Bringing Reflections to Upper School Students



PhyfeAbby Phyfe

Upper school English

On Monday, April 18, Mixed Magic Theater brought their production of Reflections: Growing Up a Black Man in America, written and directed by Ricardo Pitts-Wiley to Moses Brown’s juniors and seniors. A series of vignettes Pitts-Wiley has spent years honing and which he presented to the public last spring at his Mixed Magic Theater in Pawtucket, Reflections veers through a range of emotions, including anger and humor, as actors Mishell Lilly, Jay Walker, Ricardo Pitts-Wiley, and MB’s own humanities teacher Jonathan Pitts-Wiley presented poems and stories about the issues facing black men.

After the one-hour performance the cast invited questions, and many students and adults wanted to learn about the influences that spurred the play, as well as the issues related within the stories. There were several queries about The Knives I Survived, recited by Jonathan Pitts-Wiley, and the actors recalled their personal experiences of consciousness of their race through life’s daily routines. Though the vignettes were based on Pitts-Wiley’s experience as a black man, there were several questions about the role of black women in this country, prompting talk about Ricardo’s granddaughter Corinne and his wife Bernadet, the latter of whom he brought on stage to respond.

When asked at the end what our audience should take away from the performance, Ricardo shared his hope that the audience learned something from these stories, and that they might “no longer claim ignorance” of the realities to which Reflections refers. This performance also tied in with the student-led book discussion on Te-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me, which took place Wednesday, April 20.




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