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The Talk

March 9 @ 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm

|Recurring Event (See all)

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

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

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UNC Department of Communication
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 men 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. How do you explain to a child the fact that he faces a world that often condones and enacts violence against bodies that specifically look like his?
Later, Sonny learned that this difficult conversation was part of a larger social phenomenon in American communities of color known as “The Talk.” As a scholar and performer, Sonny seized the opportunity to translate this common lived experience into artistic expression.  The Talk is a theatrical experience that endeavors to begin the work of humanizing the racialized politics of issues like “The One Drop Rule,” “Stop-and-Frisk,” and the “Cradle to Prison Pipeline.”  
With The Talk, Sonny hopes to accomplish three objectives.  First, this experience is designed to change minds and incite action toward more just, equitable, and honest conversations about our society.  Secondly, this work mobilizes interactive theater, a dynamic embodied performance, and a multi-media production toward the end of connecting to audiences and developing critical consciousness around race issues and the undue criminalization of the black child in America today. Finally, The Talk doesn’t just tell one father’s story – it gives voice to the unique anguish that countless parents of color, and especially parents of black boys, endure daily in this country.
The Talk has become about returning to memories (timelessly sacred, roguishly painful, and immediately poignant), returning to the ancestors, and reckoning with a contemporary composite truth.  At it’s core, The Talk has always been 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 Talk will happen at UNC’s Swain Studio 6 on Thursday, March 8 through Saturday, March 10 at 7:30pm.  There will be a final matinee on Sunday, March 11 at 3pm.  Admission is $5 for students, faculty and staff and $10 for visitors. Tickets are also available at the door.




March 9
7:30 pm - 9:30 pm


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


UNC Department of Communication
(919) 962-2311