By: Caitlyn Freeman, Editor in Chief
The first student-written production to be produced at Towson University’s Main Stage was held over the weekend and told the origin story of the Harvey African-American flag.
The play, titled “20|02” and directed by Ruben Del Valle, was written by Towson Junior Kayla Harvey and her sister and alumna Chloe Harvey. It chronicled their journey of learning about their father, David Harvey, and his legacy.
Baltimore-natives David Harvey and his wife Tonya created a flag in November 1991 to accompany “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” which is considered to be the Black national anthem, the flag’s website states. The flag flew at many Historically Black Colleges and Universities and businesses.
After David Harvey suddenly died in 2002, his mission to spread the flag was slowed. The flag includes heavy symbolism, including a black eight-point star representing the slogan “Black Stars Can Shine Too.” The flag is nonpolitical and represents Black accomplishments and prosperity.
The play chronicles Chloe and Kaylah uncovering their father’s development of the flag and learning who he was as a person. David Harvey died when Chloe was 2 years old and before Kaylah was born.
“So this play kind of tells the story of Kaylah and I bringing [the flag] back and, in order to do that, we had to discover who our Father was,” Chloe Harvey said in an interview.
The play was shown at Towson from March 2 to 4. A university spokesperson said they didn’t have an official headcount for the opening show, but the theater, located within the Center for the Arts, was mostly full on opening night. The theater was mostly full for Saturday’s performance as well.
The production was in partnership with Morgan State University and had cast members from both institutions. Chloe Harvey said the decision to partner with Morgan stemmed from their parent’s connection to the school, as David Harvey was a Morgan State alumni. She called the opportunity a “blessing.”
“It’s such an honor to be able to produce this play with Towson and Morgan because it really feels like a full circle moment,” Chloe Harvey said. “It feels like a real representation of how the flag has come back, how the history is coming back because we are coming out of the places that, you know, we really began with. Coming from the schools that raised our mom, the schools that raised us, and we’re kind of doing it all over again. And it really is a full circle moment.”
The play is the first time the two schools produced a play together, Janice Short, Morgan’s interim Theatre Arts coordinator, said in an email.
“I read the play and was blown away by the beauty and the clarity with which they’d written a story about real life events that they were either too young to remember or not yet born,” she said.
Short said she hopes the play is the beginning of continuous partnership between Towson and Morgan.
“It is our hope that we continue to collaborate with each other,” she said. “I love the fact that Morgan has three bridges on our campus, it is awesome to know that we have now created a fourth bridge from our Theatre program to that of Towson’s, giving the students a broader experience both culturally and institutionally.
Echoing Short, Kayah Calhoun, a Morgan student who played Aunt Debbie in the production, said the collaboration has led to the actors being able to bridge connections with one another.
“I feel like us working with one another, that is how we build our connection,” she said. “So when we do enter the professional world, we can easily text or call people that we’ve worked with in the past.”
Morgan held a rededication ceremony of the flag on Feb. 23. Two showings of the play will be held at the Morgan State Murphy Fine Arts Center on March 9 and 10.