Observing Black History Month with a Meeting of Political Minds from the U.S. Civil Rights Movement
upported by the U.S. Embassy in Pretoria, the Market Theatre will observe Black History Month in February with a production of The Meeting, a powerful play focusing on two black political icons who shaped the civil rights movement in the United States: Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X.
Playwrights and theatre directors have an opportunity to take audiences beyond just reviewing historical facts. They engage audiences’ imaginations, helping them reflect on history and re-imagine it. This process allows audiences to ask the question “what if?” This is what American playwright Jeff Stetson does in his play The Meeting, in which he creates an imaginary meeting in a hotel room between two great political minds, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X
King was an American Baptist minister, activist, author, orator, humanitarian and major leader of the Civil Rights Movement. He advanced the Movement by engaging followers in acts of nonviolent civil disobedience, such as protests, demonstrations, marches, sit-ins and boycotts, but his philosophy was criticized by Malcolm X, who advocated a more militant stance.
African-American leader and prominent figure in the Nation of Islam, Malcolm X articulated concepts of race pride and black nationalism in the 1950s and ’60s. Articulate, passionate and a naturally gifted and inspirational orator, Malcolm X exhorted blacks to cast off the shackles of racism by any means necessary, including violence.
The Meeting will make this February’s Black History Month at the Market Theatre an event to remember. The Meeting’s author Jeff Stetson, an internationally acclaimed award-winning playwright and screenwriter, will visit South Africa from February 7 to 10 to engage audiences in discussions about the play and the U.S. civil rights movement. Stetson’s play is set in a Harlem hotel, where Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr. engage in a spirited debate about their differing approaches to improving the lives of black people in a predominantly white society.
The Meeting is directed by the Market Theatre’s Artistic Director James Ngcobo and stars Aubrey Poo, Brendon Daniels and Litha Bam.
Ngcobo has already directed several American plays, such as The Colored Museum, The Amen Corner, A Tribute to Maya Angelou and A Raisin in the Sun, that resonate with local audiences. This year, he chose The Meeting because he believes the political debates in the play are like contemporary South African political debates. Voice coach Iris Dawn Parker, who is also known for her striking theatre photography, will coach the actors on their accents.
This amazing interpretation of how the course of history could have been altered is the fourth Black History Month collaboration between the Market Theatre and the U.S. Embassy in South Africa during James Ngcobo’s tenure as Artistic Director. Black History month is an annual observance in the United States, Canada, and UK and it is fast growing in South Africa as a platform to honour important people and events in the history of the African diaspora.
02 – 26 February 2017
The Barney Simon @The Market Theatre
Tuesdays to Saturdays @ 20h15 and Sunday @15h15
Tuesday – Wednesday:
Friday – Saturday:
To make block bookings, please contact
Anthony Ezeoke 011 832 1641 ext 121 and
Ncebakazi Thintsila 011 832 1641 ext 135
For further information, interviews and images, contact: