Monday, June 27, 2022

'Pieces of Me' Brings Personal Story of Survival to Oxford

Four years ago, performer Mykel nearly lost his life after he was the victim of a horrific hate crime, but now he’s hoping to spread his powerful message of overcoming the situation to the South.

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Mykel uses song, dance and performance to tell his personal story of survival after a hate crime nearly ended his life four years ago. / Photo courtesy of Mykel

“When I was going through counseling after the attack, my crisis counselor said statistically, many people who survive assaults and hate crimes and don’t get help tend to repeat the cycle,” Mykel said. “That’s when I knew what I could do to make a difference in the lives of these people. This is a way for me to deliver something very powerful through the medium of theatre and music and acting.”
Mykel has been reworking the 50-minute, one-man show “Pieces of Me” to keep the feel light and humorous while still engaging the audience on the important topic of understanding for all people. The show combines acting, dance and song to tell his story, along with 35 characters Mykel plays himself.
Mykel has performed the show for numerous audiences in New York as well as Rutgers University in April in conjunction with the school’s outreach to the LGBT community.
Last year, the theatre department produced “The Laramie Project,” a show about the murder of Matthew Shepherd after was tortured for being a homosexual, and some audiences did not react well to the performance, yelling hateful slurs at the cast during the show. Mykel said he expects some people to be uncomfortable with the subject matter in the South but hopes people will learn from it instead of fight against it.
“It is a different world down South. I’ve been presenting the show to intellectual theatre-goers in New York, so I’m excited to feel and hear an audience in Mississippi,” he said. “I’m expecting not to hear certain lines get laughs that usually do. I’m expecting silence because everyone’s thinking so hard. I’m just going to present the show as people have heard it and seen it.
“I’m not expecting people to feel sorry for me. Don’t listen with pity, listen to learn and hopefully enjoy a little bit.”
A free performance of “Pieces of Me” is 7:30 p.m. Friday at the Powerhouse sponsored by the University of Mississippi theatre department and Yoknapatawpha Arts Council. Donations will be accepted.
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Amelia Camurati is the managing editor of HottyToddy.com and can be reached at amelia.camurati@hottytoddy.com.

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