Sandy Spring, Maryland - November 1, 2022 - The Amazing Theatre Company is excited to announce the opening of their new play titled Sell Out. The play opens on Saturday, November 5th at The Odd Fellows Lodge 6405 in Sandy Spring, Maryland, occupying a building from 1906 that was the only place for social gatherings for African Americans in the country at the time. It’s also within walking distance of a Montgomery County underground railroad location, giving the location even more historical significance.
The theme of the play, according to writer and artistic director Percy Thomas, is about black men who sell out their communities for money and power, and how they ally with people in power outside of the community to do that. “They want to have influence and control, and prestige,” says Mr. Thomas. “They want to be seen as contributing to the community, but on their terms. It’s about elevating themselves rather than doing what the community actually needs. Anytime you’re not doing something to uplift your community, anytime you’re not engaged in a positive activity to better those around you, you’re a sellout. And I know this is a broader definition than we’ve been used to.”
Sell Out takes place in a fictional community loosely based on where the writer grew up in Baltimore. Most of the action takes place inside the Red Rooster Bar, which is owned by the main character, a man named Blue Top. Blue Top, played by Pierre Walters, is an entrepreneur in the neighborhood but seems to have no actual love for his community. He refers to his neighbors and patrons using slurs, debases the people that need his help, and aligns himself with the mayor and police chief that are behind the drug trade that keeps the community addicted.
“I grew up in the Jim Crow era and saw the spread in the community,” Thomas recalls. “Some incidents in the play are based on things I’ve seen happen to my family and community. This is a fictionalized account of what happens when our own leaders ally with people who don’t look like them. A lot of what’s being said about history and about movements is based on my experience.”
Mr. Thomas, along with his wife Alice Thomas, the executive producer of the play and the executive director of the Amazing Theatre Company, strive to make theater that has real meaning for the African American community. They hold talks after every show and use the artistic realm to present and analyze facts. “It’s not just entertainment,” says Mr. Thomas. “It’s edutainment.”
Amazing Theatre also produces four touring shows: two about Harriet Tubman, one about Sojourner Truth, and one about Josiah Henson, all powerful abolitionists and freedom fighters. “We will take these shows anywhere and have already been to several key locations,” says Alice Thomas, executive director. “And though we lean toward plays that have themes particularly relevant to African Americans, we solicit plays from everyone.”
Mr. and Mrs. Thomas advise aspiring playwrights to affiliate with small theater groups like theirs to get their work produced and onstage so people can see it. They are also willing to teach people how to act.
The Amazing Theatre received operating support from the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County and the Blessed and Highly Favored Foundation.
This will be the first time Sell Out is shown to the public, with showings on November 5th and 6th only. Read more and purchase tickets at amazingtheatre.org