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Paine College Announces Alumni and Faculty Play, ‘Voices in My Soul, Yearning to Breathe Free’

May 7, 2019

Paine College is proud to announce the upcoming one-act play, Voices in My Soul, Yearning to Breathe Free, written by Paine alumna Janae Dotson and Professor John Harris, Jr., who also directs the production. The play stars actor and Paine alumnus Samuel Lee Fudge. Performances will be presented at the Le Chat Noir, 304 8th Street Augusta, GA 30901 from May 24-26.

The play has been described as a "showcase vehicle" for Samuel Lee Fudge and highlights the life of a working black actor in 2019. The story details life's journey, revealing the challenges that today's black actors confront in their careers due to the unequal treatment they often experience.

Within its narrative, Voices in My Soul delivers a powerful and empowering message for people of all cultures, encouraging and inspiring them to continue to overcome obstacles, pursue their dreams, and achieve their career and life goals.

Director John Harris Jr. highlighted the play's broad themes, noting that talent and skill is only part of the formula for self-actualization and success in life. "It is not our abilities that show we truly are," he said. "It's our choices and habits. Never be afraid to make the difficult choice between what is right and what is easy. Never be afraid to actually put in the work necessary for achieving success."

For star Samuel Lee Fudge, the play's message seems to align with his own experience and philosophy of life. He suggested that obstacles and challenges are a necessary part of life's struggles and said, "Dark times are necessary. How else could you discover how bright your light shines?"

Fudge also drew on his own memories of childhood – a time when the only thing he feared more than monsters was mediocrity. His role in the play will see him play multiple characters, each with their own personality, voice, and even physical features. "I'm very grateful for this show," Fudge said in a video post on Facebook. "It does give me an opportunity to showcase my talents. But I'm also grateful that it doesn't just showcase my talents; it also showcases the talent of other local actors in the area."

Cast member and brand new local actor Bernard Garlick emphasized that the play is about more than showcasing the talent of a rising star. He said, "It's also a deep reflection of the black experience."

Playwright Janae Dotson stressed the importance of taking chance and maximizing each opportunity. "The things we regret the most in life are the things we never do," Dotson said. "So take the opportunity, take the chance, take the leap. You might just land exactly where you never knew you needed to be."

Showtimes will include three performances in late May: Friday, May 24 at 8 PM; Saturday, May 25 at 8 PM; and Sunday, May 26 at 3 PM. Ticket and venue information is available online, at the event Facebook page here.

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