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The Talk

March 8, 2018 @ 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm

|Recurring Event (See all)

An event every day that begins at 7:30 pm, repeating until March 10, 2018

One event on March 11, 2018 at 3:00 pm

UNC Department of Communication Presents
The Talk
Written and Performed by Sonny Kelly
March 8-10 at 7:30pm
March 11 at 3pm
     UNC-Chapel Hill Campus, Swain Studio 6
UNC Department of Communication Presents as part of the 2017 – 2018 Swain Studio 6 Performance Series, The Talk, a one-man play by Sonny Kelly, directed by Joseph Megel. The Talk is a one-man performance that draws on the voices of ancestors, elders, youths, and intellectuals to engage in the difficult conversations that we must have with our children as we prepare them to survive and thrive in a racialized America. Written and performed by Communication PhD student Sonny Kelly, The Talk was born of a painful conversation that Sonny had with his seven-year-old son after confronting recent reports about multiple killings and beatings of black people by civil authorities.  One morning, while on the way to school, Sonny and his son Sterling listened to a radio report about riots in the streets of West Baltimore, MD, in the wake of Freddie Gray’s death.  At this point, Sonny had no choice but to explain the cause of all of this mayhem.  Ultimately, at the center of it all, was a black man.  Looking into the back seat, Sonny beheld a beautiful black boy, who would one day grow up to be a black man – a black man, who would look an awful lot like the pictures he had seen on CNN of the now deceased Freddie Gray.  He realized then that it was time to have a father-son “talk” about identity and survival. According to Sonny, “I have found that this piece doesn’t just tell my story – it gives words to an anguish that parents of color, and especially parents of black boys, endure daily.” How do you prepare a child for a world that often condones and enacts violence against bodies that specifically look like his?
The Talk is about returning to memories (timelessly sacred, roguishly painful, and immediately poignant), returning to the ancestors, and reckoning with a contemporary composite truth.  According to director Joseph Megel, “Sonny perfectly balances an intellectual understanding of race theory leading to ‘the talk’ with the emotional heartbreak of a parent having to tell his child that the world will judge him based solely on the color of his skin.” At its core, The Talk is essentially about a father’s profoundly abiding love for his son.  With this work, Sonny invites audience members into a complicated, but loving, space where we are all encouraged to imagine new possibilities together.
The Performances
March 8-10 at 7:30pm
March 11 at 3pm 
Studio 6, UNC’s Swain Hall 101 E. Cameron Avenue, Chapel Hill, NC.  
$5 for students, faculty and staff
$10 for visitors
About the Artist
Sonny Kelly is a scholar, performer, storyteller, motivator, speaker, and comedian. Currently pursuing a PhD in Communication Studies & Performance Studies at UNC Chapel Hill, Sonny is a graduate of St. Mary’s University (MA, Communication Studies, ’08) and Stanford University (BA, International Relations, ’98).  Currently, his research is focused on Critical/Performance Ethnography, Critical Pedagogy, and Youth Activism/Empowerment.  He seeks innovative and effective approaches to addressing the systemic criminalization of marginalized youths and the Cradle-to-Prison Pipeline in the U.S.  Sonny has served as a U.S. Air Force officer, a non-profit organization director, university admissions counselor, award winning pharmaceutical salesman, college communications instructor, and a church youth pastor. He teaches courses in Public Speaking, Performance and Interpersonal Communication at UNC Chapel Hill, Fayetteville Technical Community College and Robeson Community College.  Sonny’s research is focused on implementing performance-based interventions designed to empower and instill a sense of hope and self-efficacy in marginalized youths. No matter where he is, or what he is doing, Sonny’s passion for teaching, engaging and empowering others is unmistakable.
About Performance Studies in UNC Communications Department
Performance Studies focuses on performance as a method of textual study, as an aesthetic event, and as a social and rhetorical act. This area of the department offers students a series of interrelated courses in textual study; oral history and ethnography; and the theory of and practice in writing, designing, and directing performative events. Classroom experiences extend into a wide variety of performative opportunities at the co-curricular level, including seminars with visiting scholars; participation in regional and national conferences and festivals; campus performance/production work; joint ventures with local, regional, and nationally prominent authors; and social activism through performance work in the community.


March 8, 2018
7:30 pm - 9:30 pm


Studio 6
101 E Cameron Ave
Chapel Hill, NC 27514 United States


UNC Chapel Hill Department of Communication
(919) 962-2311