Felicia Chappelle on return to the stage: ‘There is nothing more killing than being too silent’

Local artist returns to stage after 20-year hiatus

Credit: Will Jones

Credit: Will Jones

Yellow Springs-based actress Felicia Chappelle spent a few moments searching for a quote that best explains why she has returned to the stage after more than two decades before coming up with her own: "Art inside of an artist refuses to be silent."

She said she is ready to show the world the voice she always had, but was not using.

"When I left entertainment, I imagined there were a thousand other things I wanted to do, but an artist is an artist and I am back," Chappelle, the co-host of "Talk to Me" on 88.9 WCSU with Venita Kelley, said. "I feel I should contribute (to the arts). There is nothing more killing than being too silent."

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Chappelle's one-woman show — "Interrupted Motherhood" — will be staged at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, July 19 and 20, at Antioch College's  Foundry Theater,  920 Corry St.

Doors open at 7 p.m.

Tickets are $12 to $20 at the door or in advance at womenworkwonders.com

A meet-and-greet will follow each performance.

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The play is about Vanessa, a young divorced mother juggling aging parents, addiction, sexual wellness and other personal challenges.

According to its description, the work asks what happens when you give up everything to love a man, but end up raising his children alone?

Chappelle, a former production assistant for NPR’s All Things Considered, studied acting as an Antioch College student. She traveled the United States and the United Kingdom as a lead actress with the Antioch troupe.

She left entertainment to raise a family after getting married.

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The mother of four said she returned to Yellow Springs in 1996 to help care for her father, William David Chappelle III, a former Antioch College music professor who sang with the Dayton Opera Fanatics and Grace Methodist Church.

Mr. Chappelle, a well-known member of the community, died July 29, 1998 at age 59.

Credit: Will Jones

Credit: Will Jones

At the first night of his juke joint barn party held last April in Yellow Springs, comedian Dave Chappelle credited his sister Felicia as the  first in his family to be a Prince fan.

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Felicia Chappelle, the owner of Black Fit Presents theater company and the founder of Art Is Our Drum Collective,  said she worked on “Interrupted Motherhood” for about a year and has presented versions of the work about a dozen times locally and as far as way as Philadelphia.

She has been blown away by the range of people who have related to the piece.

“Storytelling makes it clear that we have more in common than we otherwise imagined,” she said.

A national tour is in the works for the production, the result of a partnership with creative director Will Walker III.

“It is really exciting to be launching from Ohio,” Chappelle said. “I am really glad to be sharing my work with the local community.”

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