Point Park University's Student-Run Newspaper

Point Park Globe

Point Park University's Student-Run Newspaper

Point Park Globe

Point Park University's Student-Run Newspaper

Point Park Globe

Playhouse Teams Up with Bison Exchange for Intimate Apparel

Shake off the winter blues and clean out your closet at the Playhouse’s newest show, Intimate Apparel, showing at Highmark Theater from February 21 to 25.

A historical time capsule detailing the lives of black women in America in the early 1900s, Intimate Apparel was chosen alongside Rent and The Winter’s Tale to be this semester’s Theatre Arts shows. Sticking with the theme of clothing, the Playhouse has teamed up with the Bison Exchange Thrift to do a clothing drive benefiting lower income students.

“I feel we, as a school, we don’t get to tell a lot of stories like this,”  Desmon Jackson, who plays George, said. “It’s something that needs to be told in the sense of this is how Black Americans lived during that time, and trying to get a real sense of, you know, just taking in that breath and really reflecting.”

During this era of high racial tensions in the wake of the Civil War and the introduction of Jim Crow laws that ushered in the age of segregation, Black Americans were moving to industrial cities to find work in what is known as the Great Migration. Many would live in low-cost housing, as the play’s main character Esther does, to gain some footing and save up money before starting their new lives.

Written by Lynn Nottage in 2003, the play follows Esther, a black seamstress living in 1905 New York City in a boarding home. She is well known for her skill and discretion in creating intimate clothing for women, and she serves everyone from wealthy white women to black prostitutes. As more and more women come and go, leaving the boarding home to get married, she begins to become discouraged and worries she might be alone forever. That all changes when she receives a letter from George, a man working in Panama. While she is illiterate, with the help of one of her patrons, Esther returns his letter and begins to develop a relationship with this man. Intimate Apparel follows Esther as she navigates this new relationship and tries to create the life that she wants.

“I’d say one of the biggest main themes of this is love,” Jackson says. “You know, trying to find where you fit and who you are.”

With its partnership with the Bison Exchange, Intimate Apparel not only tells the untold stories of Black women in the early 1900s but is also helping to find a home for unused clothing to help lower income students. However, you don’t need to be lower income to shop at the Exchange. With goals of sustainability, the Bison Exchange is also a great place to find high-quality clothing without having to break the bank.

Located in Lawrence Hall 808, all clothing and accessories are priced at just $2 a piece. The Bison Exchange is open at varying hours Monday through Friday and accepts donations anytime during those hours. To stay in the loop, you can find them on Instagram @thebisonexchange.

So, before you go home for spring break, consider supporting Intimate Apparel and the Bison Exchange. If this show is a success, it could lead to more collaboration to help bridge the gap between COPA and non-COPA students. Point Park students get in for free, and tickets are available through the Playhouse website.

Rest in peace Esther, you would have loved thrifting.

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