Members of Theatre in the X performed a production of “The Beast of Nubia” at Malcolm X Memorial Park in West Philadelphia on Sunday.
Walter DeShields, a founder and co-artistic director of Theatre in the X, played the role of Hasani in the adaptation of the classic “Beauty and the Beast,” set in a magical land of Nubia.
“I feel great,” he said. “It’s a wonderful story adapted from ‘Beauty and the Beast,’ but we set it in the continent of Africa, in the Nubia region of the continent and I think its relevant right now when you think of the popularity of ‘Black Panther’ and ‘The Lion King.’ I think Black people are asking for something that speaks to their history and their culture and I think that’s what ‘The Beast of Nubia’ does.”
DeShields said the performance in Malcolm X Memorial Park was “perfectly set.”
“It was a great show and it seemed like people really enjoyed it,” he said. “They were applauding after every scene, so I’m happy.”
Steven Wright directed the production and said he felt “amazing” after the performance.
“It was the point to actually bring this out to the people and show them that we could do it too,” he said. “And to actually see the looks on their faces seeing a production like this where it’s not the same old thing but something new, something fresh they could connect to, that was the plan and I’m glad to see people happy and engaged and that’s why we’re here.”
It was intimidating to perform in such a big place, actor Janae Rockemore said.
“Wherein a theater is kind of a closed section and everyone kind of knows the deal, but outward was a lot of fun. But it’s also a challenge making sure that you are projecting outward,” she said.
Niya Cobert played the lead role of Nefertiti and her performance captivated the audience from opening scene to final bow.
“It’s fun,” she said. “Like going into this new world which we created, a fictitious world but we think of it like, hey, if this is the world, we want to create what would it look like.”