The stage play “lumBEES: Women of the Dark Water” will be performed at Givens Performing Arts Center on The University of North Carolina at Pembroke campus July 8-10.
The performance begins at 7:30 p.m. on July 8 and 9 and at 3 p.m. on July 10. Tickets are $20.
They call themselves "the Bees:" Roberta Bullard Brown, Dolores Jones, Jinnie Lowery, Dr. Jo Ann Chavis Lowery, Della Maynor and Darlene Holmes Ransom – six Lumbee women who share their stories of growing up in a close-knit American Indian community surrounded by the dark waters of the Lumbee River.
The play is directed by David Oxendine and produced by Ransom in association with GPAC.
"Traditionally, our people transmitted their history, the stories of their lives, face to face sitting on the back porch after a long hard week of working on the farm," said Ransom. "We wanted our audience, especially our people, to experience what those types of conversations looked and felt like."
Their remarkable stories, often humorous and sometimes heartbreaking, are accompanied by a group of talented Lumbee musicians who perform diverse pieces from traditional American Indian flute to fun classic hits and gospel classics.
"lumBEES: Women of the Dark Water" was first performed in 2019 to sold-out audiences. Ransom was inspired by an earlier performance created by Bo Thorp called "The Dames You Thought You Knew." Ransom approached Thorp about directing a similar play about the lives of Lumbee women.
"I wanted to cast a group of Lumbee women who had experienced what it was like to live in the segregated Jim Crow South and how it shaped and impacted the lives of our people," said Ransom.
Ransom also hopes the show will be an inspiration, especially to American Indian youth. "It is the prayer of the Bees that our young folks will use this production as a springboard to rediscover and revitalize our tradition of oral storytelling," she said.
The play is sponsored by Farm Bureau Insurance/Cumberland County – Mike Ransom Agency, Lumbee River Electric Management Corp., Robeson Health Care Corporation, Wade Hardin Plumbing, Rachel Locklear's Portables, R&D Associates, The Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina, Dolores Jones, Mr. John and Dr. Jo Ann Chavis Lowery, and other generous donors.
For more information about tickets and the full season lineup, visit uncp.edu/gpac or call 910.521.6361.