-0598
Cover Image Credit: Augusta Mini Theatre
Article Credit: Karlton Clay, WJBF