Jubilee’s “African Company”
This week’s “Stage” page features an interview with Tre Garrett, the 30 year old director/playwright/filmmaker who assumed the role of artistic director at Jubilee Theatre in January. Although Garrett didn’t direct Jubilee’s current production of Carlyle Brown’s The African Company Presents Richard III – the estimable Phyllis Cicero did – he is friends with Brown and knows the script well. The play offers a striking evocation of a brief period in 1820’s New York when African American artists were drawing both black and white audiences to their Shakespearean stagings.
Here’s a four minute clip from Jubilee’s version of The African Company. And speaking of pioneering African American artists, here’s a monologue from Othello recorded in 1945 by the legendary singer and actor Paul Robeson. He was the first black actor to play the Moor with a white supporting cast on Broadway from 1943 to 1945, and at 296 performances, that production was also the longest running Shakespeare play to date on Broadway.