Black Theatre Ensemble’s ‘The Story’ Combines Racial Politics and the Quest for Success


In 1981, Washington Post journalist Janet Cooke won a Pulitzer Prize for an article she wrote about an eight-year old heroin addict. After capturing the hearts of millions worldwide and sparking a D.C.-wide manhunt to find the boy, Cooke’s story was later discovered to be completely fabricated. Inspired by this journalistic scandal, Georgetown University’s Black Theatre Ensemble put on a production of Tracey Scott Willson’s “The Story,” before Easter break this year.

“The Story” draws on many themes such as racial politics, murder and moral ethics to weave an intriguing storyline about the lengths someone will go to achieve success and make a name for themselves in the competitive world of journalism.

The play’s protagonist Yvonne, played by Kundalini Nicholas-Walker, is a narcissistic, ambitious black reporter who has just joined a major newspaper. She makes no effort to conceal her dissatisfaction over being added to the “Outlook” section, which focuses primarily on stories about low-income black communities.

Animosity bubbles between Yvonne and her new boss Pat, played by Alana Hendy (SFS ’21), who criticizes Yvonne’s writing as sloppy, inaccurate and unsupportive of the black community. Passion and energy infused their interactions to convincingly portray the hostility between them. However, the script fell short on illuminating the individual intentions and motivations of Pat and Yvonne, therefore making it difficult for the audience to connect…

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