The discovery of the slave ship Clotilda has local cultural waters simmering. A-list film star Samuel L. Jackson was in town as part of a documentary on the Africatown saga and now a noted author and scholar will follow suit.
Deborah G. Plant, Ph.D., put more heat to those bubbling waters when her best-selling book “Barracoon: The Story of the Last ‘Black Cargo’” hit shelves in May 2018. The English literature and African Studies scholar and literary critic is the keynote speaker at the second annual “Spirit of Our Ancestors” festival, Feb. 8, from noon to 4 p.m. at Mobile County Training School (800 Whitley St.) in Plateau. The event is hosted by the Clotilda Descendants Association.
It was 90 years ago when anthropologist and folklorist Zora Neale Hurston took notes on her meeting with Clotilda survivor and Africatown elder Cudjo “Kazoola” Lewis. Plant’s special interest in Hurston led her to the notes and a decision to edit the tale and try to inject it into the American consciousness again.
The festival includes a stage play, quilt displays, vendors, libations and a drum circle. For more information about the event, go to theclotildastory.com or look for the group’s page on Facebook.
Coming-of-age classic onstage in midtown
Benjamin Braddock is lost amidst a place he’s always known. With his college sheepskin in hand, Braddock’s upper-middle-class parents and their peers are eager to push him onto the Great American Treadmill but he’s consumed by ennui. He’s enticed into an affair with an older woman, the wife of his father’s law partner.
When his paramour’s daughter comes home from school and Braddock sparks a latent flame with the more age-appropriate Elaine, the fireworks really start.
If you’re humming a Simon and Garfunkel tune about now, you’ve figured out we’re talking about “The Graduate.” Charles Webb’s original novel was turned into Mike Nichols’ landmark 1967 film, a dark comedy that plucked the zeitgeist perfectly and found a permanent home in the cultural canon.
Just over 30 years later, a stage adaptation premiered in London’s West End and then on Broadway two years later. Now, a local theatrical company is mounting their own production to run Jan. 10 – 26.
“I just want to say three letters to you, just three letters: JJP.”
Joe Jefferson Players (11 S. Carlen St.) are forging ahead into a tough task. The cast is streamlined and manageable – just 10 named characters – but one of the most impactful hallmarks of Nichols’ film was its unforgettable marriage of cinematography and film score. JJP deserves kudos for attempting to transcend it.
Tickets run $10 – $20 and are available at 251-471-1534 or at joejeffersonplayers.com.
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