‘All of this is our history’

Dr. Von Washington details his upcoming performance at the Riviera Theatre

THREE RIVERS — On Saturday, Sept. 23, Dr. Von Washington will perform as “Doc” during a spoken word performance at the Riviera Theatre in downtown Three Rivers.
Washington said “In Search of Giants: Ghosts of the Underground Railroad” will feature eight actors performing a spoken-word, storytelling history based on his personal background, to “educate and entertain.”
Washington, who received a PhD in theater, journalism, history, and speech from Wayne State University, said he became interested in his own history and stumbled across the term “grios,” which he said was “the individual who had a family in each tribe that would tell all of the members of the tribe, particularly the children while they were growing, the history of their people.”
Actors in his written and directed performance will represent grio and will relay information to the audience.
“In storytelling, the grio was required to transfer all that was necessary for you to understand a moment in the spoken word, and that is not just saying, it is creating,” Washington said.
“So that spoken word transferring meaning, inference, innuendo, nuance, and everything. So as I became involved in the theatre I wanted to follow my ancestry path.”
Throughout Washington’s theater education at Wayne State, he took on roles from the European classical genre of theater. There, he decided to explore his own background.
“So (at Wayne State) I’m doing Macbeth and all these particular roles but I am not running into me, and I am interested in me also, not just alone, but also,” Washington said. “So I turned my attention to my background for the things that I was doing, so I started writing and directing theatre for the African-American experience.”

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