Mercury Motley Players present Paul Robeson, by Philip Hayes Dean, starring Russell Costen.
The play is a powerful chronicle of the life of Paul Robeson, taking us from his childhood in New Jersey to his adult life around the world. An All-American athlete and a lawyer with Columbia Law School credentials, Robeson faces the racism prevalent in society in early part of the twentieth century. He strives to rise above, and it is his triumph in that struggle that turns Robeson into a modern day hero. Realizing the racist system would not allow him to practice as a lawyer; Robeson turns to singing, something he had learned well in the church choir. His singing leads to acting and his acting, with all the accolades due a master, leads him around the world. But every place he visits he sees the strains of racism in its many forms. The more he sees, the more he speaks out, using his influence and stature to try and enlighten those around him. After some time in Europe, he returns to the United States to perform and speak out about the injustices in the country he loves. Confronting racism again, he sticks to his values, adhering to no party line, but is accused of being a Communist, an agitator and much more. He is blacklisted and his passport is revoked, but he goes on speaking out whenever he can. For eight years he fights to clear his name. Finally, the social climate begins to change and towards the end of his life, Robeson's passport is reinstated along with some of the glory and respect he earned along the way. There is still far to go, but Paul Robeson remains a beacon to those struggling to make this world a better place. This play is a powerful look at the many facets of Robeson the man, as well as Robeson the star.
Fri. Jan. 5 & 12 at 7:30 p.m.
Sun. Jan. 7, 14, 21 at 3:00 p.m.