Art lovers can take a glimpse into “Snipe’s World” this weekend at Tuskegee Repertory Theatre.
The musical is based on the stories depicted in the works of self-taught Alabama folk artist James “Buddy” Snipe, who creates abstract paintings and sculptures out of colorfully painted pieces of tin, animal bone and wood. His art blends real life and fantasy.
Dyann Robinson, who wrote and directed the play, said: “I want people to know him. His stories are so great.”
Robinson, a retired Auburn University dance teacher, decided to bring those stories to the stage by creating a series of dances about characters who appear in Snipe’s art.
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“What’s in an artist’s mind is invisible to other people,” Robinson said. Fortunately, Snipe helped Robinson narrate the show. “We’re bringing the ideas and characters in Mr. Snipe’s head to life.”
The cast features 12 Tuskegee-area actors and singers.
“We had to have a big cast. We have mermaids, devils and snakes in it.”
She said the musical is funny at times, but it’s mostly serious.
In the play, two young people stumble into Snipe’s thoughts where they meet mermaids, the devil and Bow-Leg Willie.
Robinson wrote the lyrics, and Bill Perry wrote the music.
“He put my singing into music,” she said. “It’s blues-inspired. Bill plays jazz and blues very well.”
An exhibit of Snipe’s work will be on view at the Tuskegee Human and Civil Rights Multicultural Center, 104 S. Elm St. Saturday’s opening night reception will also be at the center.
Asked if Snipe plans to see the show, Robinson laughed.
“Oh, he’ll be there every night,” she joked. The artist, who was born and raised in rural Alabama, rarely seeks the spotlight.
“He’s an interesting character. He’s done some really fascinating things.”