The difficult life of author Richard Wright is the subject of a one-man play, “Black Boy,” to be performed by Charles Holt at Westmont’s Porter Theatre one night only, Thurs. Nov. 1, at 8 p.m. A suggested donation of $5 will benefit the student-lead group Racial Equality and Justice (REJ). The actor will hold an open forum in Hieronymus Lounge Friday, November 2, at 3:15 p.m. to discuss the production.
“Black Boy” is a production of The American Place Theatre’s Literature to Life® Arts Education Program, led by artistic director Wynn Handman and executive director David Kener. The performance is made by special arrangement with the Intercultural Programs Office and the theatre department at Westmont.
Adapted by Wynn Handman from Wright’s landmark autobiography, this poignant coming-of-age story traces the many boyhood struggles of one of the most important African-American writers of the 20th century, from growing up poor and being abandoned by his father to facing “Jim Crow” prejudice, social injustice and life-threatening racism in early 20th-century America.
The Washington Post has called Holt’s “Black Boy” “a lucid and self-possessed performance.” The actor transforms into 20 different characters, always returning to Wright as the narrator.
Holt has starred in some of the most celebrated productions in American theatre including “Jesus Christ Superstar,” “Smokey Joe’s Cafe,” and the “Lion King.” The first person of color to star as ‘Rocky’ in the European tour of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” he has also appeared in “Law & Order: Criminal Intent,” “All My Children,” and several independent films.
REJ is a group of students seeking to self-educate about issues of race in America. They are raising money for a spring trip to Mississippi and Alabama.