DeNobriga returns to Temple Theatre

Jan. 17, 2014 @ 08:58 PM

After more than 25 years, former Temple Theatre Artistic Director Kathie deNobriga has returned to Sanford as the director of the Temple’s recent production “Black Pearl Sings!”

The show opened this week and will continue each weekend through Feb. 2.   

“I really want people to see the show,” deNobriga said. “I am hoping lots will come see it because it encourages the theatre to do serious work. And [I want them] to come and see me.”

DeNobriga was originally employed by Lee County Parks and Recreation to oversee the Footlight Players before ultimately becoming the Temple’s director in 1984.

“This is the 30th year for the Temple, a celebration,” deNobriga said. “They are inviting former staff members to come back,    and I was contacted out of the blue. And for me, I love being able to do that.”DeNorbiga is now the mayor of Pine Lake, Ga., and said being back in Sanford has been a delight.

The play is scheduled to be performed at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday through Feb. 2 at the Temple Theatre, located at 120 Carthage St. Admission is $23 for all shows except for the 7 p.m. Thursday show, which is $19.

According to the Temple website, the musical features “beautiful a cappella renditions of little-known American folk songs” and “chronicles a powerful story about ... fighting for one’s soul in a world where anyone can be a commodity.”

The story is set in the 1930s as Susannah, a white woman from a privileged New York family, travels the South recording folk songs and indigenous music. She knows she’s found something special when she hears Pearl singing in a Texas high-security lockup.

“She wants the songs, but Pearl needs something from her in return,” according to the Temple website. “As the two negotiate an exchange, their friendship grows. Susannah bargains for Pearl’s parole and arranges for several public performances. Soon, though, the two women soon find themselves walking a delicate line between exposure and exploitation.”

“The play resonates on many levels because of the underlying themes,” said Temple Theatre Producing Artistic Director Peggy Taphorn. “About friendship, about being a woman in a man’s world, about being black in a white world.”

It’s something, she said, everyone can relate to because, at one point, everybody has been considered “the other” in the room.

“It’s a piece for all ages,” Taphorn said. “… It’s also educational. I encourage people to come in their generations because it talks about history in a way we can all relate.”