This House Believes the American Dream Is at the Expense of the Negro | Oracle Theatre | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader

This House Believes the American Dream Is at the Expense of the Negro Closing (Theater and Galleries) Free Member Picks Recommended The Short List (Theater) Image

When: Mondays, Fridays-Sundays. Continues through Sept. 20 2015

Last year, when director Zachary Baker-Salmon and his cast and crew at Oracle Productions began preparing This House Believes the American Dream Is at the Expense of the American Negro, their re-creation of a debate between James Baldwin and William F. Buckley Jr. at Cambridge University in October 1965, they had no idea that on August 9, Michael Brown, a black teenager in Ferguson, Missouri, would be shot and killed by Darren Wilson, a white police officer. When the original production of This House Believes premiered three weeks later at the Chicago Fringe Festival, it felt less like a historical re-creation than a debate over current events. A year later—after Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Freddie Gray, Sandra Bland, and, most recently, the anniversary protests in Ferguson, not to mention the rise of #BlackLivesMatter and the ongoing debate over the Confederate flag—it still does. The original debate was broadcast on British television; you can watch it now on YouTube in the quiet and privacy of your own home. Johnard Washington, the actor who once again plays Baldwin, is compelling, but he doesn't quite capture the real Baldwin's mix of cool and passion. And Jeremy Clark, who reprises his performance as Buckley, sometimes goes too heavy on Buckley's high-WASP mid-Atlantic accent and misses the reptilian quality so apparent in the film. So why venture out to the theater at all? Continue reading >>

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