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JU theater major taking “humorous” risk with racial stereotypes April 21

 By Phillip Milano

For Jacksonville University theater major Mya Brown, getting too heavy-handed when creating awareness of racial inequities and bias can sometimes risk losing an audience.

Jacksonville University theater major Mya Brown

Instead, she’s taking a different kind of risk, going out on a more playful note as she pokes a bit of fun at racial stereotypes in her Senior Showcase at 8 p.m. Saturday, April 21, in the Swisher Theatre on campus.

Brown, 33, an African-American mother of two finishing her Bachelors of Fine Arts, came back to theater after working for years in the salon business. She’s created a multimedia, three-part presentation featuring singing, film and live theater performance.

Some of the featured scenes in the third part of the showcase come from the play “The Colored Museum” by African American dramatist George C. Wolfe. It’s decidedly different from more standard dramatic pieces that shine a light on black oppression, such as “A Raisin in the Sun” or “For Colored Girls,” Brown noted.

Rather, Wolfe’s play is a sarcastic, humorous piece that pokes fun at some of the heavy-handedness of those types of plays, blowing up stereotypes and using caricatures to make its point. It overdramatizes the themes, she said.

“The third part, where we perform scenes from ‘The Colored Museum,’ it’s a funny take on serious issues. It’s not hitting them over the head with heavy drama,” she said. “I love making people laugh. What better way to make a point than to make them laugh and at the same time informing them? It’s hilarious.”

The entire showcase gives Brown a chance to express themes about her past and present, she said.

“I want to take the audience on a journey through my life after being a full-time mom and working full-time in a salon, then going back to school and stopping working. I also want to highlight and bring attention to the talents of African Americans in JU’s Fine Arts community.”

Brown isn’t stopping now that she’s getting her bachelors. She recently accepted an assistantship for the MFA Acting program at The University of Georgia.