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Up Next: Stokely: The Unfinished Revolution

A smiling man in sunglasses makes a celebratory motion.
Stokely Carmichael (Alamy).

Stokely: The Unfinished Revolution is a new play by Nambi E. Kelley that has been in development over the last few years with Court Theatre. Stokely Carmichael – also known as Kwame Ture – was a central figure in the Civil Rights movement and a global activist for decades after. He set out to document his life and legacy in his memoir Ready for Revolution to provide a path forward for those ready to continue the fight against racism and injustice. Though he passed away from cancer before he could finish this blueprint, the book was completed and edited by his friend and collaborator Ekwueme Michael Thelwell. This play is inspired by the voice and pursuit of the man detailed in that autobiography.

The play gives us a glimpse into the mind and memories of Stokely Carmichael and offers us the opportunity to honor his life and legacy. Essentially, this is a memory play. What I find so interesting about memory is that it can be both extremely detailed, and at the same time, out of focus. It can creep gradually into our minds or sneak up on us quickly when we least expect it. Memories can be inspired by many different things: a song, a sound, a color, a word, a scent, or another memory. We’re having a lot of fun figuring out what the catalysts for memory are that transport us from the present back to the people, places, and events that shaped Stokely Carmichael’s life. The play also asks us to consider how we re-member our lives when memory can be fallible and fleeting.

I’m honored to be a part of the team of creative minds helping to bring Stokely Carmichael’s story to the stage. As a Black theatre artist, I am a direct descendant of his work and purpose. This being a world premiere of a new play means that every person who touches this project is contributing to furthering the legacy of one of our great leaders and thinkers. Every audience member who sees this production will also become a part of that legacy. I find that really exciting.

Stokely: The Unfinished Revolution runs May 24 – June 16. Tickets are available online or by calling the Box Office at (773) 753-4472.

Tasia A. Jones is the Director of Stokely: The Unfinished Revolution. She is an Assistant Professor at Boston University Chicago credits include: Pass Over (Steppenwolf, Assistant Director); The Roommate (Steppenwolf, Assistant Director); Fannie: The Music and Life of Fannie Lou Hamer (Goodman, Associate Director); Intimate Apparel (Northlight); The MLK Project (Writers); The Steadfast Tin Soldier (Lookingglass, Assistant Director). Regional: Intimate Apparel (Utah Shakespeare Festival); Small Mouth Sounds (UCCS Theatreworks); Seussical (Jean’s Playhouse). Education: MFA Directing, Northwestern University; BFA Theatre Arts, Boston University.

Posted on March 22, 2024 in Productions

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