The Following comes from the Theatre Centre press release:
“Blues for Mr. Charlie”, a gripping play by James Baldwin loosely based on the Emmett Till murder of 1955, will be jointly presented by the Chattanooga Theatre Centre and Destiny Theatre Company April 15 through 30, 2011.
The Baldwin play was originally scheduled by Destiny for February in conjunction with Black History Month, but when Destiny Theatre’s arrangement with Tennessee Temple University for theatre space came to an end, plans – and production schedules – changed.
“The CTC had originally planned to co-produce the Foote play with Destiny,” explained George Quick, producing director of the Theatre Centre. “When their circumstances changed, this was the perfect solution.”
Quick says the partnership is gratifying in a practical as well as an artistic sense.
“The Chattanooga Theatre Centre works hard to foster more racial diversity throughout our operation,” said Quick. “We’ve been successful on our Board of Directors, in our classes, in our audiences, and to an extent in our Youth Theatre. But we struggle when it comes to attracting a diverse group of actors to our auditions and that translates into who you see on stage and what plays we present. Our partnership with Destiny helps us overcome this barrier.”
Karl Gardner, executive director for Destiny Theatre Centre, says: “We are now in a time in our lives where Americans of ALL racial backgrounds need to understand that diversity is the art of seeing ‘character not color’. This co-production of ‘Blues for Mister Charlie’ between Destiny Theatre Company and the Chattanooga Theatre Centre is a PERFECT example of this very idea.”
The Chattanooga Theatre Centre and Destiny Theatre Company will partner again this summer for the production of the musical “Hairspray.”
Auditions for “Blues for Mr. Charlie” will be held Sunday and Monday, February 20 and 21, at 7:30 at the Chattanooga Theatre Centre, 400 River Street. Roles are available for African-American and white actors in the late teens to 50s age range. Hope Alexander is directing the production. For more information, visit www.TheatreCentre.com, or call 267-8534.
The following is published in the New York Times to mark the passing of James Baldwin who, “served as a conscience,” for the masses as Henry Louis Gates so eloquently put it.
In the preface to his 1964 play, ”Blues for Mister Charlie,” noting that the work had been inspired ”very distantly” by the 1955 murder of a black youth, Emmett Till, in Mississippi, Mr. Baldwin wrote:
”What is ghastly and really almost hopeless in our racial situation now is that the crimes we have committed are so great and so unspeakable that the acceptance of this knowledge would lead, literally, to madness. The human being, then, in order to protect himself, closes his eyes, compulsively repeats his crimes, and enters a spiritual darkness which no one can describe.”