WordPress alerts me when someone has linked to my blog. This weekend I learned that a blogger named Esther linked last week to my 2008 conversation with playwright James Still.
Esther’s post expresses delight with several of the theatre grants recently awarded by the National Endowment for the Arts. One of them is a grant for $30,000 to the Indiana Repertory Theatre “to support the commission and development of April 4, 1968 by playwright-in-residence James Still. The play will be based on Senator Robert Kennedy’s six-minute speech in Indianapolis on the night of Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination.”
Yay, James! Yay, IRT! Yay, NEA! Hurray for new plays!
(And thanks, Esther and WordPress!)
Hope Baugh – www.indytheatrehabit.com
By the way, I chose the photo above, called “Canal Kaleidoscope” and taken by Carl Van Rooy, because I think that Kennedy made that speech somewhere along the canal or on Indiana Avenue. (And now I don’t want to go look it up to confirm because I like this photo either way.)
That speech has fascinated me ever since Time magazine’s Joe Klein mentioned it in a keynote address to librarians at one of our national conferences. He said (if I remember correctly) that Caucasian Kennedy was speaking to a mostly African-American audience when he got the news of King’s death from an aide. Joe told us that Kennedy simply shared the tragic news with the crowd and shared their grief honestly, which probably prevented riots, something that could never happen with today’s cell phones and spin doctors. In any case, I will be interested to see how James Still brings it to life again in a play.