After years of volunteering and acting as stage manager for several shows at the Liberty Theatre, Barbara Pierce decided to show her own creativity.
She wrote, directed and produced “Voices,” which can be seen Saturday night at the Liberty.
“It’s a poetic play,” she explained. She used her own poetry and poems written by those in the show as well as familiar, published poems. The theme of the show is homelessness.
“It’s sort of a Shakespearean type play,” Pierce said. “We talk about people in different walks of life who end up homeless.”
To complement the poetry, Pierce added music, dance and film to her show.
Just before starting rehearsals, Pierce met with the entire cast to talk about which songs and poems to use and what kinds of costumes would be necessary.
Before and after the play, two short films by Demetrius Colson will be shown. Colson’s brother, Antonio Agyemang, is the choreographer and also dances in the show.
“Most of the fellows are hip-hop dancers,” Agyemang said. “One dancer is pretty different.” She has been schooled in jazz and contemporary dance, he said.
The short films have a strong local connection since both were shot at the Robinson House and the House of Mercy in Columbus.
The show’s youngest performer is Nefertari Williams, 7, who is Pierce’s granddaughter.
Pierce said the audience will see new faces on the Liberty stage because she deliberately chose some new actors for her show.
“I have only three veterans,” Pierce said. “I hand-picked everybody. I wanted to bring some new people in. I’m directing and Eddie Stiles coached them (in acting).”
One of those veterans is Lorenzo Battle, who says the show has been a lot of fun.
“I like spoken word,” Battle said, though he didn’t write his piece for the show. The theme of the show holds the poems together, he said.
Pierce also used those who wrote their own poetry, including Aye Peetway.
“She (Pierce) chose the poems I’d already written,” Peetway said. Peetway said her poems represent the “urban consciousness.”
Darius Hawkins, a Columbus State University liberal arts major, showed Pierce his poems and together they chose the best ones for him to recite during the show.
Not all the actors wrote their own poetry, though.
“I don’t write; I’m just a performer,” said Vanessa Lundy, who performs two of Pierce’s poems and is also a dancer in the show.
Some performers are sharing poems written by family members. Nefertari recites her grandmother’s poems in one of the scenes, and Nikki Crapper recites a poem written by her mother, Terry Lyle.
After “Voices,” Pierce has two more shows ready to go, including “Girls with Attitudes,” which will be next.
Her publishing company has produced “Voices,” which features all of the poems in the show, and a children’s book, “May I Have an Alphabet for Just One Day?” The books will be available for purchase at the theater Saturday night.