Khalil Kain’s directorial debut uses multiracial cast to reinterpret Pulitzer Prize-winning drama about
troubled midwestern farm family
Actor Khalil Kain, best known for edgy character roles in film and portraying Darnell Wilkes on the television series Girlfriends, makes his stage directing debut with an Equity LORT/LOA production of Sam Shepard’s “Buried Child,” July 11 to August 3 at Aaron Davis Hall on the City College campus. The production uses a multiracial cast to reinterpret the underlying symbols of Shepard’s Pulitzer prize-winning play about a dysfunctional midwestern farm family.
“Buried Child,” which won the Pulitzer prize for drama in 1979, depicts a once-prosperous Illinois farming family with a dark, terrible secret: incest and murder. When grandson Vince shows up unexpectedly with his girlfriend, Shelly, their presence ignites a sort of exorcism in which the revelation of the family’s crimes guarantees its survival and its continuity.
Director Khalil Kain insists that “Buried Child” is not a story for white America, but for America in general because so many of the buried secrets in American families are related to race. “Shepard placed the play in the farmlands of an Illinois white family, but that doesn’t mean it’s a white story. It’s an American story,” he says. In this production, Vince and Shelly are cast as black actors, whose homecoming will be made more poignant by their “otherness.”
A native New Yorker, Khalil Kain has a varied and substantial resumé as a character actor with more than two decades of credits in film, television and stage. He debuted in 1992 as Raheem in director Ernest Dickerson’s urban crime drama “Juice.” He played Private Hobbs in the 1994 Army comedy “Renaissance Man,” and in 1998 he portrayed porno star Venus in Dan Ireland’s erotic dramedy “The Velocity of Gary.” That year, he also played Tiger Woods in Showtime’s made-for-television movie “The Tiger Woods Story.”
In television, he is best known for portraying Darnell Wilkes for seven seasons on the series “Girlfriends” (2001 – 2007). Other television series he has appeared on include “Friends” (1996), “Suddenly Susan” (1996 – 1997), “Sister, Sister” (1998 – 1999) and “CSI: Miami” (2009). On stage, his roles have included Citizen Barlow in August Wilson’s “Gem of the Ocean.”
The cast of Aaron Davis Hall’s production of “Buried Child” includes: Robert Boardman, as Dodge; Teresa Anne Volgenau, as Halie; Eric Gravez, as Tilden; Jeffrey Brewer, as Bradley; Tenice Divya Johnson, as Shelly; Leroy Smith Graham, as Vince, and Edwin Matos, Jr., as Father Dewis. Set design is by Arnold Bueso. Lighting design is by Brian Aldous. Costume design is by Mary Myers.
Tickets are $25 general admission; $10 seniors and students (with ID). Performances are July 11 to August 3 on the following schedule: 7 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays, 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturdays. The box office number is (212) 650-6900. Tickets can be purchased online at www.adhatccny.org. Aaron Davis Hall is located at 135th Street and Convent Avenue, on the City College of New York campus. Subways are #1 to 137th Street; C to 135th Street, or A or D to 145th Street. Free parking is available in the South Campus Parking Lot (enter at 133rd Street and Convent Ave).
About The City College of New York’s Aaron Davis Hall
The City College of New York’s Aaron Davis Hall hosts an ambitious, year-round calendar of events, most of which are open to the public. Its stunning architecture houses an innovative two-theatre performing arts complex that presents public performances and exhibitions by students as well as professional artists and serves as the cultural hub of Upper Manhattan and Harlem. ADH is the only cultural facility of its kind between Lincoln Center and uptown Manhattan and is used by groups like Carnegie Hall, Dance Theater of Harlem, Ballet Hispanico, Harlem School of the Arts and many other community-based and nationally recognized organizations.
About The City College of New York
Since 1847, The City College of New York has provided low-cost, high-quality education for New Yorkers in a wide variety of disciplines. More than 16,000 students pursue undergraduate and graduate degrees in: the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; the Bernard and Anne Spitzer School of Architecture; the School of Education; the Grove School of Engineering, the Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education, and the Colin L. Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership.
Set on a striking, 35-acre hilltop campus in upper Manhattan, CCNY has produced more Nobel laureates than any other public institution in the United States. The College has been touted as one of the Best Colleges in the United States as well as one of the Best Value Colleges by the Princeton Review, and ranks among U.S. News’ top regional universities.