“REPARATIONS”

November 16, 2019 at 4:45 am

We will share the details about a provocative new play at the Billie Holiday Theatre that tackles the ripple effects of America’s legacy of racism.

For ticket information click here .

Aired on November 15, 2019.

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> A RECENTLY WIDOWED BOOK
EDITOR HAS AN AFFAIR WITH A
YOUNGER BLACK WRITER.
SOON AFTER THEIR DARK SECRETS
ARE REVEALED.
THAT IS THE SET UP FOR
REPARATIONS, A PLAY DRAWING RAVE
REVIEWS AND NOW PART OF THE NEW
WINDOWS FESTIVAL.
THE PLAY EXPLORES THE DYNAMIC OF
RACE, CLASS, AND GENDER IN
TODAY'S AMERICA PROMPTING THE
AUDIENCE TO THINK ABOUT THE
PRICE OF RACIAL INJUSTICE.
AND TALKING ABOUT THE PLAY, ONE
OF THE STARS, LET'S START WITH
THE TITLE AND THEN WHAT THE PLAY
IS ABOUT.
BECAUSE IF YOU KNOW NOTHING
ABOUT IT, YOU HEAR THE TITLE AND
YOUR THOUGHT IS FINANCIAL
RESTITUTION AND IT IS ABOUT SO
MUCH MORE.
HOW DID YOU BRIEFLY DESCRIBE IT
SO FRIENDS AND RELATIVES WHEN
YOU DECIDED TO DO THIS?
>> OH, I SAY SOMETHING SIMILAR
TO THAT.
I SAY COME IN WITH AN
EXPECTATION AS WE ALL WILL ABOUT
REPARATIONS, ABOUT LIKE YOU SAID
FINANCIAL RESTITUTION, MAKING
AMENDS, AND EXPECT THAT HALFWAY
THROUGH THE FIRST ACT, THE
EXPECTATIONS YOU HAD IT WILL BE
FLIPPED.
AND I NEVER TRIED TO GIVE AWAY
THAT.
BECAUSE OF EVERYTHING THAT IT
WOULD HURT SO MUCH.
THERE IS A LOT OF GREAT TWISTS
THAT MAKE IT, LIKE YOU SAID
ABOUT CLASS, ABOUT RACE, ABOUT
GENDER.
AND LBGTQ.
THERE IS A LOT OF THINGS IN HERE
THAT ARE HIT NOT ON THE HEAD TOO
MUCH, BUT JUST PERFECTLY PLACED
TO MAKE YOU THINK ABOUT THE
THINGS HAPPENING IN THE COUNTRY
RIGHT NOW.
>> WHAT HAS THE REACTION BEEN
THAT YOU'RE SEEING FOR THE
AUDIENCES AFTER THE PLAY IS
PERFORMED?
>> FIRST, I LOVE THE BILLY
HOLIDAY THEATER.
>> WE DID A STORY ON IT HERE IN
FACT.
SO MUCH WONDERFUL AND HISTORICAL
WORK WITH HISTORICAL ACTORS
THERE.
>> YES, AND THE AUDIENCE IS
INSTANT.
I DON'T EVEN HAVE TO WAIT FOR
INTERMISSION TO LISTEN TO THE
VOICES.
THEY'RE HAPPENING RIGHT THERE
DURING THE SHOW AND THIS IS THE
TYPE OF SHOW THAT YOU CAN LAUGH,
AND YOU CAN CRY, OR YOU KNOW
WHATEVER YOU'RE PROVOKED TO DO.
THIS IS THE TYPE OF THOUSAND
WHERE THAT HAPPENS.
SO EVERY NIGHT WE'RE FINDING
THAT SOME OF THE THEMES HITTING
PEOPLE VERY HARD, BUT MORE THAN
ANYTHING, AFTER I WALK OUT, AS
WELL AS MY OTHER CAST MATES AND
WE WALK OUT AFTER THE SHOW TO
MEET THE AUDIENCE, WE'RE FINDING
OUT THAT PEOPLE ARE BEING
HEALED.
>> WHY DO YOU THINK THAT IS.
THERE ARE SO MANY EXPERIENCES
AND DIFFERENT ASPECTS WHETHER IT
IS THROUGH PHYSICAL ABUSE,
SEXUAL ABUSE, RACIAL INEQUALITY,
DISENFRANCHISEMENT, THIS TRAUMA,
WE DON'T SEE IT PRESENTED ON
STAGE IN A WAY IN WHICH YOU SEE
SOMEONE THAT REFLECTS YOUR OWN
EXPERIENCE AND HOW THEY'RE
DEALING WITH FORGIVENESS AND
THAT TRAUMA.
SO MY CHARACTER, THIS YOUNG
NOVELIST, WHO IS TRYING TO GET
THIS CHARACTER AND THE JUSTICE
THAT HE WANTS FOR BLACK PEOPLE
IN AMERICA, HE IS STRUGGLING AND
BATTLING WITH A LOT OF THOSE
PARTICULAR THINGS.
AND WHEN I TALK TO PEOPLE
AFTERWARDS, THEY'RE HOLDING
THEIR CHEST AND THEY'RE HOLDING
THEIR HEARTS, AND THEY'RE SAYING
THANK YOU.
THEY'RE SAYING THANK YOU SO MUCH
FOR PRESENTING THIS.
THANK YOU FOR THE PLAYWRIGHT, MY
STORY WAS REFLECTED ON THAT
STAGE AND I FEEL LIKE I CAN GO
FORWARD, AND HELP AND HEAL FROM
THIS.
>> LET ME ASK YOU ABOUT YOUR
CORPORATE BUSINESS WORLD AND YOU
WOULD HAVE BEEN A VERY DIFFERENT
BUSINESS THERE.
I WANT TO DO THAT.
WHAT DO FANS SAY WHEN YOU SAY
GUESS WHAT I'M GOING TO DO NEXT.
>> I'M LUCKY TO HAVE VERY
SUPPORTIVE FAMILY MEMBERS AND
GREAT FANS TO DO IT.
I FEEL LIKE EVERYTHING IS ROOTED
IN THERE, TOO.
LOVE AND FEAR, AND SOMETIMES YOU
FEAR IF I GET OUT OF THIS
PARTICULAR CAREER I WON'T HAVE
THE FINANCIAL STABILITY OR I
WON'T FIND SUCCESS, AND THOSE
ARE JUST ALL OF THE FEARS AND I
CHOSE LOVE AT THE TIME AND I
SAID I HAVE WIBEEN WORKING IN
CORPORATE AMERICA 13 OR 14 HOURS
A DAY, AND THAT IS WHAT I LOVE
TO DO.
THEY CAN SEE IT IN MY EYES, THEY
TALKED ABOUT IT, THAT I DID NOT
SEE WHEN THEY WERE TALKING ABOUT
MY CORPORATE JOB.
THEY'RE LIKE YOU HAVE TO GO BE
HAPPY.
>> I ONLY SAW THAT YOU GET TO
THE BACK END AND YOU SAY TO
YOURSELF YOU KNOW WHAT?
WHY DIDN'T I TRY THAT, WHY
DIDN'T I TAKE A SHOT AT IT.
>> YEAH, YOU WILL FIND OUT.
LET ME ASK ONE BIG PICTURE
QUESTION ABOUT THE PLAY.
IN LOOKING AT SORT OF THE
MISSION STATEMENT, THE
DESCRIPTION ABOUT THIS, AND WHAT
THEY'RE DOING, ONE OF THE LINES
THAT CAUGHT MY ATTENTION WAS
THAT THE QUOTE THAT WAS
AFRICAN-AMERICAN STORY IS THE
VERY FOUNDATION OF THE AMERICAN
STORY.
WHAT DO YOU THINK THAT MEANS?
>> HONESTLY I THINK THAT
QUOTATION IS FAR REACHING, AND
IT IS PROFOUND IF CAN MEAN
ANYTHING TO ANYONE.
BUT TO ME, WHAT I THINK IT IS
SAYING IS THAT THE CIRCUMSTANCES
THAT SURROUNDED THE AFRICANS
BEING ENSLAVED AND BROUGHT TO
AMERICA AT THAT PARTICULAR TIME,
AND THE 1600s, THE TRANSATLANTIC
SLAVE TRADE, THE COUNTRY TRULY
BEGAN WITH SLAVERY.
I MEAN, WE CAN LOOK --
>> SO INTERWOVEN THAT YOU
CAN'T --
>> YOU CAN'T SEPARATE THE TWO.
YOUF CAN'T SEPARATE THE
INDUSTRIES FROM THE COTTON, THE
TEXTILES, THE BANKS, AND ALL OF
THE INDUSTRY THAT CAME.
>> WE'RE LEARNING MORE AND MORE
ABOUT THAT NOW.
COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES BUILT
LITERALLY ON THE BACKS OF
SLAVES.
IT IS A FLAY IT MAKES YOU THINK,
IT MAKES YOU WANT TO TALK, AND
THAT IS THE GREATEST VIRTUAL OF
ANY KIND OF ART THAT WE CAN
PROVIDE.
I THINK THE FOLKS IN THE
THEATER, FILM, AND TV WORLD ARE
THRILLED THAT YOU MADE THAT
SHIFT.
>> APPRECIATE IT.
>> A REMINDER FOR YOU FOLKS OUT
THERE, REPARATIONS ARE PLAYING
AT THE BILLIE HOLIDAY THEATER

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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