Another Evening with James Baldwin
When last I wrote on March 25 we were in the midst of a pandemic and theaters around the world were dark. Here we are in late July in the midst of a pandemic and live theater remains but a dream.
Sadly, other things have not changed either – deep and systemic racial and social inequalities persist in our society. But the shocking death of George Floyd and too many other people of color has prompted those with a conscience to take that war to the streets of this country in numbers never seen in our lifetime. Together with other theaters in Madison we signed a statement of solidarity with those protesting in the streets (see our web site).
As a theater company, our response is to bring you Another Evening with James Baldwin – an expanded reprise of the show we staged last November. The same very talented four performers – Quanda Johnson, Melvin Hinton, Akiweke Burayidi and Oliver Gomez, but with more of everything: prose, poetry, song, stories, dance and music. If you saw the November show, watch this, for much is new.
The case for Baldwin as the example and guide we need in these times is made forcefully in a new biography by Professor Eddie S. Glaude, Jr. The book is Begin Again and debuted at #5 on the New York Times bestseller list. Professor Glaude is Chair of African American Studies at Princeton University and will be interviewed on Madison’s WORT, 89.9 FM at noon the day of the show. Allen Ruff is host of the show, A Public Affair, and Melvin Hinton will join the conversation. You can also stream the show from wortfm.org or catch it later from their archives.
The Brecht work we had hoped to stage must wait for next summer. Our fall project will be to record a show we did in 2018, Acting Un-American: HUAC and the Federal Theatre Project, and put it with photos, essays and interviews, on our web site. The other reading that fell victim to COVID was She Fights for the Motherland: Rewriting the History of Women in World War II. We are planning that work, based on the book The Unwomanly Face of War by Nobel Prize winning oral historian Svetlana Alexievich, for spring – at least as a recording or as both recording and live reading.
All of our work is free – that is a core principal with Fermat’s. Thank you to those who gave after my last letter and appeal in March – that brought in $751. We are proud to have as our partner for the Baldwin reprise the Madison Public Library’s Beyond the Page Project, which is in turn funded by the Madison Community Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities.
But the new Baldwin and the fall recording will take a bit more – we do pay our actors/readers, the Baldwin venue is not cheap, and the Acting Un-American show will be professionally recorded. So we are in need of ~$500 to get thru this calendar year. Fermat’s is now a 501c3 tax exempt organization, and donating is easy – the Donate button on our web site allows you to pay with PayPal or credit card and has details on where to send a check.
Please join us online for the Baldwin show (and the noon interview with Prof Glaude), check out our Facebook and web pages and someday we will see you all in person from the stage!
Fermat’s Last Theater Co.
Produced by Fermat's Last Theater Company at Facebook,
Performances: August 13, 2020
This will be a free live stream from Café Coda on Thursday, August 13 @ 8 PM. To watch go to the Café Coda Madison Facebook page (facebook.com/CafeCodaMadison) and click on the event link.
Call for reservations or more information.