Delaware State University senior Tylie Shider's play, "Chains," debuts with performances at 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday, Nov. 6 at 7, in DSU's Education and Humanities Theater.
From the time Delaware State University senior Tylie Shider was 10 years old, he knew he wanted to be a writer.
He wanted to write in every genre and produce everything from books to movie scripts, and when he reached college his passion for the written word soared.
In his sophomore year Shider began writing a stage play late at night in his dorm room, inspired by the works of two giants of American drama: Tennessee Williams and August Wilson.
Now, three years later, his play and his dreams have come to fruition.
The play, “Chains,” debuts with performances at 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday, Nov. 6 and 7, in DSU’s Education and Humanities Theater.
“Chains” focuses on the life of Nadir, a young musician, and his family. The problems of the play are universal, Shider said, and reflective of the changes and dilemmas all families face.
“It’s inspired by my father’s family, they all were musicians, and my father lost his father at a young age,” he said. “I just wrote it kind of as a coming of age story, and I wrote it from his point of view.”
Shider originally set the play in his native New Jersey, but later decided to make the locale less specific.
“The setting is anywhere love resides. It started out as New Jersey, but I realized it’s not just one state or one place. It’s a period piece. It’s set in 1975 to 1983,” he said.
The play is full of ups and downs, with parts that will make viewers laugh as well as cry, Shider said.
Tyneesha Hodge, a friend of Shider’s since his freshman year, plays Gia, the strong and commanding family matriarch.
“She’s very feisty,” Hodge said. “She’s very opinionated and it’s either her way or the highway, and it’s kind of like my mother in way; if you don’t obey you better get yourself together.”
Hodge said viewers will connect with the stage family through a common set of dilemmas.
“They might be able to pick themselves out, because it’s a family and everyone has their problems,” she said. “It’s learning how to love one another; sure you’re related, but it doesn’t mean you have to love them.
“There’s a lot of challenges,” Hodge added. “Each character has to deal with it individually and they have to find it within themselves and look to their sibling or their parent and find that love or that strength.”
Sophomore Terry Marshall, who plays John, the father, said the play might make viewers take a closer look at what’s really important.
“There’s a lot of families out there who take each other for granted,” he said. “And if they watch this play they can really see the importance of love, hope and all that stuff that’s really important to a family.”
Shider said the title “Chains” represents the bonds that in some ways hold a family back, but at the same time bind it together.
“That’s my answer to the question of family, it can be your chains,” he said. “It can define your future, where you are today, what inspires you; it all stems from the family.”
Email Doug Denison at email@example.com
If you go...
What: “Chains,” written and directed by Tylie Shider
When: 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday, Nov. 6 and 7
Where: Education and Humanities Theater, Delaware State University