Last Friday I went with seven friends to see A FREE MAN OF COLOR produced by Lincoln Center Theater (http://www.lct.org/) It is written by Tony Award winner John Guare (Six Degrees of Separation), is directed by Tony winner George C. Wolfe (Noise/Funk, Angels In America, Topdog/Underdog) and stars Tony winner Jeffrey Wright (Angels in America, Noise/Funk, Angels in America, Boycott, Ali), Mos (aka Mos Def), Joseph Marcell (Fresh Prince of Bel Air) and about 30 other people.
We had an amazing time. The play takes place in New Orleans, Haiti, and France in 1801 before the Louisana Territory was purchased by the United States from France. And people of color -- quadroons, octoroons, mulattos, sambos and other shades of black were not constrained by the social, economic, and political conventions that were governed by race and that peculiar institution like their neighbor to the east. Once Louisana became part of the United States, the sale and stoke of a pen said that your degree of blackness did not matter anymore. You were black. Period. All rights and privileges of being free and of color were revoked. Instantly.
Following the performance I had dinner with two of the seven folks I started with. We talked, laughed and debated about what we had just experienced. Before we knew it, it was 1:30 a.m.
Go see A FREE MAN OF COLOR. Now! Right now!
Been doing a lot of reading lately. Right now I am reading Terry McMillan's Getting to Happy, Her sequel to Waiting to Exhale. Terry is a master storyteller. I am having a ball reading about Savannah, Robin, Bernadine and Gloria 15 years later. It is wonderful to read about women who are not 25 years old and silly.
Had not read a sweeping saga in a long while until I was given a copy of Some Sing Some Cry, A novel by Ntozake Shange and her sister Ifa Bayeza. Seven generations of African American women, their love of life, of music, and what it means to be family. Wow. I was swept away.
I love to dance and recently found myself in a West African dance class taught by one of the featured dancers in the Broadway musical FELA! Hadn't been in a class in years, but I was moved to go after I danced with Temples of Praise (the dance ministry) and Prime Time (the ministry for people who are "nicely seasoned") at Emmanuel Baptist Church in Brooklyn. Oh I had danced during Prime Time emphasis weekend before. But never had my soul said "You've have got to dance!" So, I am dancing. And loving it.