An exciting Labor Day weekend of programming at Theater J wrapped up on Monday with a large turn out at 3 pm to see the stage reading of Jacqueline Lawton’s THE HAMPTON YEARS. For the record, this was draft #7 of the play. Back in January, at our first Locally Grown full length reading, we were on draft #3. Just this morning, we’ve received draft #8 from the playwright! That’s how inspiring, and useful, yesterday’s reading was for all of us.
We’re eager to hear from anyone who saw the reading yesterday. What a fascinating collection was there to witness the work! One of the most diverse crowds we’ve ever assembled for a Theater J reading; on a par with the readings we presented two years ago at The Lincoln Theatre. Our playwright discusses how that “Backstage at The Lincoln” series inspired her to conceive of this play for Theater J. How powerful the subject matter is — the emergence of a new generation of young African-American artists, coming of age during a time of trenchant segregation, under the tutelage of a Jewish refugee educator and artist whose family is in the process of perishing in Europe. The intertwined aspirations, aggrieved emotions, mutually appreciated struggle, and the inevitable tensions, jealousies and conflicting expectations and strategies make this drama an especially rich one; a play that continues to hone in on its dramatic core; its conflictual pay-dirt, while becoming more and more colorful with new research and humanity. Really proud we’re associated with the birth of this work.
And keen to hear the feedback from others, below. Look for updates on the playwright’s blog as well. Check her website for the latest. More to come, as we move onto the next round of workshops for the play in October!