Friday, February 5, 2016

Head of Ernest J. Gaines Center Discusses ‘A Lesson Before Dying’

Ernest Gaines Expert to Lead Audience Discussion
Following SLT performance of ‘A Lesson Before Dying’

The stage adaptation of Ernest Gaines’ critically-acclaimed novel, “A Lesson Before Dying,” makes its dramatic Northshore debut in Slidell Little Theatre’s retelling of a devastatingly powerful story that still resonates today.

Cheylon Woods
Ernest Gaines discussion set for March 6, 2016
(Photo courtesy Ernest J. Gaines Center)
Onstage March 4 – 20, “A Lesson Before Dying” tells the story of Jefferson, a young, black man in backwoods Louisiana in 1948, wrongfully accused and convicted of murder of a white man, and sentenced to death by electrocution.

Following the performance on March 6, Cheylon Woods, director of the Ernest J. Gaines Center at University of Louisiana at Lafayette, will lead a discussion about the story’s relevance today and offer additional insight into Ernest Gaines the author.

Ernest J. Gaines, born in 1933 on a plantation in Pointe Coupee Parish near New Roads, La., is professor emeritus at ULL. His novel, “A Lesson Before Dying” won the 1993 National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction and is regularly included in high school English classes. In addition, his novel, “The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman,” is recognized as a classic in 20th century American literature.
Ernest J. Gaines
(Photo by Joseph Sanford)
Courtesy Ernest J. Gaines Center

Performances of Slidell Little Theatre’s production of “A Lesson Before Dying” are weekends, March 4 – 20. Curtains rise 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and at 2 p.m. on Sundays. Slidell Little Theatre is also unveiling a new website that replaces the reservation system and allows audiences to purchase tickets and select their seats online. Tickets go on sale February 19 and can be purchased online at www.slidelllittletheatre.org. Admission is $16 for adults and $8 for students. There is no cost to attend the discussion on March 6, led by Cheylon Woods of the Ernest J. Gaines Center.


“A Lesson Before Dying” was adapted for the stage by Romulus Linney and is presented by special arrangement with Dramatists Play Service. Slidell Little Theatre’s production is directed by Will Williams and produced by Marcello Barbaro.

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