The Mount Airy Public Library, The Friends of the Mount Airy Public and the J.J. Jones High School Alumni will be presenting the one-man play “Mandela: Let Freedom Reign” at the library on Sunday at 3 p.m.
One of seven one-man plays written and produced by, as well as starring, Darryl Van Leer, “Mandela: Let Freedom Reign” is the story of the life of former South African president Nelson Mandela. Van Leer is also a film and television actor, performer and reality show star. In October 2014, Van Leer toured seven cities in England and Wales and recently co-stared in the feature film “Deadline” starring Eric Roberts. Inspired by a true story, “Deadline” is adapted from Mark Ethridge’s novel “Grievances.”
Sunday’s performance of “Mandela” opens with a dimly lit stage as vocal narration tells the early life of Mandela leading up to his equal rights struggle against apartheid. With grand courtroom windows as the backdrop, Van Leer as Mandela delivers his “I Am Prepared to Die” statement from the dock at the Rivonia Supreme Court trial prior to being sentenced to life in prison.
Next, the audience travels to Robben Island Penitentiary, and with a single light overhead, sitting in a cold jail cell, Mandela tells of his 27 years in prison. This scene is entitled “The Dark Years.”
When the outcry opposing apartheid reaches the international community, the setting moves to London, where “Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.,” an enduring influence to Mandela, speaks on the atrocities of apartheid and Mandela’s unjust imprisonment at Robben Island.
With great jubilation and powerful music, the audience witnesses Mandela’s victorious release from prison. The performance “Let Freedom Reign” closes triumphantly as The Republic of South Africa’s first democratically elected black president, Nelson Mandela, delivers his world-renowned “Inaugural Address.”
Darryl Van Leer, born in Madisonville, Kentucky, is a graduate of Western Kentucky University with a bachelor’s degree in graphic communications. He has performed at more than 300 universities across the country and has been honored with awards from National Association for Campus Activities (NACA) and Campus Activities Today and received a nomination for “Best Performance” from Hollywood’s NAACP Image Awards. Van Leer has also been recognized for his accomplishments as a Notable Kentuckian.
“Mandela: Let Freedom Reign” will be performed free of charge at Mount Airy Public Library, 145 Rockford St. on Sunday, Feb. 25 at 3 p.m. The play runs one hour, with a question and answer session. This project was supported by the N.C. Arts Council, a division of the Department of Natural & Cultural Resources. www.NCArts.org.
Reach Bill Colvard at 336-415-4699