On Monday, June 17 at 6:30pm, Shirley Serotsky and I will be participating in a Footlights Discussion on The Hampton Years. Each month, 35-50 Footlights members meet over dinner with playwrights, directors, and scholars to discuss modern drama. I first spoke with them back in February of 2009, when I was dramaturg for the Round House Theatre's production of Sarah Ruhl’s Eurydice. Later, many of them attended the workshop production of Anna K, which was also directed by Shirley Serotsky and presented as part of Round House's Silver Spring Series.
Department. It tells him his entire family back in Europe is dead, murdered in the Holocaust. One of his colleagues, Charles White, an African-American painter, expresses his horror and sorrow and asks, “Is there anything I can do?”
“No,” Viktor replies. “You all, you deal with so much, but you can’t know what this means. You’re forced to live in a segregated world. You have to ride in separate train cars and sit at the back of the bus. But with all this, they’re not burning you in ovens.”
The mass organized killing of the Holocaust and the mass organized segregation of the U.S. shape the attitudes and the characters of The Hampton Years, which is set at Hampton Institute just before and during World War II, a time when the U.S., even the North, was still shackled with segregation. It tells of two groups – African-Americans and Jews – trying to adjust to and learn from each others’ pain. But it also raises other fascinating questions:
The Footlights discussion of these topics and more will take place Monday, June 17 at Alfio’s, 4515 Willard Avenue, Chevy Chase, MD, on the ground floor of the Willoughby Apartments in Friendship Heights, a short walk from the north entrance of the Friendship Heights Metro station. Street parking is limited but valet parking is free at Alfio’s, if you drive.
Dinner is at 6:30 and the discussion begins at 7:30 and ends at 9. Cost for dinner is just $13, and that includes tax and tip. You will get a salad, bread, choice among six entrees, ice cream, and tea or coffee. Cash or check – no credit cards, please. Beer, wine, and cocktails are available from the bar. You may come for the discussion only if you wish. We appreciate a $5 contribution to Footlights.
Make your reservations with Phyllis Bodin 301-986-1768 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Reservations and cancellations will be accepted until noon of the day of the discussion.
Read The Hampton Years: For those reserving for the dinner-discussion, electronic copies of the draft script are available. Copyright restrictions apply. The document is for distribution only to those attending the discussion. Contact Robin Larkin,email@example.com or 240-669-6300.
See The Hampton Years: In performance through June 30 at Theater J. Footlights members may receive a 20% discount off the ticket price for any performance by using the code FOOTLIGHTS. For more information, visit www.theaterj.org or call (800) 494-TIXS.
I'm a playwright, dramaturg, and teaching artist. It is here where you'll find my queries and musings on life, theater and the world. My posts advocate for diversity, inclusion, and equity in the American Theatre and updates on my own work. Please enjoy!