- Posted September 21, 2013 by
Race, Family and Down Syndrome Under the Big Lights
Interview by Leroy Moore, Krip-Hop Nation
Krip-Hop Nation: This is the first time Krip-Hop Nation has had a chance to talk about a play on Down syndrome starring an all-Black cast. Tell us why do you think people need to see “Then You Stand”?
Yvonne Pierre: First, thank you for taking the time and interest to interview me about “Then You Stand.” I personally believe everyone will take something different away from this production whether they have a child with special needs or not. What I hope people walk away with is the feeling that no matter what they face in life, they can and will rise above it. There’s always a bigger plan and in the midst of that we must stand.
My youngest of two sons was diagnosed with Down syndrome. I’ve been advocating through projects for over seven years. Although it’s an all-Black cast, this is a production that anyone will be able to relate to.
KHN: This is your first play. Tell us how you got into this field and will you do other plays in the future?
Yvonne Pierre: Several years ago, I met a woman named Glenifer Wade during a time when I was working on a documentary. Prior to meeting her, I studied script writing for several years. She had a local TV show called “Extraordinary People” here in Atlanta, Georgia. We became very close friends and would work on each other’s projects.
She was very passionate about her show, as well as poetry and stage plays. During that time, my passion and focus was on developing films and books. This was around 2006, and I was in the process of working on a production that included dance, singing and speakers on the topic of Down syndrome. I began to work with her on a stage play and helped her develop a working script.
She was impressed with my work and encouraged me to do my own play after we finished hers. As I began to help her produce and direct her production, the bug bit me. In March of 2011, while we were preparing to produce her play, Glenifer passed away. Several months after her death, the inspiration to do “Then You Stand” came to me and I immediately began to develop this vision and put it into motion. I loved it. Will I do more in the future? Although I don’t have anything planned right now, I absolutely plan to do more productions in the future.
KHN: “Then You Stand” has music in between scenes. Tell us the reason why you added live music and how did it fit with the story?
Yvonne Pierre: I love the power of stories, music and dance and find them to be the most powerful forms of expression. The intention was to have each performance extend the emotion of the scene. For example, in the first scene of “Then You Stand,” the main character, Mona, finds out that her unborn child has Down syndrome. The Master’s Mime then dances after the scene, performing to the Yolanda Adams song “Open My Heart.” The dance and music carries out the emotions expressed in each scene.
KHN: I know you are a mother of a son who has Down syndrome; however, did you work with people with Down syndrome in creating this play. If not, have you or will you work with people with disabilities on the stage?
There's more, continue reading at https://www.facebook.com/notes/have-ya-heard/race-family-and-down-syndrome-under-the-big-lights/641473379226522