“Love and Other Things That Kill You” is an original piece written, directed, produced and arranged by Clark Atlanta University’s, Christian Fedison.
The play, which debuted Friday, Nov. 9 and ran through Nov. 11, told the story of promiscuous high school teens. In the play, the teens go through the phases of love, identity, sexuality, heartbreak and abuse.
“This was by far the best show I have been to! I have never seen a play that did not feel like a play, it felt like real life. The characters reminded me of myself and took me back to high school. The hardest thing for me, was behaving myself and keeping my composure during the play,” audience members Janita Hardnett said.
The story is told from the perspective of every teen. The teens learn the true meaning of sex, friendship, honesty and love. Throughout the play there is happiness and sadness, which is identical to real life. Unfortunately, the story does not have a happy ending, but the overall lesson is definitely learned.
Christian Fedison, who is also known as Spadeknows or just Spade, is a sophomore, Theatre major at Clark Atlanta University. Spade is a native of New Orleans, Louisiana which is also the setting of his play. Amongst being a play writer, Spade is a poet, writer, musician and rapper.
In an interview Spade stated, The idea of the play came at a time when I was not really inspired to do music. Because I was not getting inspired musically, the idea of writing the play came along.” He began writing his play in the Spring semester of his freshmen year. By the summer time, casting, workshopping and production were done. Spade and his team began working and rehearsing shortly after school started in August.
Spade faced many hardships through the process of putting on his play. The biggest struggle of all, next to casting and getting the performance space (which was not approved until the week of), was the finances. As everyone knows, putting on a production is not a cheap task. Spade did everything he could to get his play off the ground. Because he was a college student, he did not have a job, and no job, means no money. He got a job, saved as much as he could from that, but still was short. All resulting in him starting a GoFundMe account.
When all odds seemed against him, he made sacrifice. Spade donated more than two pints of blood to raise the remaining funds for his play. With the money he raised, he built his set, provided for his cast/crew, bought props, printed show tickets and took care of other things for the play. Spade even used his own bed, from his dorm as a prop for the play. He slept on an air mattress during the production of his play.
Members of Spade’s cast and crew were majority freshmen. In addition to making freshmen the priority, Spade also wanted to include people from all over the AUC.
In an interview, Fedison explained his reasoning for using majority freshmen and expanding his production across the AUC, “I originally wanted to use freshmen because the show takes place in high school and I wanted some baby faces. Another reason I decided to use freshmen was because the freshmen just graduated from high school, and the play was in high school. The older actors were playing the roles too old, and not like high schoolers. The last reason was because I did not want to work with my peers.”
When further asked about his working with freshmen, Spade expressed how great it was to work with them and watch them learn and grow. As far as including the entire AUC, Spade expressed that as a Theatre major, there were not many independent works coming out of CAU. To avoid going to Spelman or Morehouse to do something, he decided to create his own thing out of Clark Atlanta and include students from Morehouse and Spelman.
There were three actresses from Spelman, one crew member from Morehouse and two crew members from Spelman. Cast was as follows; AC Wilson, Zacharie Curtis, Marcus Tabb, Jada Tobin, Marqual Hill, Tianna Butcher, Dermell Lewis, Nykira Grimes, Kynnedi Spratt, and Beautiful Lawson. The crew included; Tre Hazelwood, Emani Jones, Wave Beast, James Smart, Ananda Palmore, Kyra Easly, Dominique Bradford, Emani Gonzalez, Jehan Patterson, and Zion Hill.
Even though Spade received very little support from CAU’s Theatre department, the show sold out all three nights. The audience played a huge role in the play. Zacharie Curtis, who played the leading lady expressed “I was not prepared for the audience’s reaction. Their laughter, applauses and remarks kept us all [cast] on our feet.” Each night, the audience shared different remarks and emotions. After the show, some audience members rejoiced while other shed tears.
In addition to receiving great reviews for his play, a few members of the cast were asked to audition with major film companies, like Tyler Perry Studios. After the great success of his inaugural play, “Love and Other Things That Kill You”, Christian Fedison is already working on another production. Be on the lookout for the short film, new music and other Spadeknows Productions.