Bay Street Theater and Sag Harbor Center for the Arts, in partnership with Eastville Community Historical Society and the Southampton African American Museum, is pleased to announce the online world premiere of “In Case You Hadn’t Heard: A Conversation Between America’s Past And Its Promise” on Monday, February 22 at 8:00 p.m. The evening will include a talkback between the director and the actors, led by Dr. Georgette Grier-Key of Eastville Community Historical Society.
The mission of Eastville Community Historical Society is defined as “A Sag Harbor-based not-for-profit committed to preserving historic buildings within the Eastville area of Sag Harbor, New York, and to the research, collection, and dissemination of information regarding the history of the community. The historical area is recognized as one of the earliest known working-class communities composed of African Americans, Native Americans and European immigrants.”
Currently, Dr. Georgette Lovette Grier-Key is the inaugural Executive Director of Eastville Community Historical Society, and is a National Trust for Historic Preservation Diversity Scholar and Arcus Fellow. She is also the President of the Long Island Historical Societies, previously called the Association of Suffolk County Historical Societies (ASCHS). “Under her leadership the organization has expanded their geographic territory from Montauk to Brooklyn and successfully applied for an organization name change with approval from the New York State Board of Regents. As a founding member and lead organizer of the Pyrrhus Concer Action Committee her continued work led to the purchasing of the Concer property and continued rebuilding of the formerly enslaved Pyrrhus Concer’s homestead in the heart of Southampton Village. Historic African American communities Sag Harbor Hills, Azurest, and Ninevah (SANS) in Sag Harbor recently achieved national and state historic designations, to which she served as the lead advisor.”
“In Case You Hadn’t Heard: A Conversation Between America’s Past and Its Promise” is a provocative and unvarnished look at issues surrounding race in America. The world-premiere theatrical presentation is adapted and directed by Reggie D. White, and sources found text to draw 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. As words from the past and hopes for the future collide, a frank and forthright dialogue pours forth, sounding a call to action. (Note: This presentation includes language that may be upsetting to some viewers.)
The content of “In Case You Hadn’t Heard: A Conversation Between America’s Past and Its Promise” is drawn from speeches and writings of 20 influential African Americans, including: 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, and Malcolm X.
Dr. Grier-Key addressed the importance of this event, particularly at this period in our history, and how it came about by explaining, “Black history should not just be a celebratory remembrance, it is also a time for re-examination, reflection, learning, and sharing. The experiences of African Americans is not a monolithic, nor should our history be subjugated to slavery or eras of exceptionalism, but rather a collective and a continuum of our whole history and contributions to America. African Americans have fought persistently to gain their freedom and liberties as a birthright and as citizens.”
Commenting on the choice of director and performers, she revealed, “‘In Case You Haven’t Heard’ is masterfully crafted to utilize voices of iconic cultural ambassadors to recapitulate times of triumph, pain and sorrow, discrimination, and citizenship. This brilliant idea of a convergent conversation between varied figures of history promises to be enlightening and maybe even edutainment. Memory and history are shaped by events and what we choose to retain often is a fraction of time and often vague. As humans we want to remember the happy ending yielding the best result. If this conversation happened I believe, as Audre Lorde does, ‘It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those difference.'”
Below is the Background on Director and Actors:
Reggie D. White is a New York-based multidisciplinary artist and educator who most recently appeared in the Vineyard Theatre’s virtual piece, “Lessons in Survival, which he co-conceived. Before Broadway began its indefinite shutdown, he also appeared in the 11-time Tony-nominated two-part epic, “The Inheritance.” Other acting credits include NYTW, The Public Theater, 59E59, Arden Theatre, Berkeley Rep, and La Jolla Playhouse. As a director, his work has been featured at Bay Street Theater, The Public Theater, Atlantic Acting School, New York Winterfest, Bay Area Children’s Theatre, Berkeley Playhouse, AlterTheatre Ensemble, and more. He is an alumnus of the Atlantic Acting School, where he now serves as School Artistic Director, a recipient of the TBA TITAN Award, the TCG Fox Fellowship, and is a company member of The Williams Project, a living wage theatre company.
Darryl Gene Daughtry, Jr. hails from Pittsburgh and is an MFA graduate of the Juilliard Drama Program’s Group 48. Prior to Juilliard, Darryl spent his undergraduate years at Temple University, earning a BA in Theater Studies. Beyond acting, Darryl dabbles in both fashion and music production. He also spent two summers in Botswana as a teaching artist, working alongside both students and the surrounding community. His Off-Broadway credits include The Public Theatre’s Shakespeare in the Park productions of “Coriolanus,” directed by Dan Sullivan. Broadway credits include “The Inheritance” by Matthew Lopez, directed by Stephan Daldry.
Crystal Dickinson is an actor, educator, and a New Jersey native. Her Broadway credits include the Tony Award-winning play, “Clybourne Park,” for which she received an illustrious Theater World Award, and the Tony-nominated play, “You Can’t Take It With You,” alongside James Earl Jones and Rose Byrne. She has performed Off-Broadway at Lincoln Center, The Public Theater, Playwrights Horizons, and The Signature Theater, and most recently Theater for A New Audience. Film and television credits include: “I Origins,” “This Is Where I Leave You,” “The Good Wife,” “Feed the Beast,” “New Amsterdam,” and recurring roles on Showtime’s “The Chi” and ABC’s “For Life.” Crystal has had an illustrious career teaching acting and coaching at Juilliard, Stella Adler Studio, Spelman College, NYU, Princeton, Pace University, and both of her alumni schools, University of Illinois and Seton Hall University. A proud MFA graduate of The University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, she also studied at the London Academy for Music and Dramatic Art, and is an elite member of the Lincoln Center Directors Lab.
Jason Veasey is a New York-based actor and singer who has been fortunate to do what he loves on stage and screen – most notably on Broadway in “The Lion King” as well as the touring company. On stage he was most recently seen in the critically acclaimed “A Strange Loop” at Playwrights Horizons. He’s also been seen at The Public Theater, Actors Theater of Louisville, The Denver Center, and many other theaters. On the big screen, he has been seen in “American Gangster,” television credits include “Chicago Fire,” “High Maintenance” and the upcoming “Starling.”
Clarissa Vickerie is a New York-based actress whose most recent works include “Lordes” at the New Ohio Theater, “A Little Water Clears Us” at the Wolfson Gielgud Studio in London, and stage-managing an Off-Broadway production entitled “Over the Rainbow: The Rock Ballet.” She is a graduate of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, where she received training at the Atlantic Acting School, and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. She has also trained with the Black Arts Intensive at the Billie Holiday Theater in Brooklyn, New York.
Speaking to her hopes of what viewers of all ages might take away from this event, Dr. Grier-Key concluded, “As a take-away, it is my hope that many of the young adults who hit the streets, marching, rallying, and demanding justice keep on holding up the bloodstained banner for freedom, justice, and liberty. How far have we come and where are we going? When you think about the saying, ‘you can’t know where you’re going, without knowing where you’ve been,’ rings true and serves us now – we must never forget. We must talk about and recognize our past in all of its authenticity.”
“In Case You Hadn’t Heard: A Conversation Between America’s Past And Its Promise” can be seen through Sunday, February 28.
For tickets, go to www.baystreet.org. For more information on the Eastville Community Historical Society, go to www.eastvillehistorical.org, or call 631-725-4711.