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BWW Exclusive: A Deeper Look at PERSONAL HISTORY

An interview with Director Stanley Coleman

BWW Exclusive: A Deeper Look at PERSONAL HISTORY

Beginning Wednesday, March 10 through March 14, UO University Theatre will stream Dominic Taylor's Personal History, directed by Stanley Coleman.

Personal History follows an African-American couple as they navigate three moments in American life, stretched out over a century in the city of Chicago. The highly educated pharmacist Eugene enters the world of the play in 1903, outraged that he is overqualified and underemployed. At an elegant parlor party hosted by his white business associate, Eugene scandalizes the other guests by challenging their comfortable liberalism. He also meets his future bride, Bethany, herself an accomplished business owner. Toying with time, the play has the couple moving into this same home in an exclusive all-white neighborhood in the early 1950s. Race and class are further jumbled as the action shifts to the 1990s -- the house is now a chic restaurant where Eugene and Bethany, divorced years earlier, have their final transformative encounter.

Our production will be streaming with Broadway On Demand in March for your viewing convenience.

Please visit our website for more details: Dominic Taylor Directed by Stanley Coleman Personal History follows an African-American couple as they navigate three moments in American life, stretched out over a century in the city of Chicago. The highly educated pharmacist Eugene enters the world of the play in 1903, outraged that he is overqualified and underemployed. At an elegant parlor party hosted by his white business associate, Eugene scandalizes the other guests by challenging their comfortable liberalism. He also meets his future bride, Bethany, herself an accomplished business owner. Toying with time, the play has the couple moving into this same home in an exclusive all-white neighborhood in the early 1950s. Race and class are further jumbled as the action shifts to the 1990s -- the house is now a chic restaurant where Eugene and Bethany, divorced years earlier, have their final transformative encounter. Our production will be streaming with Broadway On Demand in March for your viewing convenience. Please visit our website for more details: https://theatre.uoregon.edu/2020/09/14/virtual-event-calendar/" target="_blank">https://theatre.uoregon.edu


Why did you choose this play?

I am directing Personal History because I like its story, and I like its format. The play is a history of race relations in America through several different decades. The play is also timely, addressing current racial disparities. I like the challenge of applying Magical Realism, which manifests itself through the timelessness of the characters and through several props used in the play.

In your estimation, what makes the play commercial? To whom will this play most appeal?

I believe this play will appeal to all students of history and the social sciences. Because the play has a strong but unique structure, poetic dialogue, with real and believable characters, it will appeal to literature enthusiasts as well.

What do you think the public should know about this play?

The current attitudes about race make the challenges the characters face so relevant now. Although the story may resonate with the lives of other minorities, this play is uniquely about the struggle that Black people have faced in this country.

Are there any personal tie-ins or connections between this play and you or the cast that would make an interesting "human interest" story?

My personal work in theatre has always included Black theatre. That was my focus in graduate school. I have a strong interest in the history of race in America. As an African American, I also have experienced some of the feelings that the Black characters in the play experience.


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