Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name



Theatre Arts

Degree Program

Theatre Arts, MFA

Committee Chair

Segal, Janna

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Burton, Nefertiti

Committee Member

Burton, Nefertiti

Committee Member

Crosby, Shantel

Author's Keywords

Black; woman; burdening; unburdening; performance; realism


Black women who dramatize reality can experience a transference of burdens if realistic plays reflect their lived experiences. Burdens affect truthful character development and impact the mental, emotional, physical, social and spiritual well-being of Black actresses. This thesis will use the Fall 2021 University of Louisville production of Dennis McIntyre’s Split Second as a case study. Gender and Race studies along with an auto-ethnographic research approach will be used to examine how my portrayal of Alea in Split Second contributed to Black Woman Burdening, a phrase I created to examine how Black fatigue can negatively and specifically affect Black women who perform realistic theatre. This thesis offers a process for the actor to “unburden” by merging realism with the therapeutic benefits of mind, body, emotional, social, and spiritual awareness