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4 PMPDT (4/25)
Post-show talk with the artists, moderated by Malik Gaines
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In 1965, James Baldwin and William F. Buckley, Jr. were invited to The Cambridge University Union to debate the resolution “The American Dream is at the Expense of The American Negro.” New York’s provocative and award-winning theater ensemble Elevator Repair Service (ERS) returns to REDCAT to re-create their profoundly relevant confrontation in this work-in-progress showing of Baldwin and Buckley at Cambridge. As a more intimate and personal counterpoint to the debate, the final scene features a brief, imagined reunion between Baldwin and his close friend and confidante Lorraine Hansberry, who died only weeks before the debate.
The piece was conceived in late 2019 by long-time ERS company member Greig Sargeant. In the many months since those early conversations, the subject of the debate has only become more urgent. With both 1965 and 2021 in mind, Baldwin and Buckley at Cambridge – through a starkly simple design and an acting style that favors intimacy over impersonation – presents the debate as real, immediate, and of this moment.
Conceived by Greig Sargeant with ERS
Directed by John Collins
ENSEMBLE: April Matthis, Gavin Price, Greig Sargeant, Christopher Rashee Stevenson and Ben Williams
Stage Manager and Assistant Director: Maurina Lioce
Malik Gaines is an artist and writer based in New York. With the performance group My Barbarian, he’s currently preparing a survey of their work to open at the Whitney Museum in the Fall of 2021. Gaines is the author of Black Performance on the Outskirts of the Left and many articles and essays about art and performance. He is associate professor of Performance Studies at NYU Tisch School of the Arts.
The Elevator Repair Service is a brilliant experimental theatre company, famous for recasting classic texts anew…
The Daily Beast
“It’s the joy of discovery and rediscovery all at once.”