November 8, 1986 |
Suddenly there was movement in the darkness on Cooper Street: A cluster of people had emerged from around a corner, and it appeared to be heading this way. Night had fallen, and it was too dark to tell if he was part of it. Still, a dozen people on the steps of Camden's elegant Walt Whitman Center for the Arts and Humanities leaned forward Thursday night, eager to lay eyes on the man who for almost 40 years has been such an angry and eloquent voice...
October 18, 1990 |
Suddenly, the whole world is descending on Walter Dallas. Dallas, head of the School of Theater at the University of the Arts, has in hand a literary property that nearly everybody in the theatrical producing game would love to have a piece of. It is the last play written by the late James Baldwin, first placed with Dallas about five years ago and tonight receiving its maiden workshop performance at UA's Black Box Theater at 313 S. Broad St....
December 2, 1987 |
James Baldwin, one of the most powerful and eloquent voices of black America, died Monday at his home in the south of France. Mr. Baldwin, 63, had been suffering from stomach cancer for months and had a portion of his stomach removed earlier this year. "A page has been turned, not only for blacks but for humanity," said his brother David, who was with him at his home in St. Paul de Vence, near the Riviera, when he died. Although Mr. Baldwin had lived for long periods in France, which he called a "refuge from the American madness," he retained his American citizenship and frequently visited the United States.
February 13, 1995 |
The James Baldwin of The Midnight Hour, the new one-man play at Freedom Repertory Theatre, is a man at loose ends. Pacing the study of his home in the South of France, downing copious quantities of Scotch, he frets over his stalled book on Martin Luther King, awaits a phone call from a lover who has left him, obsesses about the assassinations that have rocked the American civil-rights movement. It is midnight of an August day in 1978, and the finest black writer of his generation is in a bad way. His angst is captured with visceral precision by actor Reggie Montgomery, who so immerses himself in the writer's temperament that subject and interpreter become one. From certain angles, Montgomery even looks eerily like Baldwin, but what's more convincing is his sense of the writer's style - the quick, broad smile; the expressive hands; the flamboyant carriage; the fury that erupts without warning and subsides just as quickly.
December 14, 1987 |
James Baldwin was 12 years older than I - and 100 years wiser. He encouraged me to write, not for newspapers, but for myself. "You can't be you in somebody else's newspaper," he warned. And in a way, I suppose he was right. But I came along at a time when people sought safety; I wanted a job and what I thought was the protection of a paycheck. I had a child, Pamela, the first of four children. Baldwin's family was his mother, brothers and sisters, some cousins, nieces and nephews.
December 4, 1986 |
It would take a powerful lot of faith to say "Amen" to the production of James Baldwin's The Amen Corner that opened last night at the Annenberg Center's Zellerbach Theater. James Baldwin's play takes up themes of abiding concerns in urban black America. The dilemma of the black woman, for one. The absence of a father, for another. Yet the presentation of these issues in the setting of a storefront Harlem church fails to find dramatic justification. And the Philadelphia Drama Guild's treatment of the play underlines that weakness by adopting a ponderously respectful approach, doling out the drama in drops as if it were holy water instead of an attempt to deal with an anguish that remains as real today as when the play was written in the 1950s.
January 12, 2010 |
Before the collective closet burst open, Truman Capote and James Baldwin were two authors who spoke to gay America not only through their writings, but also with the force of their fearless personalities. Capote was TV's fey mascot who could intellectually slay anyone in his path, Baldwin a black civil rights activist whose novel Giovanni's Room presented a frank, moving view of gay life. The writers are the focus of two one-man plays being presented in repertory by Mauckingbird Theatre Company this month.
December 2, 1986 |
No, no, James Baldwin had said about an hour earlier; he never rereads his past writings or frets about how he might have written them differently. "When a book is over, it's over," said the man who wrote Go Tell It on the Mountain and The Fire Next Time and Blues for Mr. Charlie. "I read them in public, but it's . . . ummm . . . like reading something that has nothing to do with me now," he had said. "It's like something very far away. " But as lunch was ending, a visitor pulled out a copy of Baldwin's play, The Amen Corner, which the Philadelphia Drama Guild will open at the Annenberg Center tomorrow night, and Baldwin's dark and heavy-lidded eyes widened with delight.
February 8, 1995 |
Walter Dallas knew James Baldwin well and worked with him during the last six years of his life. He was close enough to Baldwin, one of the most significant American writers of the century, to stay at his home in southern France, where the writer lived in self-imposed exile. Actor Reggie Montgomery talked to James Baldwin once - briefly, on the telephone. Montgomery was in New York, and Baldwin in Paris. It might be natural to assume that of the two, Dallas - Baldwin's friend - is more responsible for the creation of The Midnight Hour, a one-man play about the famous writer that Freedom Repertory Theatre is premiering.
December 31, 2012
By Darryl Lorenzo Wellington Fifty years ago this month, the black gay novelist James Baldwin penned his powerful essay "A Letter to My Nephew. " In it, he wrote: "You were born into a society which spelled out with brutal clarity and in as many ways as possible that you were a worthless human being. " First published in the Progressive magazine and then reprinted in his book of essays The Fire Next Time , Baldwin's letter outlined what he called "the crux" of his dispute with America.