Created Equal: Battling Oppression – On Stage Monday, August 21, 2017, at 7:00 p.m. at Temple Anshe Amunim
It doesn’t require appreciation of recent events to prove that the promise of the Declaration of Independence has been broken by Americans—often, as history is awash with examples. Created Equal is an evening of staged readings of four short plays by Jesse Waldinger, illustrating little-known stories of some victims of oppression.
Popular knowledge has it that George Washington, the father of our country, owned slaves until he died. But there’s more to it than that. General Washington’s Property dramatizes an obscure episode at the end of the American Revolution: Washington is dispatched by Congress to ensure that the defeated British Army, prior to evacuating the new country, restores runaways to their southern owners. His English counterpart, General Sir Guy Carleton, balks as a matter of honor. In this play, Washington unexpectedly encounters one of his own former bondsmen in the employ of Carleton.
One of the few Texan survivors of the Battle of the Alamo was a slave belonging to the garrison’s commander, William Barrett Travis. In Travis’ Boy the heroic and loyal Joe, and his late master’s bereaved fiancée, consult with Travis’ executor, wondering what the future holds for them. They are both in for a surprise.
Fanny Kemble, famed nineteenth-century British actress, married an American slaveowner, embraced abolitionism, and after a tumultuous decade left her husband and sailed back to England, leaving a daughter behind. Now the husband, Pierce Butler, has sued for divorce, and in Mrs. Butler Returns Fanny reappears in Philadelphia to defend herself and hopefully gain custody of her child. Because she is a woman, the laws appear to be stacked against her.
Henry Ford was notorious for his anti-Semitism, but one of his neighbors was a rabbi to whom he presented a new automobile every year, as a gift. In Rabbi Franklin’s Model T, the neighbor confronts the iconic manufacturer, seeking to have him retract a hateful screed published in Ford’s newspaper. Will Ford accommodate his friend?
Come see how these four struggles are resolved—or not. Created Equal, featuring professional actors directed by Barbara Waldinger, will be staged on Monday, August 21, 2017, at 7:00 p.m. at Temple Anshe Amunim, 26 Broad Street, Pittsfield, Massachusetts. Admission is $20.00. The program is jointly sponsored by Temple Anshe Amunim and Congregation Knesset Israel. Refreshments will follow the reading, along with discussion featuring the playwright, director and cast, and special guests Rabbi Josh Breindel of Temple Anshe Amunim, Rabbi David Weiner of Congregation Knesset Israel, Pastor Sheila Sholes-Ross of First Baptist Church of Pittsfield and Dennis Powell, President of the Berkshire County Branch of the NAACP.
Jesse Waldinger is a prize-winning playwright whose work has been seen nationally and at Stageworks/Hudson, Made in the Berkshires, and Hudson Opera House. His local history play Mum Bett’s Minute was read at the Ashley House in Sheffield and at the Whitney Center for the Arts in Pittsfield.
Dr. Barbara Waldinger is a theatre professor and director actively engaged in the Berkshire area. For seventeen years she has served as artistic director of HRC Showcase Theatre in Hudson, New York. She teaches theatre-related subjects at OLLI and at Temple Anshe Amunim, and is a theatre critic for the online publication Berkshire On Stage.