A Conversation Between America’s Past and Its Promise

On Monday, Feb. 22, Bay Street Theatre in Sag Harbor hosts “In Case You Hadn’t Heard: A Conversation Between America’s Past and Its Promise,” an online theatrical presentation presented in conjunction with the Eastville Historical Society and the Southampton African American Museum in honor of Black History Month.

The world-premiere production, which starts at 8 p.m., “is a provocative and unvarnished look at issues surrounding race in America,” according to the theater.

The presentation is adapted and directed by Reggie D. White, drawing on the words of 20 thought-leaders of the past and present. Their words are brought together to create a “conversation” between a group of four actors, as they candidly discuss what it means to be black in America.

The evening will include a talkback between the director and the actors, led by Dr. Georgette Grier-Key of the Eastville Community Historical Society. Tickets are $10 and are available for purchase online 24/7 at baystreet.org.

“As words from the past and hopes for the future collide, a frank and forthright dialogue pours forth, sounding a call to action,” according to the theater, which warns that this presentation includes language that may be upsetting to some viewers.

The content of In Case You Haven’t Heard is drawn from speeches and writings of the following 20 influential African Americans:

  • Houston Baker
  • James Baldwin
  • Mary McLeod Bethune
  • London Breed
  • Keiajah Brooks
  • Stokely Carmichael
  • Ta-Nehisi Coates
  • Angela Davis
  • Dick Gregory
  • Fannie Lou Hamer
  • Lorraine Hansberry
  • Jemele Hill
  • Marley K.
  • Tamika Mallory
  • Robert P. Moses
  • Khalid Abdul Muhammad
  • Barack Obama
  • Amber Ruffin
  • Jesse Williams
  • Malcolm X

“Bay Street is so excited to present this bold and frank theatrical piece,” says Bay Street Artistic Director Scott Schwartz, “Reggie D. White has created a fascinating conversation using the words of great thinkers, activists, and leaders, and we hope it will inspire further conversations among our audience and community.”

“The fight for transformational racial justice in this country is an ongoing four-century-long endeavor,” says adapter and director Reggie D. White. “In that time, we’ve heard millions of souls raise their voices in spaces big and small. “In Case You Hadn’t Heard” imagines a forward-looking conversation between those souls—with gratitude for the legacy they’ve left us and fully aware of how much work is left ahead.”

“This piece lifts up the thoughts, hopes, and worries of 20 Americans who have given their voices, their time, and their lives to the cause of our collective liberation,” he added. It’s “a love letter to the joy, passion, and brilliance that have been the lifeblood of our enduring fight to make America live up to the promises she made to herself.” 

Beth Young

Beth Young has been covering the East End since the 1990s. In her spare time, she runs around the block, tinkers with bicycles, tries not to drown in the Peconic Bay and hopes to grow the perfect tomato. You can send her a message at editor@eastendbeacon.com

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