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Blind actor brings one-man show, 'Weights,' to SU

Lynn Manning, an award-winning actor, playwright, poet, and former international blind judo champion, is bringing his one-man show, "Weights (One Man's Blind Journey)," to Syracuse University. The performance, which recounts his experience of being shot and blinded in a bar fight, is Thursday, September 15, at 8 p.m. in the Rose and Jules R. Setnor Auditorium in Crouse College. The event is free and open to the public. For more information, contact the SU Humanities Center at (315) 443-7192.

"Weights" is part of Syracuse Symposium, whose theme this year is "light." Co-sponsors of the performance are the School of Education; the SU Center on Human Policy, Law, and Disability Studies; the Cultural Foundations of Education, as well as the Teaching and Leadership programs; the College of Visual and Performing Arts' music education program; and the College of Arts and Sciences' African American studies and women's and gender studies departments.

"The SU Humanities Center is thrilled to partner with a half dozen other organizations on campus, including the School of Education, for this special solo autobiographical show," says Gregg Lambert, Dean's Professor of the Humanities, as well as founding director of the SU Humanities Center and principal investigator of The Andrew W. Mellon Central New York Humanities Corridor. "Lynn Manning is an exceptional artist who sheds light on race, gender, and ability by forcing us to confront our oppressions. 'Weights' is not so much a racial story or a disability narrative as it is an in-depth look at what we call 'identity.'"

Born and raised in Southern California, Manning spent much of his childhood with his siblings in and out of foster homes. In 1978, the 23-year-old aspiring actor/athlete lost his eyesight in a Hollywood bar fight, following a gunshot to the face. The episode later inspired him to create a one-man show of original poetry and spoken word that premiered in Los Angeles in 2001. The original production has been since been presented all over the world, including the Kennedy Center, and has garnered three NAACP Theater Awards, including one for Manning for "Best Actor." "It is performance art--removed but intimate," says Manning of "Weights," in a recent online interview with fellow playwright Maria Oshodi. "I try to perform as if I'm talking to one person. I verbalize everything of true importance, so the audience doesn't miss anything. I paint pictures with words."

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