About a month ago I wrote my impression of the University Musical Society’s (University of Michigan) video presentation of James Anthony Tyler’s Some Old Black Man. This presentation is again available to stream on demand from March 1 – 12, 2021…and is really a don’t miss event! Here are the details:
For three weeks in Fall 2020, the creative team for this digital theater production quarantined in Ann Arbor, rehearsing and putting together this production under strict coronavirus safety protocols.
In Some Old Black Man, Calvin Jones (Wendell Pierce), a hip, coolly intellectual African-American college professor, moves his 82-year-old ailing but doggedly independent father, Donald Jones (Charlie Robinson), from Greenwald, Mississippi into his Harlem penthouse. The play begins with an argument over what to eat for breakfast, then turns into a generational clash over race, opportunity, and a decision that Calvin made years ago. Donald’s grumpiness is peppered with disturbing outbursts, revealing bits of his past, informed by growing up Black and poor in the South. Donald is wary that he isn’t seen by his gifted, accomplished son as being good enough, and Calvin resents Donald as being a self-righteous, relentlessly tough parent. Father-son strife escalates when their generational conflict is lensed through civil rights. Some Old Black Man frames racial prejudice with a bold probity rarely confronted and dramatized
And here is the link to UMS where you can register to stream the video and view two trailers related to the performance. This is going on my calendar for a second viewing!
“You can blow out a candle, but you can’t blow out a fire. Once the flames begin to catch, the wind will blow it higher.” – Peter Gabriel, Biko
In honor of Black History Month, we are proud to bring the message of Peter Gabriel’s “Biko” back to the forefront, 40 years after its initial release. Inspired by the death of anti-apartheid activist Steve Biko while in police custody, this song’s relevance still holds true with the unfortunate police brutality that continues to take place in the USA, Nigeria and many places around the world. More than 25 musicians from seven countries join Gabriel for this global rendition to share a message of unity, peace, and hope, including Beninese vocalist and activist Angélique Kidjo, Silkroad’s Yo-Yo Ma, and bass legend Meshell Ndegeocello.