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PIECED TOGETHER: Local playwright La’Charles Purvey seeks funding for new theatrical work

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OKLAHOMA CITY — La’Charles Purvey has made a name for himself as one of the main driving forces behind original theater in Oklahoma City, particularly in the African-American community where he has maintained a strict ethos of fighting for diversity in the Metro theater scene by any means necessary.

His latest work is entitled Pieces of Him and is a companion piece to his critically-acclaimed play Pieces of Her. Here, Purvey’s pen focuses on a saxophone musician in the 1960s named Emmitt LeBlanc and his struggles with his faith and sexuality and the unpredictable results. As someone who grew up around

Southern culture as well as being a “preacher’s kid,” Purvey believes this play has more of pieces of him, so to speak, in it than any of his previous works and putting that “truth out there on stage like that” can sometimes be a hard sell to not only audiences, but theaters as well.

“Many times, people want those old stand-by shows in Oklahoma City…the Hairspray’s and so on,” Purvey said. “We like to see those tried and true shows, but the business part of it is that those theaters want to make money. I’ve been told a lot of times that, especially with a new show, they’re expensive and they’re hard to make money from. So, instead of depending upon another theater to produce this for me,

I’d like to take things into my own hands, as I’ve always done, and say look, if you won’t help me, I’ll find a way to help myself.”

Drawing from inspirations such as August Wilson and Ntozake Shange, Purvey uses his talents to not only tell true to life stories, but to also tackle issues that are often taboo in the Black community, such as homosexuality and the religious hypocrisy that can surround it, making Pieces of Him a real rarity on the Oklahoma stage for all walks of life.

With a goal to raise $10,000 in the next eleven months in order to secure a venue, build sets, lighting and costumes, as well as pay the actors a small stipend to produce this play for the 2018-2019 theatre season, a month ago Purvey started a Pieces of Him GoFundMe page that has so far secured just a little over a grand, but there is still a ways to go. People can visit him-a- new-play for more info on the play, its progress, and how to donate to make it a reality.

“I’m committed to pushing for diversity in theater and with the new play, I’m trying my hardest to break out and present something that says black theater can be deep, it can be outside of the norm, it can be whatever we want it to be, but we need funding to make it happen,” Purvey said. “It takes money to make theater; you can’t do it for free. I think Pieces of Him is something that is going to be different and the character of Emmitt, he’s a really unique character that deserves to be brought to life. We need to support diverse theater and the new and interesting experiences it brings with it.”

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Louis Fowler

Güicho. Gadfly. Chicano. Choctaw. Cristero. Freelancer. Leftist. Activist. Vilified. PKD....

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