Logan Lynn writes a review of and his reactions to the TalkBack conversation after A Lesson Before Dying on Sunday, March 11th:
“This past weekend my partner and I went to see a performance of A Lesson Before Dying, Romulus Linney’s play set in a small Louisiana bayou town in 1948. It was based on the 1993 novel of the same name by Ernest J. Gaines and is about a young black man who has been wrongfully accused, convicted of murder, and awaits his death in the parish courthouse. While in court the convicted man’s life is compared to that of a hog, and this becomes his truth. His godmother enlists the unwilling aid of the town’s young plantation teacher to carry out her mission of teaching her godson to walk to the electric chair like an innocent man rather than the animal the white man has made him out to be throughout his life. Questions of racism and morality are confronted in visits between the two men for the duration of the piece and, in the end, the lessons shared and learned transform them both — along with the entire town.
After the very moving, emotional performance ended, founders of the August Wilson Red Door Project (an organization that “uses the arts as a catalyst for creating lasting, positive change in the racial ecology of Portland”) took the stage for a dialogue about the experience we had just collectively emerged from….”