Holmes' play recounts courage of African American women

A Lady and a Woman, playwright Shirlene Holmes' critically acclaimed love story of two African-American women in the late 19th century, will be performed at Emory next month.

Sponsored by the Office of Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual Life, the play uses folklore and interlocking themes of spirituality and sexuality in the setting of a small southern town to tell the story of two women who find in each other the courage to begin a new life.

The production represents a reunion of sorts for director Carol Mitchell-Leon and Atlanta actresses Sondra Barrie and Brenda Porter. Mitchell-Leon directed Barrie and Porter in S.A.M.E.'s 1991 production of the play. Active in the Atlanta theater community for more than a decade as an actress, director and writer, Mitchell-Leon is theater director at Clark-Atlanta University and drama director of Douglass High School's Theatrical Project.

A Lady and a Woman will be performed in Cannon Chapel on Sept. 7 and 9 at 8 p.m. and on Sept. 10 at 2 p.m. Admission is $5 at the door only. Students will be admitted free. A reception will follow Sunday afternoon's performance.

Playwright Holmes will be on campus Sept. 7 and 8 for readings and guest lectures. She will read from her collection of short stories, The Cotsville Stories, on Sept. 7 at 4 p.m. in 220 Dobbs Center. The reading is open to the Emory community. An associate professor of communication at Georgia State University, Holmes has written more than 30 plays, most of which have been produced.

Co-sponsors for the production include Venus magazine, the African American Studies Program, the Department of Religion, the Creative Writing Program, the ILA, the Theater Studies Program, the Institute for Women's Studies and the Women's Center.