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New Federal Theatre Virtual Reading Of THE MEETING

"The Meeting" by Jeff will stream on February 20, 21 and 22, all at 7:00 PM. 

As part of "New Federal Theatre Celebrates Black History Month," Woodie King, Jr.'s New Federal Theatre (NFT) is offering a virtual reading of "The Meeting" by Jeff Stetson on February 20, 21 and 22, all at 7:00 PM.

The play, whose premiere was presented by NFT in 1987, is an imaginary encounter between Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X in 1965 in a hotel in Harlem. Differing in their philosophies but alike in their mutual respect, the two men debate their varying approaches to the same grave social problems. Both are prepared to die for their beliefs but neither is aware of how soon assassins' bullets await them. The play was televised on American Playhouse in 1989.

The reading will be free and accessible from NFT's website, https://www.newfederaltheatre.com. Donations will be gratefully accepted. Directed by Ajene D. Washington, it features Joseph L. Edwards as Dr. Martin Luther King, Beethovan Oden as Malcolm X and Tyler Fauntleroy as Malcolm's bodyguard.

Director Ajene D. Washington describes the style of "The Meeting" as realistic and values the play as "the conversation Martin and Malcolm never had on which approach to take to deal with racism." He traces the differing visions of these two leaders to the differing cultures they grew up in. King, being from the South, knew racism as unvarnished and in-your-face. Malcolm, who grew up in the Midwest and North, knew racism more as smiling dishonesty, injustice, greed and hatred. Washington has previously directed one other play on Malcolm X, "El Hajj Malik" by N.R. Davidson.

Mr. Washington is a an award winning director, playwright and set designer. His most recent directing project at NFT was "Adam" by by Peter DeAnda (2017), a bioplay on Adam Clayton Powell. Recently, the Bronx Council on the Arts presented him with the BRIO Award in playwriting. His play "Shirley Chisholm, A Catalyst For Change," was commissioned by Woodie King Jr. as part of the National Black Touring Circuit series. He is the Workshop Coordinator at New Federal Theatre.

Was there ever the possibility of reconciliation between the "radical" and nonviolent wings of Black activism in the Civil Rights Era? The idea is tantalizing, to be sure. Perhaps a summit between these two giants could have been a catalyst, but we will never know. Historically, they only met once and that was only on passing: they shook hands and exchanged incidental greetings on Capitol Hill outside the senate hearings for what was to become the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Ironically, a generation later, a close relationship sprang up between their eldest daughters, Yolanda Denise King and Attalla Shabbazz.

For more info on "New Federal Theatre Celebrates Black History Month," visit http://www.jsnyc.com/season/NFT_Black_Hist.htm.


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