The Hampton Years was originally conceived in November of 2010 after a conversation with Shirley Serotsky, Theater J's Director of Literary and Public Programs. I had attended a reading of Calvin Alexander Ramsey’s play, The Green Book, which had been presented at the Lincoln Theatre as part of the “Backstage at the Lincoln” reading series in partnership with Theater J, the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, and the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities. The Green Book, inspired by “The Negro Motorist Green Book” - a travel guide used by African-Americans during segregation, tells the story of an African-American salesman and a holocaust survivor.
After the reading, Shirley and I went for a late dinner and drink. I picked her brain about the reading series, because I wanted to learn more about Theater J's interest in plays that explored the Black-Jewish relationship. I was very moved by their commitment and wanted to figure out how I could contribute. Later that night/by candlelight really as it was around 2:00am, I did a bit of research and found this amazing, profound and inspiring quote by John Biggers, which now serves as the inscription to The Hampton Years:
“A new dawn challenges this world and demands the salt of every one of us. There can be no doubt of our sodality, for in each of us we reflect one another’s image, and our composite image mirrors the tragedy and the comedy of the whole human race.” ~~ John Biggers
Then, this past Tuesday, I met with director Shirley Serotsky, dramaturg Otis Ramsey-Zoe, and artistic director Ari Roth for a wonderfully fruitful and productive script meeting. With notes in hand, I've spent the past few days working on the seventh draft. Taking occasional breaks to jog around Lincoln Park, check Facebook, write new blog entries, remind students of upcoming assignments, text and talk to my family, make dates with fabulous playwrights in town, check out last night's gorgeous and radiant blue moon, and of course, eat and sleep!
So, I'm really excited to hear the script for the first time since January and to experience it with the cast and the audience! Again, the reading will take place on Monday, September 3rd, at 3:00pm at the Millennium Stage North. If you able to attend, that's awesome!! It will be wonderful to see you! If not, I'll be sharing my Thoughts and Reflections in my next post!