When the varsity theater organization at Bowie State College was formed as a summer theater company in August 1979, the members named it the S. Randolph Edmunds Players.
Edmonds is known nationally as "the dean of black theater," having organized numerous dramatic associations in predominantly black colleges over a period of more than 40 years.
Last month, the group performed black poet and playwright James Baldwin's "The Amen Corner" in the school's Martin Luther King Auditorium. Few college theater groups enjoy such excellent facilities as those of the auditorium, which is flexible enough to permit the central placement of four sound screens to increase seating capacity and improve audibility.
The front of R. Paul Thompson's two-level 1950s set served as Sister Margaret's Holiness Temple, and the stage-left segment was a kitchen and bedroom. This practical design provided a good visual contrast to H.D. Flower's endearing direction of a three-act drama interlaced with gospel song's and biting humor.
Cheryl Carey portrayed Sister Margaret Alexander, a minister whose past and present became too much for her to bear, shaking the foundations of her faith. Carey either clapped or wrung her hands with consistent style, but Baldwin's pallid work failed to give her anything profound to reveal from her exaggerated tribulations.
Notable contributions of Nate Bynum as Luke, the husband who returns home after a long absence to die; Tony Wells as David, the son, who discovers nonspiritual longings, and Alkicia Long as Odessa, often Margaret's only defender, propped up an otherwise-saggy script.
A children's participation play, "Alladin," is the next production scheduled at Bowie. It opens Sunday with shows at 3 and 6 p.m. and another show on Monday at 7 p.m. For ticket information and directions, call Cynthia Ferguson at 464-3258.