The Columns

James Baldwin Theatrical Event at W&L

— by on March 8th, 2012

A group of theatrical folk from New York, including three alumni of Washington and Lee University, are on campus this week working on the James Baldwin Project. Their efforts will culminate on Friday, March 9, with a work of theater based on Baldwin’s writings and on what the participants describe as “conversations we feel are necessary to help us all understand more of what our country is today, and how history fits into all of our identities.”

Baldwin, the famed African-American writer, created plays, poems, novels and essays. His many works include the novel Go Tell It on the Mountain and the essay collection Notes of a Native Son. As the project’s organizers describe Baldwin’s influence: “He addressed so well what is often seen as unaddressable in our American history: namely class, race, sexuality, economy, art and government.”

The Baldwin Project participants at W&L include three alumni:  Christopher Cartmill, of the Class of 1984, the 2009 W&L Flournoy Festival Playwright; director Jenna Worsham, Class of 2010; and actor Kevin Mannering, also Class of 2010.

They are joined by director Lear deBessonet; playwrights Lucy Thurber, the 2010 W&L Flournoy Festival Playwright, and Julissa Contreras; and actors Alexander Lambie, David Zheng and Cesar Rosado.

The March 9 presentation is scheduled for 7 to 9 p.m. in the Johnson Theatre of W&L’s Lenfest Hall. It is free and open to the public; no tickets are required. It is sponsored by the Washington and Lee Department of Theater and Dance.

For more information on the James Baldwin Project and the March 9 event, contact Owen Collins, associate professor of theater, at collinso@wlu.edu.