Playwrights and theatre directors have an advantage over historians. While the historian is forced to rely on the facts, playwrights and directors can reflect on history and re-imagine it by letting us ask the question “what if?” This is what Jeff Stetson does in his play The Meeting, in which he creates an imaginary meeting in a hotel room between two great political minds, Martin Luther King Jr and Malcolm X.
King was an American Baptist minister, activist, author, orator, humanitarian and major leader of the Civil Rights Movement. He advanced the Movement by engaging followers in acts of nonviolent civil disobedience, such as protests, demonstrations, marches, sit-ins and boycotts, but his philosophy was criticized by Malcolm X, whose more militant stance observed that “nobody ever got their freedom from singing.”
African-American leader and prominent figure in the Nation of Islam, Malcolm X articulated concepts of race pride and black nationalism in the 1950s and ’60s. Articulate, passionate and a naturally gifted and inspirational orator, Malcolm X exhorted blacks to cast off the shackles of racism “by any means necessary,” including violence.
The Meeting, a powerful play focusing on these two black political icons, will make this February’s Black History Month at the Market Theatre an event to remember. Jeff Stetson’s play is set in a Harlem hotel, where Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr engage in a spirited debate about their differing approaches to improving the lives of black people in a predominantly white society.
The Meeting is directed by the Market Theatre’s Artistic director James Ngcobo and stars Aubrey Poo, Brendon Daniels and Litha Bam.
Ngcobo has already directed several American plays, such as The Colored Museum, The Amen Corner, A Tribute to Maya Angelou and A Raisin in the Sun that resonate with local audiences. This year he chose The Meeting because of how the political debates in the play are so similar to South African political debates. Voice coach Iris Dawn Parker, who is also known for her striking theatre photography, will coach the actors on their accents.
This amazing interpretation of how the course of history could have been altered is the fourth Black History Month collaboration between the Market Theatre and the US Embassy in South Africa. Black History month is an annual observance in the United States, Canada and UK and it is fast growing in South Africa as a platform to honour important people and events in the history of the African diaspora.
Playwright Jeff Stetson
Director James Ngcobo
Lighting Design Wesley France
Set Design Nadya Cohen
AV Designer Jurgen Meekel
Costume Design Nthabiseng Makone
Sound Technician Ntuthuko Mbuyazi
Stage Manager Thulani Mngomezulu
02 – 26 February 2017
The Barney Simon @The Market Theatre
Tuesdays to Saturdays @ 20h15 and Sunday @15h15
To make block bookings, please contact Anthony Ezeoke 011 832 1641ext 121 or Ncebakazi Thintsila 011 832 1641 ext 135.
Student Price R65.00
Tuesday – Wednesday R95. 00
Friday – Saturday: R 195.00
Sunday: R 140.00