New York cops aren't the only city security forces accused of racial prejudice and case mishandling. London police officers, too, have been accused of such crimes, as evidenced in the 1999 London hit, The Colour of Justice, receiving a reading with the Play Group spring series June 19.
Justice, by Richard Norton Taylor, is based on six months of public inquiry transcripts about the April 1993 murder of Stephen Lawrence, a black teenager, by a racist white gang, which revealed much racism and corruption in the London police force. The play is drawn from more than 10,000 pages of transcripts taken during 69 days of public hearings.
Nicolas Kent, the artistic director of the Tricycle Theatre, original stagers of the work, directs the reading.
Admission to all readings is free. The Second Stage Theatre is located at 307 West 43rd Street. For reservations and information, call (212) 780 2193.
* Playwright Romulus Linney (2, A Lesson Before Dying, Gint) kicked off the series May 8 with John Updike's prequel to Hamlet, Gertrude and Claudius.
In Gertrude and Claudius, Updike, winner of the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award, chronicles the passionate romance between Queen Gertrude and King Claudius, which would result in a certain Danish prince's quest for revenge at the behest of his father.
Regina Taylor's Oo-Bla-Dee, the 1999 American Theatre Critics/Steinberg New Play Award winner, was read May 15 in a production directed by Israel Hicks. The story of a group of African American female jazz musicians in 1946, Oo-Bla-Dee had stagings at The Goodman Theatre and La Jolla Playhouse in 1999. Taylor, an actress best known for "I'll Fly Away" and Jar the Floor, has been produced at the Humana Festival and the Alliance Theatre Company.
May 22, Uncle Vanya's Laura Linney and Amadeus' Michael Sheen read Rodney Ackland's Smithereens, a 1934 comedy about a young woman trying to escape her South Kensington family in search of a Bohemian life, for the Play Group at Second Stage. Ackland is the author of Dark River, Before the Party and Absolute Hell, revived in 1995 with Dame Judi Dench.
The Play Group was founded by former Manhattan Theatre Club literarty department head Kate Loewald, producer Jack Temchin (El Grande de Coca Cola) and the late Mike Ockrent (Crazy for You, Me and My Girl).
-- By Christine Ehren